The other day, I was helping my cousin with a school assignment , and I noticed that she had a 500 word essay to write for her English evaluation. So I merrily brought out my laptop and said, "here, use MS Word, and that way you don't have to worry about the word limit, it'll show you!" She shot me a look that was undeniably dripping with sarcasm, "In school, we write essays, not type them out." And when her words hit me, raw and hard, I quickly disguised my shameful look into one of sympathy, and said "If you can type as fast as you write, then that's called skill!" "If you can write half as fast as you type, it's called 'you're-not-insane' ". This, my friends, was the cue to take up a challenge. I smiled at her knowingly and said "Bah, what you wouldn't do to get me to write your essay! But fine, I'll do it." And then began my fall into ignominy. I picked up her beauty of a Parker, and gazed at it approvingly for a few seconds before I put pen to paper. It was an easy topic, I already had a zillion ideas and all I had to do was write. I wrote down the heading in capitals and underlined it twice (I would realize later that capitals are never a problem because of the endless application forms I fill in, for bank accounts, for renewal of passport, for so many such things). Then I started the first few words and stopped. There was a vague sense of unfamiliarity that I couldn't understand. My fingers were beginning to hurt from what was misconstrued by them as an unnatural activity. It was as if my fingers that had known how to write in such a beautiful hand had been shed and new ones that only understood the feel of a keyboard had sprouted in their place. My cousin was shooting me glances to see if I would admit defeat. But no way! I continued writing, and my handwriting came out looking like a whole load of gibberish. I went on until I could tolerate it no more and put the pen down in utter frustration. (I would never throw that Parker, it was exquisite; but what a pity I wasn't able to use it!) She was looking at me in sheer delight, and her triumphant face said "You ultra-savvy freak, you can't even write properly anymore!" And much as I hate to admit it, she's right! What I could write in 10 seconds during my school days now takes me atleast 2 or 3 minutes if I want to make it look legible. And like I already mentioned, capitals are never a problem, I have enough practice with that. Oh, and of course, my signature. That's NEVER a problem. Two reasons – It's mostly an illegible scrawl, and for the number of credit card slips I sign, I'll never forget that one.
Every thought that I wish to express now (if not verbally) is always dealt with by my keyboard. Or my cell phone through an SMS. I once used to passionately collect exquisite Parkers, Cross and Sheafers. I used to dream of owning the most expensive Mont Blanc. When the idea of writing a story crept into my mind, I would imagine myself sitting by a gurgling stream, on the bank with my writing pad and a Reynolds (I couldn't use my Mont Blanc for first drafts right?) and crumpling up paper after paper and throwing them unceremoniously into a waste paper basket which I'd bring along (with all due respect to Mother Nature and the trees and all of you). I absolutely adored stationery. I mean I still do. But I just buy them and never use them now. And I feel guilty about that.
Anyhow, I think fingers spasming up is Mother Nature's way of ringing the alarm bells and saying "Stop cutting trees you buffoons, you're lucky I let you remember your signatures!" What do you think? Reflect on it while I go get myself a cursive writing practice book.