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Pushing the pen, creatively

A good handwriting is any day an asset, even in times when computer keyboards have taken the place of pens, believes calligraphist K.C.Janardhan

For a person who wrote certificates for software training institutes for a princely sum of 50 paise per certificate, Janardhan has come a long way — Photo: K. Murali Kumar

"GOOD HANDWRITING is a necessary part of education... (and consequently,) bad handwriting should be regarded as a sign of imperfect education..." This statement makes K.C. Janardhan glow. "I did not say this," he chirps. "Mahatma Gandhi did."

His visiting card describes him as "Professor of Penmanship and Calligraphy Maestro". His name, interestingly, is not printed on it. He would rather write it himself — in his inimitable calligraphic style — before handing it over to someone. He has a string of qualifications to credit — from Bachelor of Arts to Post-Graduate Diplomas in Marketing and Personnel Management. But he has long stopped affixing them on his card. He believes that none of these formal academic achievements have anything to do with his interest. Rather, passion.

"In the early 90's, when I chose to pursue a career in handwriting and calligraphy, people laughed at me," recalls Janardhan. "My own relatives and friends ridiculed me. Their discouraging remarks, instead of dimming my enthusiasm, helped me in my resolve to pursue my chosen field, despite the high risks involved."

For a person who wrote certificates for software training institutes for a princely sum of 50 paise per certificate, Janardhan has come a long way. "Now, depending on the type and importance of job, I charge as much as Rs. 50 per certificate." His list of clients includes corporates such as Oberoi, Digital, Titan, Apple Computers, and Britannia. And The Hindu, too.

"Everyone knows the value of good handwriting," says Janardhan. "But very few recognise the real power it has." He has not only charmed corporates with his writing abilities, but also students, teachers, and parents. On many occasions even policemen and politicians. Armed with nothing else but a simple pen and a charming smile, he once even persuaded the Passport Officer, who allowed him to write his own passport.

His steadfast interest and achievements in a field that few would dare to tread has taken him places. In 1993, he was invited to participate in the education fair at Hong Kong. Four years later, he visited the United States to market a book and CD on Karnataka. In 2001, he toured United Kingdom as part of the Group Study Exchange Program of Rotary International. Next year, his name figured in India's Who's Who, under Personalities From Other Fields category.

He is the author Write To Be Read, and regularly conducts seminars and workshops on what he calls power handwriting and calligraphy. As the Founder-Director of Golden Hand, he not only takes up handwriting research and training, but also trains people in SWOT analysis for self-development. As a member of the Association of British Scholars, India, he also conducts classes in understanding British culture.

"All these have come with a lot of sweat and doggedness," says Janardhan. "To have a passion for a subject such as handwriting and calligraphy is one thing. But making it commercially viable was the real challenge. I know there are outstanding calligraphers in Urdu and Arabic in places such as Lucknow. With the advent of modern printing processes and computers, they have been sidelined. Most of them have lost their jobs and have even become penniless. So I knew all the risks involved. But I was also sure that machines could not replace everything the human hand does."

Janardhan is entirely self-taught. Today, he boasts of not only a striking library of books, but a fine collection of pens, curios, and quills, which he has displayed in his office-cum-studio in a very unlikely location — the heart of Kalasipalyam.

So, what does one do to possess a good handwriting? He feels that each of us has the ability and potential, which very often is not nurtured in the right manner. "Talk to any parent or school teacher, most complain about the child's poor handwriting. They think that the problem lies with the child, which is not true. Very often, teachers and parents are handwriting illiterates and have terrible handwriting themselves. They do not lead by examples. Guide the student properly and the results can be astounding."

To prove his point, he displays samples of his students' writing before they undertook his course and illustrates the dramatic improvements they have achieved later on. "My courses are not quick-fix solutions but detailed exploration. They run for one full year, three days a week in one hour sessions. Many parents tell me that by the time the student finishes his course, they see not only improvement in the handwriting, but also in the child's attitude and habits. They become more meticulous in their work and outlook, with enhanced levels of patience, concentration, and discipline."

Perhaps for these reasons, Janardhan's phone and mobile rarely stops ringing. Most of the calls are from school managements, teachers, and parents for guidance and workshops. On special request, he conducts workshops for others too. One such workshop on Effective Handwriting is being organised by the Association of British Scholars, Karnataka Chapter, on May 23 at the British Library. For details, one could contact the British Library on 22240763 or 22213485. Another workshop is scheduled at Oxford Bookstore, Leela Palace, on June 3, at 6 p.m.. Call 51155222 for details.

They are open to all who believe in what Blaise Pascal once said: "To know how to write well is to know how to think well."


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