Smartphones and Stencils

The Daily Post’s writing prompt: Pens and Pencils.
“When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?”


If I am a writer (am I?) then I am a write (er).
As a writer I am supposed to ‘write’ by hand or else I would be called a keyboarder or touch-typer. Thanks Word Press for reminding me about it!!

I do write by hand almost everyday. As and when I can think of some shopping item that needs to be bought, I keep noting it down. In this keyboard era, I can do it on my mobile or iPad but I prefer to write. The papers used for writing are the blank side of envelopes of any documents I receive by post, like bank statements or hard copies of various bills.  I hardly ever read the bank statements but the outer envelopes which are usually handy in my family room, end up being used for scribbling highly important shopping words like –  sugar, milk, Paracetamol, cereal, bananas etc etc.   The handwriting is more or less legible to me alone. For security purposes.

Other than my erratic shopping lists, I do sometimes write, or rather quickly jot down any creative ideas that flash my mind. Ideas which can be used for my future ‘writing’, I mean future ‘key-boarding’, I mean ‘touch-typing’.  But mostly these too are jumbled up phrases or half-done articles that soon have to be typed on my machine to give them a shape of finished articles.

So, no more of writing long letters, journals or stories etc by hand, something that I did a lot once upon a time.  My last handwritten letter was to my mother, around 18 years ago.  But few years ago I undertook some exams that had long essay-writing involved.  As I picked my pen to write on the exam sheet, it was as if my right hand trembled and pen was going here and here, for I had forgotten how much stress to put.  Made me nostalgic about youth-time university days when we had no problem writing..

As to your question, can I imagine returning to pre-keyboard era?

Well, can we imagine returning to pre-refrigerator era?   The time consuming  maintenance of all the vegies, milk, yogurts, and cooked and uncooked food.  No ready cold water or ice.

Can we imagine returning to pre-television era or a pre-washing machine era?

We can’t even think of surviving without any electrical gadgets we get so habitual to. In fact most of us humans are now such snobbish creatures that once we get an advanced version of any gadget, we don’t even like to look at the previous redundant model that served us faithfully for so long, be it our car, TV,  washing machine or mobile phone. Like we have retired parents deposited in old-age homes or else quietly residing in the remote backyard in-laws quarter in some homes, similarly there are so many heart-broken, deserted old and plump mobile phone devices that fill the bottom-most drawers of most households.

I have had a big screen modern LCD TV for some time now. But it was not always so. There must have been many different previous models, each previous version bigger in girth but with lesser features. We must have happily used them once. And yet, we do not prefer these old models as soon as we get a new one.

Recently, one family friend who was moving inter-state gave us their old time big fat TV (for free), as they had no time to sell it.  But we are not excited about the free deal as it occupies huge space and ruins the look of our lounge room.  I can’t seem to dispose it, because although this big fat TV (the name given to it by me) has expensive brand, has great functional features and was once priced more than $6000 but today no one would buy it for $30, maybe some student will.

Which means, once the old versions and old bygone style of life becomes a thing of the past, it’s no more deemed suitable by even ‘my type’ of people.  Mind it, I am not at all one of those the fussy fanatic types who go and buy the latest model of smart phone the very first day it shows up in the shops.  And, with a mind of my own, I don’t even care if somebody thinks I am poor if I happen to have very old style TV.   I can happily live without all the modern gadgets if I couldn’t afford them.

And yet, even to a person like me it mattered, both from aesthetic as well as utilitarian purpose, that I need to have only that item which serves my purpose better.   But if I had no TV in my home already, I would have been elated to have this big old TV.  After all, once upon a time, as a school girl in late 70s, I used to go to neighbor’s house to see a unique miraculous thing called TV, that showed its black and white jarring pictures.

So coming back to keyboard vs. paper and pencil.   Well, it is no more an issue of our going back to pre-keyboard era or about continuing to love our once beloved ‘paper and pencil’.

For most people, it will be an issue if they are made to give up their conveniently portable and faster iPad or smartphone and go back to solely using a bigger laptop. Will that be possible? Or it’s a question of leaving our laptop and going back to the big fat computer era.

If all these small and big keyboards are taken away from us, then it will be better to have at least paper and pencil rather than a dried leaf and feather quill.

So, I use them all – some less some more – depending on the situation.  I use keyboards of smartphones/tablets, of laptop as well as the big fat computer (very rarely)  and yes…as mentioned earlier, I do use paper and pencil too.
C’mon!!  Not pencil…silly me.
It’s pen.  I use ball-point pen or a roller tip one.

And yet, it’s difficult to think of totally returning to pre-keyboard era.   More than that…I can’t think at all of going back to pre-paper era or pre-pencil era.
But currently I am happy in my smartphone and stencil era.