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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The pen and the keyboard......

I have always loved to write. Ever since I have been a kid I have loved the strokes a pen can make to bring different styles to life. I remember when I was learning to write the alphabets my ma would always teach me how to hold the pencil, how to position the paper, the way my fingers should be wrapped around the pencil and how, by just a flourish of the hand, I could write and decorate the same alphabet in many different styles.

Those first years of my life when I was just a beginner, ma had already started to inculcate in me a deep love for the written word, both reading as well as writing. My teachers were impressed by my love for the cursive writing. While others in my class wrote in the simple and usual styles, my notebooks, and I mean the regular ones with paper in them, not the digital notebooks that the term ‘notebook’ has taken on now and I don’t know why, would be filled with lines and lines of cursive writing flowing in different directions, a bend here, a strike there, some alphabets soaring up while some were coiled and designed like a vine. They would ask me who taught me to write like this and I would always tell them with a certain amount of pride that it was my ma.

That love for the cursive and for the pen and paper has still not faded I can safely say.

Last year, on my daughter’s birthday, I decided to invite her friends in a very traditional style. I decided I would send her friends a hand-made invite. I got a roll of rough paper and a few colourful pens and with my imagination, created a card that was filled with my cursive. Later on, the parents of each child I had sent the card to called me to tell they had never received such a lovely and different card for a child’s birthday party. I was glad.

These days, almost all our writing has shifted over to typing on the keyboard. Whether it is a journal, a diary, a collection of your thoughts, letter, text, budgeting, account of important events, even something as personal as a birthday card – we do it all on the computer/laptop. The romance that was earlier there between the paper and the pen has almost ceased to exist.

When was the last time you sent a letter to someone by snail mail? Or bought a card from the store and scrawled a few lines on the paper to wish them a happy birthday (or some similarly special occasion?) Or sent a hand-written love note to your special someone? Maybe sat down with pen and paper to do a few checks on the home budget? Or, say, wrote down your important appointments and upcoming events in a diary? Well, did you? I am sure you didn’t, and even if you did one or two of the above, there is no way you would have done all of these in the span of the last few months….Am I right?

And what am I saying.... I have recently finished my first manuscript and am on to the second one, and yes, they have all been on my laptop... not a single word was written on paper!!!!! And when I told my ma that I had finished the manuscript, she asked me to be careful with the paper....Of course she never could imagine that it would all be on paper,and neither did I imagine that she might think like this and I would have to explain...A manuscript for her meant a writing on paper, while for me, the same meant a Word or PDF file on my laptop!!! Should I blame the cliched generation-gap here?

Sadly, the most pen and paper linkups we allow these days are the ones that are kind of mundane and ordinary: Like.....

Making a list for groceries

Sitting with the crossword

Leaving a note for the milkman/newspaper guy to let them know you will be out of town and will take deliveries from the mentioned date

Helping your child with homework….this too is going to change a lot as your child moves to a higher grade. My daughter is just in pre-nursery and already her assignments have to be downloaded from the website!!!!!

Jotting down a recipe from the TV (thats kind of rare too)

Ummm….. I have run out of options already……

I still love the magic a pen can create on paper, and I am glad I have not evolved enough to give that up completely. As for my daughter, she too seems to be going in the same direction. And oh girl, am I glad!