The other day I scribbled some notes on a piece of paper and I struggled. I wanted to write down a few errands and I struggled with that pen. Once the ordeal was over, and I looked down at my own handwriting, I was left both shocked and sad. This award-winning handwriting of mine (or so I believed) was reduced to a rather pathetic version of a doctor's prescription. My hands struggled to write down a sentence, and the way I held my pen, seemed alien to me. I wondered to myself, have I forgotten how to write?
Have you seen a drastic change in your handwriting too? Well, the best of us have seen a major downfall in our handwriting and, to put it plainly, it kind of sucks.
Remember the cursive writing books we had to fill?
When we were in class 1 or 2, our parents would buy us a lot of cursive handwriting notebooks and Natraj pencils which we would use to practice writing. We would practice writing alphabets - small and capital both - using repetition. There was a classwork and a homework copy so the majority of our time as a 6, 7 or 8-year-old was spent doing something that we would soon lose touch of as we grew older, but hadn’t seen that possibility back then.
Cursive writing now seems like a vanishing skill. Do younger generations even care to write in cursive, when they have their iPhones or laptops to type?
I remember, in class 4, my handwriting had reached a decent level of appreciation and we had made a shift from pencils to fountain pens. With fountain pens came the feeling of growing older which was, to be honest, an amazing feeling. From class notes, solving math problems to talking to each other via writing on chits and passing them around -- it all started around this time. That was the time when most of us discovered our love for the process of putting a pen to a paper.
Our pens were like our selected swords for war.
Eventually, our love saw a shift from fountain pens to buttery ballpoint pens which were really fun to write with. I remember going to the stationary and spending good 45-minutes looking for the right pen that would apparently turn to be a life-changing experience.
There were the techno tip ball-point that I particularly admired. And then there were your usual cello ink pens, and the Rs. 2 pens that would last me forever and surprisingly they were better than any of those really expensive pens that I had ever bought. The writing process started becoming cumbersome in the years to come. Whether it was finishing class notes, assignments or simply writing exams -- we had officially become a writing machine.
Practice made our handwriting shine bright like a diamond.
The silver lining to all of this was our handwriting itself. It was beautiful. Remember the time when we were given extra marks for good handwriting because it came along with a conviction of being right? That feeling was remarkable, indeed.
By the time we got into college, assignments became a bitch. We were still writing them endlessly on pieces of paper, nobody gave a shit about, except the professor of course but they would seldom read it. Hence, we gradually made a shift from pen and paper to laptop and a phone. I would use a pen just to write my semester exams.
Then came technology, and whatever leftovers of good writing we had, disappeared.
Come 2000s, adulting and technology, everything seemed to take over just about every single piece writing we had ever done.
Making notes ✔
Writing articles ✔
Writing essays ✔
Docmail, a UK-based printing and mailing company, conducted a study and concluded that one in three participants had not been required to produce something in handwriting for more than half a year.
It is difficult to even find a pen in our bags at most times, leave alone using it. It is rare to find someone with a pen and paper just jotting down their thoughts.
Then suddenly we forgot what putting a pen to a paper even felt like.
The pen has become an entity people play with when they are immersed in their deepest thoughts. Would you deny? I don’t think so. Sometimes, I tend to make a grocery list on a piece of paper and when I go through it while I am at the grocery store, I struggle to decipher what I have actually written. All the writing I have done in the last 6 months is sign on some official documents and this is no joke.
So yeah, life has changed quite a bit since the time I first picked a pencil to practice cursive writing. My writing has changed for sure. But perhaps, I could try and patiently write a letter to my dad or a friend again in a handwriting that he will understand because e-text really don’t smell like anything at all.