Something about me

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The writing's on the wall?

This blog post originally appeared in Prayag.

I am a student at the London School of Economics, which, in rather archaic fashion, sets long essay-type examination papers and expects them to be answered legibly in longhand. There are no assignments, no projects and 100% of the student’s grade depends on his performance in the one exam of the year. Woe betide the student who has forgotten how to write anything other than grocery lists AND has messy calligraphy, to boot! As I was mulling over ways and means of improving my handwriting speed, I was told by my son’s teacher to help him practice his lower-case English letters. She asked me to buy the 4-line notebook used for writing English, teach him how to hold the pencil “properly” and get him accustomed to spacing his letters equally.
I was highly amused. I had recently read an article on how Chinese youth are having difficulty in handwriting and how it appears to be a dying art. But as someone who spent years learning how to write neatly, in the process getting slapped on the knuckles by a long ruler not once but multiple times, and as the proud winner of several handwriting contests, I was also saddened at the loss of that personal touch, that intimacy that goes into the (hand)written word.
And so it appears, that once more, technology has sounded the death-knell for a fragment of an earlier, less electronic life. Oh well, with the printing industry in the doldrums, what did one expect? Who but a rare few ever shed a tear for the internal combustion engine that replaced the bullock cart, the cellphone that replaced inland mail, or the computer that killed the stenographer?
Now, if only someone would explain all this to my son’s teacher…..