Technology has replaced a number of tools we were used to. The transition to the new tools has been mostly smooth for a majority of them. We don’t miss many things. We are not too nostalgic about many things. However, one thing which is taking a long time to adjust with is the simple pen. Writing with a pen is next item on the hit list of technology. It has already replaced in a number of areas. If you take the case of India, it’s mostly students use it to write in classrooms and for their examinations. The pen is fast disappearing from most workplaces.
Now I feel that this is an interesting transition. The history of writing and writing instruments in the history of mankind. Even today, a beautiful pen retains the charm like no other. Its difficult to find someone who doesn’t like a pen. Even if we write less, we are fond of pens. Having got a pen we may have to deliberately create situations to write. A signature here and there, rarely a form to fill up and there ends the usage of a pen. Ask people, most of them will be finding it difficult to write in legible handwriting even a page. This is an age of typing. The ubiquitous keyboard is fast replacing all writing instruments. In the office, I find the staff refusing to write even two lines of simple note and instead they go to their systems and type it and attach a printout. Pens got added to the use and throw category and rarely you find somebody having an emotional attachment to their pens.
Typing has provided a whole world of opportunities to the writer with possibilities for endless editing and corrections. None will know what the first draft was like and technology has just erased the uniqueness of one’s handwriting. However, this throws up many interesting observations. Do people write diaries now? Diaries were always a very interesting segment of literature itself. We have a galaxy of writers who kept diaries and which were published afterward. It remained always as one of the most authentic documents of one’s inner self. I was wondering will there be diary writers in an age of typing?
Remember the school days when we were told repeatedly, how important is handwriting in scoring marks or climbing up in life. All of you would have had at least one classmate whose handwriting had that rare charisma and which was the envy of the whole class. Now there is an important development here. Is there any relation between handwriting and learning and development in children? The answer is perhaps yes. Because of this answer, the transition to a keyboard from a pen is not a mere advancement of technology but much more than that. Interesting findings emerged from a roundtable conference conducted by Guardian in February. It appears that according to Paediatric doctors, children are finding it difficult to hold pencils. Some researchers also found that people writing with hand had better learning and writing helped people to create a mental picture of many things.
I was also recollecting another incident. In an examination which was descriptive type, the trainer was continuously reminding us to practice writing as long-form writing with a pen may be the biggest challenge as we all write very less nowadays. When I see my children writing with a pen, the obvious question which comes to my mind is this. How long?