Tuesday, September 12, 2006

the death of heroes, pilots and fountains

the epitaph reads :

'May the memories never fade away'

I know I should have titled something in the lines of 'death of the ink pen' but then...

Remember those days? when the favorite April fool prank was to throw ink at the back of someone else's shirt, and the partner-in-crime was none other than our beloved ink pen.

Pardon my ignorance, but I really do not know what kids these days use for writing in school.Perhaps they are learning the alphabet on the computer, ending the era of slates,slate pencils (which ,among other things, used to be quite yummy to eat),pencils and pens.

I remember the transition from pencil to the ink pen and the first ink pen I had - it was a beautiful grey and the nib was golden in color.
Ink-filling was a ritual, no less in importance than the daily puja,
and was done under the strict supervision of my mom; dip the ink filler carefully into the royal blue Bril inkpot, fill the pen and shut it tightly so that it doesn't leak, ensuring that there are no filthy ink stains on our stark white uniforms.
My initial days of learning the written word were filled with wonder as I saw the blue ink spread among the 'ruled' notebooks. Ah! and the joys of getting one of those pink/red ink remarks or an occasional 'Very Good' by the teacher, is beyond the comprehension of the adult world.

now we are coming to a point of digression(skip this part if you are someone who hates digressions) - I always was in love with my handwriting - the girlish-cursive style which speaks about the all-girls-convent-education at the first glimpse of it.Too bad, I do not get enough opportunities to flaunt it. My group of friends were always inventing ways of dotting the 'i's and curving the 'g's or 'y's , not to mention a beautifully calligraphed S, A and D.The writing styles would develop a dialect of their own and we could identify the name of the schools looking at the handwriting;and no, we were not into graphology.(end of 'no-use-to-anyone-except-self' digression)

Slowly the ballpoint pen made inroads into our school-bags and without even putting up a fight, the ink-pen seemed to have died a slow death.
But then if writing is itself slowly fading away, the days of the ink pen are almost buried.
It wouldn't surprise me if sometime in the near future, we start using electronic notebooks and our handwritten notes can be easily transferred on to a Word document.
Add a few hundred years more and the antique ink pens would be on display in museums;
a thousand years and they would become fossiled remnants of the era of handwriting.

29 comments:

Shruthi said...

Hey what a lovely pen! Almost like I wrote it.. I remember my first pen too... and the rich almost black ink - and how it flowed on to the paper to make those lovely marks.... aahhaa bliss!!
I don't remember when I switched to ball-point pens... those were much more convenient, but my handwriting never looked quite that good!

Shruthi said...

The first line should have read "What a lovely post"! :)

Crouching Tigress said...

Gah finally you are back! And with a nice post as well! Ink filling ritual of course. I grew up with an older sibling and she started using an ink pen long before I did. I waited impatiently..and voila one fine day I owned an ink pen.
I think it's sad that writing is fading away. I just started writing a few months ago. In a book that is. Each time I travel, I pen my experiences using a pen, a black ink Parker though. I can go on, seriously, but this comment will turn into a post! :P

sinusoidally said...

I used to hate ink pens because I would mess up my hands and school dress with it. I do miss using them though. We would feel like all grown up and 'seniorly' when as 5th class kids we could use them!

Swathi said...

@shruthi
i always felt that a good pen and good paper brings out the best of one's handwriting.
glad u njoyed the post.

@c.tigress
u shud've gone ahead n written it all, it wud've bin like a post within a post.I would love to read ur travel experiences in ur own handwriting.(who knows perhaps they wud become a hit one day!)

@sines
yaa seems like an another era, isn't it?ah! the joys of a 5th class student***goes back into nostalgia****

Anu said...

Lovely post. Digression included. Wasn't there such a romance in the fountain pen? How proud I was when, towards the end of grade 4 the teacher told us all to bring a fountain pen. I thought it was my first step into adulthood.
Sadly, now that I use ball point pens, if and when I write with a fountain pen, the handwriting is not so good. I think I have got used to the extra pressure and when I try to write with a light hand, it is just not the same.

Arvind said...

"lovely post" "lovely post" "lovely post"

No!! i say, what a brilliant and lovely title to the post. And the epitaph. so touching and misleading a beginning and you entirely jump into the subject of ink pens and nostalgia.

A B S O L U T E L Y B R I L L I A N T

i was just nodding my head an smiling, totally stumped.

Pip Pip,
Arvind

Seashells said...

seriously, couldn't have chosen a better title to a nice post. I've been Mr. Butter Fingers all my life... so dad used to get me those parker pens which had a suction mechanism for ink refill... made my life so much easier and kept my clothes ink blot free... oh, that also reminds me... I LOVED BLOTTING PAPER...

Shradha said...

Well penned thoughts there and lovely lovely title :)

zombiee said...

what a post.. super.!

