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Let the curves be: To roll the r’s and wing the s’s

Practising a different kind of art, the art of handwriting

“Your curves aren’t proper and your finishing is poor.” Saying so, my teacher peered at me, a Class X student then, peering through her glasses precariously perched on the bridge of her nose.

No, I wasn’t practising the Picasso kind of ‘art’, drawing a portrait of a woman, which would sell for millions in the future. No, I was practising a different kind of ‘art’, the art of handwriting, when I was 16 years old, in four-line notebook, when all my friends had gone home after a long day of tests and homework.

Miserable me. My teachers were worried not if I would get my answers right for the impending board examinations, but if I would write anything that is comprehensible. Hence, the extra hours after school with the English teacher and, yeah, a four-line notebook!

Four years gone, still I haven’t managed to nail the art of the fingers. But somehow I’ve managed to wade through the tenth and the twelfth, and am now half-an-engineer (yippie!). I’ve tried all that I can to find a solution, but still every word I write is a signature of its own. If how I write depends on what I write with, then my parents have bought me all the ink-spilling devices in town, but it didn’t help.

And I sure didn’t get any extra marks for beautiful handwriting, and nothing made my ordinary words beautiful. By the way these are the assurances that the pen retailers hold forth. But not to some ‘conditions apply’ cases, I guess.

As a last resort I’ve just started to accept my writing as it is, let my curves be, and just ignore if someone has any wise words for me. When my friends mockingly comment that I should become a doctor to fill out prescription forms that only the medical shop can understand, I retort saying that even Gandhiji had a squiggly handwriting but never will I tell that he regretted it. And I’ve had teachers tell me that “even boys have a better handwriting”.

Oh! and so there goes another liberty for the boys, and me being a girl should have absolute control over, even on my fingers moving them as gracefully as possible and write ‘neatly’ only.

It helps if you have a sibling with a better handwriting, leaving enough room for comparison. And you can be sure to hear a “if she can do it, then why can’t you” comment. I don’t care anymore, I don’t care if my peers don’t want to copy my notes, I don’t care if my turn to write on the board has been skipped, and if the teachers need extra time to correct my answer script. I guess my paper just deserves that.

When everything is going ‘digital’, we still have to toil with pen, paper and pencil? Wouldn’t it be much simpler if we could convert all the examinations, including the monthly cycle tests, into a digital format?

But till then I guess I have to maintain peace with this inky sixth finger. And if you are not allowed to judge a book by its cover, and so it goes: never judge a person, or his/her character, nor their answer script, by an attribute called handwriting.

Thanks to my laptop, all I had to do to get this piece of writing out is a little tip-tap with the keyboard. And also I got to choose the font for the manuscript. With such a flexible, easy way, why would I want to hold a pen again? So long, digitalisation!

pdhikshitha@gmail.com

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 10:56:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/let-the-curves-be-to-roll-the-rs-and-wing-the-ss/article18956747.ece

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