Column: The hand behind a Word

Alphabet Written on Notepad

After a recent team meeting at my workplace, I happened to visit a colleague’s bay to have a short work-related discussion. I took a seat as he was still making notes from the meeting we just concluded. This must be a cliché that guys do not have a neat handwriting, but as I watched my colleague make notes, I gave it a second thought. You have such an excellent handwriting, I said still staring at his notepad. He acknowledged my compliment and went on to say that he in fact had a neater handwriting a couple of years ago. But with the introduction of computers, smartphones and tablets his handwriting was taking a beating.

Really? Better than this?

So this is what the digital age has done to our handwriting. Today, my handwriting is what we call doctors’ handwriting — illegible, messy, hard to read, untidy and scrawly.  There was a time when I scored marks during exams only because I had a neat handwriting. But today, given the fact that I am typing throughout the day, there is very little time to make notes.

It’s surprising how I love to collect notebooks and pens. But now, considering the digital age, pens and notebooks are nothing less than antique pieces. This shows us how dependent we are on technology and slowly we shall see ‘traditional’ writing slip away from our hands. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a paragraph in a book. The crackle on a keyboard can go unnoticed nowadays. We’re all so used to the sound our fingers produce after hitting some keys that flash some words in the neatest of handwriting on a computer screen.

Last week, I was attending a meeting and how I wished I was carrying my laptop. I was tired making notes. More than being tired, I was hoping that no one would peep into my notebook because my handwriting looked pathetic. Every time I look at a notebook in which I have scribbled, I remind myself that this should never reach my mother’s hand. She will disown me considering what a flawless handwriting she has.

Handwritten notes or letters have a charm of their own. Such writing came across as personal unlike digital writing that’s become so depersonalized. Losing our handwriting feels like we’ve lost a part of ourselves. Today, even a signature is restricted to official documents. When was the last time you signed a note? I can’t remember either. There are times when I just sign my name on the last page of a book to remind myself of the uniqueness my handwriting adds to my name. We no longer use paper to note down an address, but instead save it as notes in our smartphones.

Technology is indeed great, but what about the art of handwriting? With technology sweeping in like a storm, writing seems nothing less than a bygone era.

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Categories: Open Letters | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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