Typing versus Writing

Image Courtesy google

Image Courtesy google

As I was walking down the street yesterday, I saw an excited bunch of kids pass by me. They were returning from school, all glees and giggles, jumping up and down, schlepping away heavy school bags on their slender shoulders, while their mothers tried to restrain them and bridle their wayward movements on that busy road.

This took me back in time and I found myself revisiting those golden pages from good old days of school. What fun they were! Wish we could stay young forever! School is definitely missed, and so are all those things associated with school…Picnics, competitions, vacations, friends, chatter, pranks, teachers, exams (umm…not really, but more specifically the last day of exams). And my favourite… the joy of writing! Oh how I used to love writing! I had beautiful handwriting (excuse me for blowing my own trumpet, but I really did, ask anyone :P). I write ‘had’ because, over the years, thanks to laptops and digitization, we have all fallen out of habit of writing, haven’t we?

So this is what this post is all about. That plain joy of writing with that favourite pencil, the ruffle of papers, and that scritch-like sound of pencil on paper. That all together made for a great writing experience. Ah! And yes, writing with an ink pen is a much more superior experience than writing with a ball pen. Any pen-fan will tell you this.

I remember saving my best pencil for writing notes only of my favourite subjects or for my best exams. And writing less-liked subject notes with less-liked pens. Haha…some child-like logic that was. Back then the most difficult task in life was just selecting which pen or pencil to use for which exam.

I remember taking pride in how beautiful my handwriting was, how it was the best in class. I used to write cursive. How elated I used to feel after writing a page beautifully, making sure there weren’t any strikethroughs to mar the look of my page. I had won all the handwriting competitions throughout my schooling years. The thrill of seeing those perfectly curved c’s, a’s and s’s was a joy unmatched. I remember taking conscious efforts to give my y’s and g’s their perfect tails and f’s their perfect smooth curves. My teachers would also go all out in praising my handwriting and assign me that very-important task of writing ‘quote of the day’ on the blackboard. That felt like an honour, you know, getting a chance to write on THE blackboard with THE chalk. Something only teachers were allowed to do. I remember feeling so proud about that…lol. Such small things could make us proud  back then. And even my friends would go gaga over my calligraphy. I was the person that everyone came to if they had to write something very important beautifully, or if some charts had to be made to be put up on the classroom walls.

You know what? Hoarding and accumulating stationery (pencils, pens, erasers to be precise), writing on expensive paper gave me a high, selecting my best pen, writing with my best pen made me so happy that I just can’t find appropriate words here to describe that feeling of ecstasy.

Tell you a funny thing. Remember, as kids, how we used to make a wish whenever an eyelash fell off and landed on our cheek? We were supposed to take that eyelash and place it on the back of our palm, close our eyes, make a wish and blow that eyelash off. So when I was about 5-6 years old, I thought that if we made a wish by blowing off our fallen eyelashes, all our wishes will surely come true. And to my mother’s utter horror, I used to deliberately pluck on my eyelashes to make those wishes. And guess what I used to wish for? Yes, yes a pen or a pencil. I was little silly that way. Until my mom found out what I was up to and scolded me for pulling my eyelashes. So the point is, that is how crazy I was about pens and pencils. Because I could write beautifully. Each new pen that I acquired made me dizzy with joy.

But then our lives got invaded by computers, everything got digitized, and MS Word happened. In this day and age, where touch screen technology is the Gen Y thing and where schools are fully digitized and gone the e-learning way, kids barely get a chance to write on paper with that humble pencil. But the joy of writing on a superior quality paper with your favourite ink pen is still unparalleled. No tablet, note or iPad can provide that experience. But there aren’t any more letters to write anymore. There are just more and more emails to type. We hardly ever sit down with a pen and a piece of paper. Imagine things have become so bad that now if I have to ever write anything, I have to undertake at least a 20-minute pen-search operation to find a pen somewhere. Where the hell is a pen? Sad, sad, sad.

Personally, since a month, I have decided to write… like actually ‘write’ write. So I have started writing with a pen on paper as much as I can. Earlier, I used to just type my blogs and publish them directly. But I found that to be very limiting. I had to specially make time for that, get into the right frame of mind to blog, wait endlessly and stare at the computer screen till some ideas hit my mind and my fingers start punching away those keys, think days in advance about what my next post will be about, remember things that caught my fancy and always end up forgetting what-that-thing-was-I-was-going-to-blog-about? But I refuse to be such a slave to technology. Now, I have got myself a small diary and a pen that I carry along in my bag. So whenever I find something interesting or worth writing about, I quickly make a note. There. Sorted. This way, I get to write also and I no longer have to stare at that blank MS Word for an idea to click. And now that I have started writing, I realise how much I missed writing. It’s a great stress buster.

