Sunday, February 1, 2009


Rocks full on!! Can't expect anything sleeker, sexier and more mature. And if I xerox..err, photocopy it, I would sit drooling over the print till it got dissolved. It's amazing how photocopies make even the most disgusting of handwritings look quite a bit decent. Maybe, it's the ‘printed’ effect. Or maybe, the pre-conceived idea that printed work looks more dignified and professional than handwritten ones. Whatever. I just pray I don't eat up my notebook one day! (On second thoughts, it won't matter much :P)

As a child, my parents used to sign my calendar or homework (always complete, the author would like to mention that she was a very obedient child, quite unlike her adult version), or write my class teacher a sick note, or a wrong-dabba (meaning anything other than poli bhaji) note, I always used to wonder how they succeeded in conceiving such a carefree, casual, half-the-time-unreadable-to-me-but-miraculously-interpretatory-to-the-teachers (or maybe they just faked it!) handwriting. Now, I know.

Curiously, my own handwriting used to change every time. Every minute. Every line. At the top of the notebook, it used to be geometrically at the middle of the two lines provided, but touching neither. And there, it used to be cursive. (The author claims that she still has her Geography notebook of grade 6, with neat little notes on Zulu dances and Assamese stilt houses and the snowy Taiga and Tundra regions, as a souvenir to her volatile handwriting.) Then, quarter-way through, I used to get a sudden inspiration to go print (the all separate letters style). The sentences used to stay exactly between the two lines, but the letters could get free and stretch their limbs a bit; the legs of the ‘p’s and ‘q’s lengthened, the ‘g’s and ‘y’s got their curled tails stiff and straightened (how about a dog? :P), the dot of the ‘i’ got hollowed out, the ‘o’ went from clockwise conception to anti-clockwise, and some completely cursive letters like ‘f’ and ‘k’ and ‘r’ got image makeovers.

But, again, all this held on just for another 7 lines. My pen remained dissatisfied. The last few lines were a mixture of cursive and print. The most user-friendly handwriting till date. Efficient and time-saving. The haven of a lazy person :D Depending upon the word, the ‘s’ would sometimes be print, sometimes cursive, at other times, a cursive version of print. The ‘t’ would sometimes have its cross extended, sometimes it’s a**. And after all of this, ultimately, the next page of my notebook never used to resemble any other page in it! My mum used to say, I’d be caught one day under charges of forgery. My ready retort: I’d show them such mind-boggling on-the-spot samples of multiple handwritings that they’d pull their pen out! (Bad pun, I guess. Err…sorry. Pen. :P)

But all the same, my writing used to be elaborate and pearly and rotund and neat. Y’know. A different sort of neat. Meaning, it looked manipulated sometimes. Carefully planned out and scrutinized handwriting. Although it was not. And I hated that illusion.

Then, in an effort to make it seem more natural, there came a stage where I became too lazy to write. The writing became too short and stubby. The necks of long letters became so short that the ‘h’ started resembling ‘n’ and ‘d’ got mistaken for ‘a’. For the first time in history, I lost marks in my English examination for SPELLING MISTAKES!! I was so scandalized, I came home and cried. :|

I decided, that’s that. Time for some serious business. I needed to shut out all the namby-pamby wishy washy nonsense of neat, clean, scratch-free handwriting (Although the author does not expect anyone who knows her to believe, she wants to make known that she used to religiously tear out pages that contained as much as a single scratch with a slide-rule, and write them all over again. Forget assignments or projects, normal class-work notebooks got that sort of treatment :| ), and be natural. A few cuts won’t take your life. And neither can you afford to write every alphabet so flowery and grandiloquent every time. It would only be so much before it started deteriorating or I lost patience. And it was seriously coming in the way of my speed factor. So, I let it go. Let my inhibitions go. Break free. And I realized something wonderful.

That when you do something without worry, and unnecessary tension, you probably do it the best way you can do it. My scratches dramatically decreased! To almost one in ten pages! I stopped worrying about completing journal questions and assignment essays in draft form before making them fair. I inked them in directly. And fared out top every where. Around 9th grade, I realized that I wrote more comfortably with a ball-point pen. Fountain pens always left patches of ink round my nails. And my fingers looked permanently painted. And the Headmistress found it the perfect time to reveal (although reluctantly; she believed in water-based liquid ink and only water-based liquid ink) that we were allowed to give our Boards in non water-based liquid ink. So I switched to balls. Eeks, pens, I meant. Erm, never mind. :D

Professors always swore by my writing. Now, they went berserk! In fact, our Hindi miss, Miss Sonali, even went to the extent of tagging it prernadayak (inspirational). I was embarrassed. [Note: If you’ve actually got through till this point and such level of self-centered naïveté, then the author strongly recommends you to plough on.]

Experimentations led to the conclusion that black ink suited my writing more. Lent it quality, and a kind of sleekiness. Or maybe it was my mindset and there was nothing of the sort. But I’d learnt not to worry about that, just do what my mind says is right. I never looked back.

Nowadays, almost all my notes are in black, though I have one blue Parker refill as a keepsake. (more so, for emergency situations like exams!) My writing has a sort of casual messiness to it. Joint somewhere, crooked somewhere, completely random. The way it suits me best. People say, a person’s handwriting reflects his/her personality, among so many other things. People also say my handwriting is lovely. I don’t know what exactly to make of those two statements (since I don’t think I’m that lovely in person), but I feel that, every aspect of a person (may it be as small as his way of tying his shoelaces or as big as giving a presentation) that makes others stop and think (even for a second), is worth nurturing and developing. It might not make an inch worth of difference, but who knows? Maybe, tomorrow, the ill-informed author might just get preferred for a PR post in Siemens (at which point, she rushes forward to assure that she has no personal contacts or relatives or friends or friends' friends or grudges in relation to the said organization), just because the interviewer was a person who believed that handwriting reflects personality and who found her writing lovely. :)

Knock on wood.


arunabh said...

What's the word for "someone who is totally obsessed with handwriting"?
And before you jump to conclusions, personally, I am someone who is very finicky about my handwriting. My "o's" should be perfectly round spheres, the two semi-circles in "S" should have equal radii,the dots of "i" should be distinctly visible.... Damn it! I don't think the computer keyboard is capable enough to even convey what I intend to :)
Regardless, my handwriting never got me a job!

anu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anu said...

@ arunabh,

That's what the post culminates into. About how I learnt to NOT bother about my handwriting. And I definitely don't want perfect spheres and ellipses in my letters. It's the messiness that I'm obsessed with more than the eloquence :)

And handwritings shall almost always never get anyone jobs, unless I'm the employer :D

PS: That word would be..'pen(wo)manfan' :D

greySith said...

Welcome back! I read through all of that just so that I could say welcome back :P

Nice read. Put up a pic of something handwritten.

Shashank Kanade said...

Fonts and hand-writings have always fascinated me[though this revelation is quite new].
I tried creating a font out of my own handwriting and it looks even prettier than the photocopied pages.

nicely put!

... every aspect of a person that makes others stop and think, is worth nurturing and developing.
Quite a Quote. :)

A half light said...

thank you :)