In the days when notebooks didn't cost in thousands and didn't come with complicated internal hardware and software, didn't need to be electrically charged or locked with passwords, they had, when taken fresh off the shelf, a smell that made many bury their noses in their crisp, ironed pages before settling down to work.
A favourite new notebook would make one want to pen down a few lines on its untainted pages while at the same time, be unwilling to spoil its newness. Till slowly the notebook became, like a well-loved friend, a keeper of one's most important data or most intimate thoughts.
Visitors check out the display at the fair (All photos: Saumya Khandelwal)
As for pens, a true collector can come up with poetic lines in their honour; lines better than that one about a pen being mightier than the sword! Of course, that proverb is true enough. If you prefer stationery - good old paper, pen, pencils, drawing canvas and colours - to the latest gadgets in town, and, actually, even if you are a gadget freak with a sideline in paper, find your way to the Stationery, Office Automation and Corporate Gift Fair organised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) at Pragati Maidan in concurrence with the Book Fair.
"This is the 17th edition of the stationery fair, but this year we have introduced office automation and corporate gift as a part of it. There are 42 companies participating from across India. Visitors include both retail buyers as well as distributors of stationery," explains Hema Maity, deputy general manager, ITPO.
Lovers of stationery, art enthusiasts, or those looking to stock an office will be spoilt for choice here. A variety of notebooks, customised pens, or designer ones, handmade paper and drawing canvases, files and folders, corporate diaries for 2016, calenders with inspirational messages or cartoons, craft scissors, staplers and pin removers - you name it, they have it.
If Foremost Agencies offers about 3,000 different kinds of art material, Double R Bags has quirky canvas and jute bags with Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Make In India images in which you can carry all your purchases.
Go prepared to spend more than planned. It's difficult to pick favourites when you are in such a treasure trove. (Just look at the photos below, and you'll get what we mean.)
Calendars with cartoons and inspirational messages. The stall also has corporate calendars for the coming year.
Price: Calendars priced between Rs 235 and Rs 750. Diaries priced upwards of Rs 50.
If it's notebooks you are after, choose from those with covers having images and details of famous personalities like Kabir and Benjamin Franklin or, at another stall, those with cover illustrations of famous Delhi spots like Lodhi Garden and Safdarjung's Tomb.
Where: Taj White and Paperclip stalls
Price: Rs 195 and Rs 345 respectively
Find the perfect surface for your art work with this range of drawing canvases. All sizes come in the form of drawing pads with 10 sheets.
Where: Paper Theatre
Price Rs 450 to Rs 1600 (depending on size)
STAMPED AND SEALED
This mouse-shaped stamp is not just quirky but is perfect for corporate use. They also have pocket stamps.
Where: Ideal Enterprises
Price Rs 300
Water soluble oil pastels from Mungyo Aquarelle or a special range of handmade soft pastels from Mungyo Korea that has been awarded at the Frankfurt Stationery Fair.
Where: Foremost Agencies
Price: Rs 480 onwards for water soluble oil pastels and Rs 25000 for the handmade soft pastels.
Get a feel of the past with this Francesco Rubinato pen, that's made in Italy. The body is silver plating on brass, informs a salesperson and the quill pen comes with a little bottle of ink.
Where: Royal Collection
Price: Rs 2845