Friday, January 3, 2014

Of pens and keys

If you can write 25 lines without feeling a hint of discomfort in your knuckles, you’re awesome. Your handwriting—good or worse—be damned! No joke. There’s a reason to it too. You haven’t been destroyed by QWERTY. Yet. And that should be a matter of pride even if you’re not Murakami or Rowling or Pamuk. You see, over the past few years, our literal realities have been going through a paradigm shift. As a result of which, desktop has become a common noun and typing, commoner. Pen doesn’t seem as mighty as it once used to. Keys have taken its place; at least in the urban scenario.
                                                   Or maybe it’s just me.
Nowadays, i barely let a pen point attempt paragraphs on paper. It’s usually words or short sentences, if not plain signatures.  With such a discouraging backdrop, what happens to the good old custom of writing long epistles? With telegram honorably extinct, what’s the future of exchanging hand-written letters? Cultivating pen pals while we are it? Postcards, someone? Love letters, huh? Will they survive? By any measure of chance, yes is the answer. The real question is a bit different though: what about you? It’s not like the whole world has suddenly turned against the poor postman. The street dogs continue to chase him while people in the neighbourhood can’t wait to welcome him without offering a glass of water. So things aren’t evolving THAT phenomenally. People exchange e-mails and everything is more or less fine. After all, everybody appears proud to have the same print-perfect handwriting.
So, the question keeps coming back to you. Your skills and your personal touch. When was the last time you wrote someone a letter filled with cancellations and food marks? Whom are you planning to send one in spite of having each other’s e-mail IDs? Holding a page with words meant for you can certainly beat a lot of in its category. Besides, it’s never too late. Yes, Gandhi was right. Our handwriting and gymnastics indeed stay with us forever. But it’s OK. You’re not writing a medical prescription. The person on the other end will get what you’re trying to say. 
Perhaps it’s not about the choice available but about doing something which we once used to. Before technology made time invaluable and emotions, redundant. If you sit down to quantify the amount of time one invests in browsing and posting comments on social media that will never be responded with a reply, it becomes stark obvious that we’re simply wasting the power of fingertips. Shouldn’t that be diverted towards those who’d be happy to really ‘hear’ from you… for a change? By any yardstick, that’d be better than having an imaginary friend/acquaintance who never writes back to you.

NB: I wrote this drivel for my only surviving pen pal on Earth.

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