The nostalgia of Parker pens goes back to the 1990s and the new millennium for Indians who know what this particular writing tool signifies. A Parker pen looked important but more importantly, it made its user look important. There is too much importance in that last sentence, something that captures exactly the pulse of what this branded pen was all about.
Or so we thought as children.
A recent tweet shrewdly points out how “weird” it seems now, the high status we liked to accord a Parker pen.
“Weird how, as children, Parker Pens were the ultimate luxury brand & you thought that only the richest business types used them, and then you realise you can get one for like 200 bucks,” writes columnist and author Sahil Rizwan.
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Childhood Wonder And The Nostalgia Of Parker Pens
Back when I was a naive schoolgoer, I used to see my dad coming home from work with a Parker pen visibly clipped to his shirt’s breast pocket. Sitting there smug close to my father’s heart, the pen added an extra glaze to his formal attire.
I even remember trying to casually meander near my father’s bedside table, where the pen took a rest after acting important all day, when really I was there for a straight purpose: to get my hands on the Parker.
It was a thrill just holding that pen, even if for a brief moment, and feeling the weight of its metal body. Heavy perhaps with all the high-sounding documents it had stamped with authoritative signatures that day and heavier definitely than my own basic kiddie pen, a plastic piece.
That might seem like a stretch, especially in the era of fingers that prefer typing over writing and pens, ancient instruments, lie forgotten, but it is true.
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Today, as a grown-up I know that the Parker, a sleek luxury from the past, costs only a couple of hundred bucks. Which, in the world of five-rupee Jiffy gels still stands out as an elite denizen. Back in the 90s and 2000s, this chasm in price points would have been far more defined.
I visited the Parker pens’ website while writing this and hats off to the brand, for the shiny landing page and exquisite descriptions about the craftsmanship of each elegant pen design almost had me for a moment again. A flash of that same old childhood wonder.
Parker users never said their pen was costly. People around just knew, or rather presumed. The pompous persona of the pen had everyone fooled into intimidation.
The curtain is off that pretense now, like it is for so many other relics from our childhood. We now know the popular Phantom sweet cigarettes, for instance, actually taste like crap.
But just for a jolt of that childlike thrill, like some others below the tweet that brought this up, I might go and order a Parker for myself right now. I’m in the mood for some luxury.
Views expressed are the author’s own.