In my school, we used pencils until Std V and then moved on to fountain pens from Std VI. We wrote on ruled pages. The English notebook had four sets of lines in earlier grades to ensure that we write letters in proper proportions. I don’t see those notebooks anywhere now (unless you specifically look for them in the calligraphy section)..instead I do see grid notebooks. Guess they solve the same purpose. I remember how we had to copy the sample handwriting our teacher provided and she wouldn’t be satisfied until every curve was in place.
Good Handwriting. Something that was the norm has actually become an art now. First with the coming of ball pens and later the most common culprit of spoiling all things good and old – the computer (or more precisely word processor!).
The last time I wrote a real letter was in 2000, when email was not so common (at least with my parents’ generation) and phones were expensive. We may say technology has brought us closer, made ‘staying in touch’ easier; but it surely has taken away the personal touch. (This somewhat relates to my earlier post of an ‘online hug’). Emails have replaced snail mails, e-cards have replaced real cards, picture messages have replaced postcards.. I no longer feel the need to check my ‘snail’ mailbox because I know it would be a phone bill or a credit card bill, which would anyway come via e-statement as well!
But I’m digressing from the real reason of this post. So I have my exams in 20 days and they are each 3 hours exam requiring us to ‘write’ some 12 pages of social policy stuff. All theoretical and requiring lots and lots of writing. So my supervisor advised that since the last time I gave an exam was 6 years ago and that too a quantitative one which didn’t need so much of writing, I should practice giving a mock exam at home and just answer one question for an hour. Me like a very obedient student wrote and I was shocked first at my handwriting and second by the fact that my wrist was hurting so badly that writing with the same speed for another 2 continuous hours was almost impossible. Though one comforting thought was that its legible and I think that’s what they care.
I look at my supervisor’s comments in the margins of my paper and I can’t make heads or tails out of it. I literally had to take it back to him to decipher. There are jokes about how only a chemist can understand a doctor’s writing. Somewhere, during the great inventions and innovations we lost the art of handwriting, because there no longer was a need for it. The only analogy I can come up with is that man lost his tail during the evolution process because it was rendered useless. Soon signatures will also become redundant (they have already started to be replaced by digital versions or passwords). Fountain pens have become a thing of past or those very high end ones which are no more than style statements. Chalks are no longer required in classrooms; everyone uses Microsoft PowerPoint for giving lectures. Will kids now, not know how much fun throwing chalks was?
My mom has a BIG box full of letters, which my dad wrote while they were courting.. and I just have an envelope with some cards and few letters because we belong to the email generation and calling is no longer expensive 😦
Ironically, diaries have made way for blogs!