But call it a state of ambivalence. No matter how much I love writing (meaning the physical act of writing), that bloody iPad has really caught my fancy, and am itching to lay my hands on it. But no, I refuse to cave in. At least for a while. My resolution to do complete justice to my pen is strong. iPad – I will do without you. You can definitely wait.

P.S. I was trying to find a piece of paper that has my school-time handwriting and paste it here, for you all to see how much labour and love I used to invest in writing. But you know, so many years have passed, we moved houses and I was just not able to find where all those books from school are stacked away, or if they exist at all in first place. Mom, I hope you haven’t chucked them. That will be indeed sad. I liked going back to these notes from school. They made me so nostalgic. But I promise to surely paste here if I find one soon.

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16 thoughts on “Typing versus Writing

  1. I don’t think I would have survived if I had to work using a pen/cil all my life. Though playing/chewing a pencil still happens with me. Sometimes. Trust me, my handwriting could be easily misunderstood as some nonsensical scribbles by any one, including myself. Now when I think back, I feel pity for my teachers. What a mess I was. Haha.
    The first time I saw Ms Word, the joy of just having an option of not writing any more was more than I had ever imagined before. 😉
    Great blog Zinal. Brought back so many memories.

    • haha…shay u used to chew your pencils? yuck..i could have survived without that information 😛 And yes, I completely agree its a boon for those who had bad handwriting. But yours was decent 😉
      Thanks for reading and liking 🙂

  2. Its Nostalgic!!!!!! It brought back all memories afresh in front of my eyes!!
    Great Blog Zee 🙂 We all share common liking for stationary 😉

  3. Really Nice post, Zinal! But I wonder how could you people manage to come up with such beautiful handwriting. During young days my handwriting was so bad that, my family members used to predict that I would be either a doctor or a bus-conductor. But unfortunately, I end up being something else. This post brought back lots of childhood memories; like how we used to buy new pens during exams as if that would change our luck. But unlike others, it did not work for me. 🙂

  4. Let’s rule out tablets and phones, they are consumption devices not creation devices, except maybe drawing manga, there are specialized devices for that too. Having said that, pen and paper is shittiest way for writing something.

    “Think from multiple directions”, every good teacher will tell you that. Language has metaphor built into it. These metaphors are based on real world phenomenon – be it is physics or thoughts. Example, “you fill out a form by filling it in.” There is a very good reason why the above metaphor is perfect. Thoughts jump at you from all directions, linking data acquired at different times and different places. But text is linear. You have to order these thoughts quickly to present them in a readable cogent text . That is where you see enormous advantage a pc/laptop gives you. You can arrange, rearrange, cut and modify till you are convinced that it is the best possible way to put forth your ideas,.

    The obvious rebuttal would be, good authors don’t pen their words till they have the right words in the right order in the head. But there exists a time constraint. I once wrote an email that took 72 hours to write. 24 hours to decide whether I want to write what I want to write, 24 hours to put the ideas into words and 24 hours to put the words in the right order. The email had one line in it. Only special audience deserves that type of correspondence. But the rest of them can be afforded written material – churned out quickly yet effective at transferring your ideas and thoughts – created using your friendly text editor.

    That aside, using pen and diary thing is just the first step. You start taking notes every place you go, on people you meet. A few months later, stop carrying the pen and the diary but don’t stop taking the notes. You will start observing things instead of seeing them.

    Also, if you are into stationary, Apsara triangle metallics extra dark pencils are in vogue!

    • Also, if you are into stationary, Apsara triangle metallics extra dark pencils are in vogue! hahaha
      And this blog was about my ‘personal’ liking for calligraphy, and ‘writing’…I dont really think i have condemned the use of computers. I use them myself.

  5. I don’t remember about the eyelashes, but we had a painless and equally useless way of making wishes in my day – blowing dandelion seeds. One big breath and whoosh, we were sowing weeds. Trouble is, none of my wishes have come true. What about yours?
    ps. I came across your website because I wrote a piece (differentiating it from the term article) about writing versus typing. I was attempting to google a suitable (free) gif to download. (I think every writer of a certain vintage gets around to writing on the topic, but your article has put my itty bit to shame, so I am sitting on it until it hatches into a fully fledged article. Nice one, Zinal.

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