In the past few months, I’ve rediscovered writing. Pencil-on-paper writing, not typing. I now carry a couple of yellow notepads and sharpened 2B pencils at all times, and I find it ridiculous to have ever thought of replacing them with word processing software.
I have nothing against Word. I probably have more .docs than a teenager has facebook updates. But really, it’s not writing, is it? Writing forces you to think, to see what you write as a reflection of who you are. Seeing your writing, with its elegant f’s and awkward r’s, has an effect that can’t be matched by Calibri or Georgia. Your errors and embarrassments stare at you like a stern teacher. They can be crossed out, painted over, torn out, burnt down, but they can’t be ignored. They can’t be backspaced.
Perhaps this is the reason for the widespread contempt for language these days. I’ve been trying to hire a copywriter for weeks. I’ve seen dozens of resumes with misspellings, and deleted scores of emails where not the faintest fuck was given about punctuation. Right now, I’ll be happy if I can be confident about their ability to distinguish it’s from its. Maybe it won’t matter in few years, when we all have keyboards without vowels. But until then, I’ll keep hoping.
So, yes. Writing. Writing has also made me feel a bit sorry for paper. I realized how little we use it now. Work, mail, bank statements, newspapers, magazines, RTI applications, telephone bills, everything once dependant on paper has moved on to 1’s and 0’s.
It gets an unfair rap too. Arrogant pricks send emails telling you to ‘think before you print this email’. Who the fuck prints emails, hain? And I’m not sure how bad it is for the environment. It’s like asking you not to eat chicken or they’ll go extinct. Trees, like chicken, are renewable. So what if we cut them down to make paper. We can grow them again, can’t we? And it would be a poor business model for paper companies to let forests disappear. If anything, it should be better for the forests if we keep using paper. Much better than making indestructible plastic tablets in China by the billions and shipping them around the world.
Anyway, the point is, there are things best left to paper. It’s cheap, it’s versatile, it doesn’t need charging, it’s dead easy to understand how to operate, you can write on it, draw dirty pictures on it, make planes and frogs with it, use it to kill mosquitoes. And when you’re done, you can recycle it. Even if you don’t, the earth will. Oh, fine, papercuts can be a nightmare, but I don’t believe they’re a major cause of death.
Also, you wouldn’t care much if you were reading the newspaper where it’s meant to be read, and it fell out of your hands, bounced twice on the floor, hit the drain cover (which magically opened for the first time in its life), and went in with a terrifying, paralysing ‘glog’.
Not the case with a 25,000-Rupee smartphone.