Balamurugan said...

hmm... yes, those were days to remember...
i always use to kid to my friends why do they call the ballpoint pen as refill pen, while it is the fountain pen that we actually refill...well, those were days...

i still have my blue ink pen which was supposed to be my lucky one (infact for my entire class..they use to carry it for the campus interviews)..no marks for guessing that it is in my old wooden box in which i have things to save and show it to my grandchildren...

i am not sure if the current days kids are aware that something called 4 line note book and 2 line notebook ever existed??

but on a different note, if this trend is going to be true, is the science of graphology also in its death bed???

Swathi said...

@Anu
welcome back from hibernation.yaa those lille things like using the fountain pen for the first time, choosing different colored pens for writing - those simple joys of life are the most i miss in this adult world.

@Arvind
i see that u r the first to be really appreciating the title more than the post itself..
would love to hear your personal experiences of writing with an ink pen.

@seashells
Mr.Butter Fingers , ha ha
yes i do remember the excitement of owning one of those fountain pens as we used to call them.n blotting paper, how i loved it, wonder y i skipped memories of that...

@shradha
the pun(pen?) was well intended :)

@zombiee
are yaar, i expected some of ur writing experiences (atleast not a one-liner from u!)

@bala
that was a good one - y do we call the ballpoint pen the refill pen!

n sorry to say that i myself havent saved a single ink pen that i have used(perhaps because i do not believe in posterity)

itz been eons since i have known any kids who go to school so i just do not know if they use the 4/2 lined notebooks (can we give them the benefit of doubt?)

anumita said...

Gee, you are bringing back memories... the all girls convent school and recognizing schools through handwritings!
Loved the post.

Perspective Inc. said...

Loved the post! :-)

RT said...

My first ink pen was in 5th Std - a nice black curvy body and a golden lid. And a small bit of the nib showing. Used to be called "China pen" by most friends, shopkeepers and even teachers.
That was the most favorite pen of mine and I lost it on the day of the last exam of my 12th boards. :(
Haven't touched an ink pen after that because nothing else came close to lovely pen to flatter my handwriting.
Its sad, but true! That writing on a paper with a pen is a slowly fading practice. Shudder to think about our future generations.

zombiee said...

hehe.. ive always loved the pencil. by the time i started writing.(other than school ofcourse) i discovered the keyboard and the monitor. so me no pen man mate.
(i could never read my handwriting hehe and still cant)

Deppe said...

I used a parker that was manufactured in the same year that I was born. I used it till I finished my education. Later, I passed it on to my sister in a grand transfer ceremony, and she went ahead and lost it. I'm still upset about it.

Swathi said...

@anumita
yes, the cursive writing that we used to flaunt was so 'St.Joseph's of Cluny' types :)

@perspective inc.
thanks :)

@rt
oh, i forgot to add the death of China as well :)after 12th ? i remember i used one even in college, havent used it since I left college.


@zombiee
i used to like the pencil too but i was totally in love with the pen

@Deppe
manufactured in the same year that u were born? thatz interesting... which pen was it btw?

Arthur Quiller Couch said...

Pens are sexy. Period.
I don't buy them, but then I don't buy sex either.

White Magpie said...

Well the day has already come when we can transfer handwritten stuff to computers at the press of a button. Didnt take long did it..I hope one day the kids dont need to take laptops to school.

Handwritten notes always add that zing..And warmth. I still write to close friends. And seriously, not writing for a long time spoils the style.

Truth Fairy said...

MIA?? Nice post btw! I still use ink pens and I guess I always will. :)

Swathi said...

@aq couch
pens and sexy, looks like i missed the point...

@w magpie
i'm surprised that u still write to friends, there r very few ppl who do that these days (yaa yaa i'm guilty of not doing it)

@truth fairy
yaa, kya karen my work is killing me, i wud b back soon once i go back to India n settle in the cocoon of hyd

anumita said...

Time for new post? How you doing?

jax said...

Hey Swathi. Thanks for dropping by my blog. Was it you who left me an offline message on Yahoo? I closed the message before replying and couldn't recollect your IM name.My bad.

gvenum said...

You in Calif? So says your profile!

Gangadhar said...

Hey swathi,
your post brought back so many childhood memories..thanks..
first time here via Anumita's...

take care

Crouching Tigress said...

Come baaaaack!

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Puzzledjux said...

Oh so agree :(((
Yup, fountain pens were glamourous, royal and oh so classy!
damn! Yes yes i remember those dyas when I'd take 10 minutes to write all of one line and spend the next 20 admiring my handiwork. Oh god, now post high school in VTU, writing is such a bore!
Those were the days.

I always thought that 90% of nostalgic posts were all silly, but here I am feeling gloomy abt the passing of an 'age' myself
Well written. cheers!