Writing on the wall


By T S Sudhir

Actor Rana Daggubati tweeted : “Just passed by a billboard that says “Improve your handwriting”, I really  need to enroll.”
Rana, I mourn my handwriting, everytime my fingers run on the keyboard. Like I am now. There was a time I was immensely proud of my handwriting. Now 9 out of ten times, I cannot read what I write. Ok, that is an exaggeration. Let us say 6 out of 10 times. Still bad, isn’t it. Specially for a journalist for who jottings make all the difference to content in a report.
I miss my fountain pens that were a treasure. Every alternate Sunday, I would carefully clean them and then fill ink from the inkpot. Will this generation even get to see an inkpot?
When I see ads in newspapers featuring handwriting experts, I wonder if they get enough number of clients. They must be, if the world is full of people like me, saddened at the loss of a good handwriting in the world of the mouse.
I checked out a few handwriting websites and was rather fascinated by the handwriting tips that were dished out. How if you “write with your fingers”, you are a gone case.
An expert Dyas A Lawson writes : “People who inevitably have trouble with handwriting and calligraphy write with their fingers. They “draw” the letters. If you finger-write, that is the first, most important thing you must un-learn.”
“The right muscles are not those in the fingers. You must use the shoulder-girdle and forearm muscles. This muscle group is capable of much more intricate action than you think and tires much less easily than fingers, besides giving a smooth, clean, sweeping look to the finished writing. Though it seems paradoxical, since we’re accustomed to thinking of small muscles having better control, the shoulder-girdle group, once trained, does the job better.”

Now I realise I was writing wrong all my growing up years. No wonder, my hands would ache during a three-hour exam. I can now blame that on missing out on atleast one question in many a paper.
It is not just the fountain pens that have become obsolete. The typewriter gives it company. Harsha Bhogle writes about how the moment he uttered the word `bored’ during his summer hols, he was packed off to a typewriting institute. Ditto with me. I spent one hour everyday typing `The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’ a 100 times.
Then of course, there were those messy carbon papers that if not stored properly, would render many a sheet blue.

In this age of notebooks and qwerty mobiles, it is highly unlikely that finger writing will be unlearnt. And Rana, the only time you are likely to pick up a pen is to sign an autograph. So chill !

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About t s sudhir & uma sudhir

Uma Sudhir and T S Sudhir are senior journalists, based in Hyderabad. Both work for NDTV. Uma is a Tamilian, who was educated in
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