Pen culture

I don’t remember the last time I used a pen except to sign a cheque or to mark my attendance, but what I do remember, is that it used be my best pal a few years ago. I also remember that it used to be strict no-no for me as a kid.
“It is meant only for grown-ups,” my mother used to say while I doodled with my pencil and glared at the ball-point pen near the telephone. I don’t know what attracted me to it was it the sticky blue ink or the magical nib that never broke, I cannot say for sure! I continued to have a fascination towards them until I got my first pen – a sparkling red fountain pen. Now do not assume the fascination I mentioned died off, it just grew into an obsession. Things moved on, the fountain pen was soon shelved and was replaced by a ballpoint and the ballpoint soon stepped aside for rollerball pens.
By now, pens were no longer just quills they were our playmates much like bows to an archer and eagles for boy scouts. The games we managed to create around this simple instrument were not just entertaining they were also highly creative in nature.


A game of Roto-pen would make your pen feel giddy. The gameplay was simple. Tie a rubberband around the middle of two or more pens and they were struck hard on either end and this would send them into a dizzying spin. The pen which spins for longer duration wins the ‘battle’.

Pen fight
Pens were like sumo wrestlers in this game and our classroom desk was the wrestling ring. The objective of the game was to hit the opposition pens out of the table by using your pen like a striker on a carrom board. You were not allowed to push your pen but had to strike with the index or middle finger. There was a team game as well as a last-man-standing variant of the game.

Pen Spinning
Pen spinning can be misunderstood to be a sign of restlessness, but it is a sport which demands high skills. It involves spinning a pen between your fingers repeatedly mixing multiple styles similar to juggling. The sport is quite popular in Japan and Hong Kong. The winner in a competition of Pen Spinning is decided depending upon his/her smoothness, speed, difficulty and creativity, while awarding extra points for special moves.

Pen jump (Posted by Ish)

This can be played only with those click pens. You click open the pen, put it on the table and then release it. Obviously it jumps because of the spring and the one who’s pen jumps higher, wins.

A 16 year old was recently declared the pen-spinning king

Do you know any other game that can be played with pens?

18 responses to “Pen culture”

  1. ish Avatar

    I’ve always been very fascinated by pens, and brands. At age 14, I had a complete fetish for fountain pens. I bought a calligraphy set on my birthday and cried for countless number of hours to force my parents into buying me one of those Parker fountain pens. Now, however I don’t really care. I prefer typing to writing anyway.

    I know Pen Fight too well. I’m the class champion at that. Every Physics, Chemistry, Maths and English period goes into beating somebody or the other. 😀

    Ever played Pen jump? This can be played only with those click pens. You click open the pen, put it on the table and then release it. Obviously it jumps because of the spring and the one who’s pen jumps higher, wins. Try it sometime.

  2. Ruhi Avatar

    Balu, I used to like using Gel pens a lot. But after coming here, I’ve rediscovered my love for mechanical pencils. 🙂 Almost everyone here in school and elsewhere uses pencils. Now, I hardly ever use a pen.

  3. Dr. Mike Wendell Avatar

    Sorry for posting this on a different post.


    Can’t post in the forums. WordPress censors and many folks don’t have access to the forums.

  4. Xylene Avatar

    Roto pen, was something I used to do as a kid, but more often with a pencil. PenFight in highschool while lessons going on…
    Pen spinning was something I tried practisin, but failed :(. One of my friends is an expert in that.

    I find it difficult to write something readable on paper. 🙁

  5. Vijay Avatar

    You know some time ago, I forgot to take my laptop to a meeting and decided to take notes the old fashioned way… to my surprise I found that I was actually unable to write legibly.. these days the only way I can read what I write is if I write everything in upper case… very sad..

  6. Amit Avatar

    Pen fights….yes I did that a lot. 🙂
    And later I had this great fascination for Gel pens. I had all colours and shapes.
    Nowadays, I wonder if I would be able to write, I am so used to typing everything. 😐

  7. | Balu | Avatar

    @ Ish
    Pen fight was my favourite too! Calligraphy set I always wanted one.. later figured that I got make similar art-styles on computer so dint bother!
    Psst I have added pen jump to the post!

    I like using pencils only I have a different handwriting with pencils.. all tiny letters.. was kinda strange! Nowadays I have gone back to using gel pens!

    Rilly? Dint know about that.. its okay sir!

    Writing is something I do only when out reporting… that too short hand! How about a worst handwriting competition (I can give u a run for your money)

    U can join me and Xylene for the competition then! 😀

    @ Amit
    Pens in all colours, LOL 😀
    A friend of mine used to be like that.. he used to write with blue underline with green and all, until class teacher pulled him up by his ear for using ‘other’ colours!

  8. dinsan Avatar

    Good one………..

    Yes, back in memories.. pen used to be a friend of mine too.. still, I love to use pens.. but I dont know where… might think about a writing pad.. to note down stuff while @ work……….. paper n pen …….. old days poems that I used to write ( secret ssh !! ) ……….

  9. Sachin Avatar

    You could try this flash game out –
    It has a few glitches but is overall a decent sim. of a pen fight, with few twists added.

  10. | Balu | Avatar

    @ Dinsan
    Poems? u write poems? You gonna blog them?? :-p

    Thats an awesome game dude.. thanks for the link!!!

  11. Ruhi Avatar

    Funnily, gel pens are quite expensive here. I don’t get a decent one that costs less than $3 🙁 I should buy loads of them from India the next time. I love gel pens too.

  12. Ruhi Avatar

    Oh these days Dinsan only uses Google Docs 😉 He types everything there. He doesn’t need pens anymore. Heheh.

  13. yaake Avatar

    I miss using pens to write… I wrote my first book entirely on scrap paper and hotel napkins using a SticEasy pen! I still have it.. Then, technology intervened and all my later books have been typed in MS Word… Damn you, Bill Gates! Can I sue him for emotional damages!? 😀

  14. | Balu | Avatar

    Oh ya.. one of my college friends too buy gel pens from here when she come… she is in UK! and ya I am sure Dinsan uses felt tip pens for writing contents on optical discs!
    How can I forget abt SticEasy? Is it still available? Suing Bill Gates? You might have to sue Google for google docs as well!

  15. yaake Avatar

    I might just do that!! 😀

  16. Nidhi Avatar

    pen fight. oh yes. on the last bench. esp when the teacher was teaching. what thrill.

  17. Ruhi Avatar

    Hey I’ve tagged you 🙂

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