During my childhood, going to Gem & Company was like going to a chocolate factory. One was awestruck with the variety of fountain pens arrayed on the shelves. Fountain pens were the writing instrument of choice even after ball pens made their entry. The popular brands of inks were, Bril, Raman, Krishnaveni and the more expensive Quink. One could also make one’s own ink by dissolving ink pellets or tablets in water. Steel pens,which you dip in the inkwell had already gone out of vogue during my schooldays. However, I used to take pleasure in making my own ink and dipping a steel pen into it. Some school desks still had a well for the ink bottle.
The most popular brand of pens was ‘Writer’. Then available for about Rs.3.50. ‘Pilot’ was more expensive at Rs 5. The gold capped Pilot was even more expensive.
Soon, a Chinese brand ‘Youth’ flooded the market with their low pricing and attractive features. Then there was the onslaught of ball point pens, roller pens, felt pens etc.
In the midst of all these Gem & Company stood firm and continues to do so till today.