Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Written Word…

I sat in the middle of a largely empty stadium, devoid of the numerous screaming fans that usually inhabit it. They were still at least an hour away from me. It was then that I realized that my laptop had died on me. I had nothing but the greens in front of me, gradually springing to life with the frantic footsteps of the camera crew, eager to air the football match that was soon to happen.

Strangely, I was not sad at my predicament of an hour to be burned out… for then, I rediscovered the joy I always felt, when I was writing.

I freed myself from the constant ‘spell checks, word counts and thesaurus checks’ that had made my words plain mechanical. My notebook was once again filled with words that had cuts and bruises on them. My hands protested against the unfamiliar writing routine I was putting it through. Somehow, I felt happy, and I felt human.

Once again, it was that delicious race against time to transfer ideas onto paper, before they disappeared altogether. No one has ever called my handwriting neat. But at that point, I swear I felt that it was the best on the globe.

Though I don’t remember the first word I learned to write, I do remember the first word I spoke - ‘Am-ma’, which means ‘mother’ in my native tongue. I do remember the innumerable hours the lady so selflessly spent, to teach me to write and read. I do remember her gifting me my first ‘join-the-dots-yourself’ alphabet book. I do remember the joy I felt when I completed joining the dots, though I had no idea at the time that I had written what was my first few English alphabets.

Sometimes, in the darkness of my bedroom, when I am balancing myself between consciousness and a dreamless sleep, I rue my loss of the written word.

To own a computer was a childhood fantasy. I yearned to escape from the dirtiness of my written word and graduate to the tiny, neat, roman letters that appeared on screen whenever I gently tapped the white keyboard in front of me. For the 18-year-old boy who was me, it was a dream that led me on while growing up.

Now, two desktops and two laptops later, I yearn to return to the written word, fully knowing that it’s simpler said than done. Computers hold a charm for me no more. In the midst of a rapidly filling stadium, I understood that pen and a sheaf of paper were indeed my greatest friends.

Not to forget the written word was a lesson I learned while I grew up. Not to forget the written word will now be a lesson that I will learn never to forget.