Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Anachronism

I would definitely not get an award for keeping my desk clean. Leave alone an award; I wouldn't even be worth an honorable mention. Not for me the spic'n'span, clean and spotless-looking desk. As far as I am concerned, the only place for such a desk is in an IKEA store (or its equivalent) from where I would probably be tempted to buy one. Once it becomes a work desk, it has to reflect the work being done. And more importantly it has to reflect the character of the person using it. My desk might look like a junkyard miniaturized to fit a table top but what it actually is, is ordered chaos. Just like me. I think!!!

Coming back to that desk, I say ordered chaos because I know exactly how many layers of dust and papers to shift, to lay my hands on the bill from the petrol pump that I got last month and know exactly which angle to attack the junkyard from, to easily extricate that favorite tee-shirt. However, today when I was in the process of excavating the site to get to my pen, I made a surprising find. Next to the pen I was interested in, lay this object that brought back memories. Considering the fact that I am still only 27, I can not say that these are memories from childhood. But they were nevertheless memories of what now looks like an era bygone.

So what was it that I found which sent me down memory lane? Well, it was a fairly well used pencil. Not the new, plastic bodied, mechanical contraption. It was a good, old, well-chewed stub of hexagonal wood with a stick of lead sticking out from the center. Am not sure how it found its way onto my desk and into my pile of rubble but this sort of unexplained, intrusive presence in my junk is not wholly un-expected. Anyway, the sight of that stub, about the size of my little finger, took me back to the time when I used to carry them by the dozen just because I refused to use a pen. This was, by the way, when I was in college studying for my engineering degree. I had to use a pencil for all my drawing classes and I decided I was too lazy to keep shifting from one type of stylus to another. But for the threat that my answers would not be graded, I would have used the pencil in my exams as well. That memory led to another one, from a time period which actually corresponds to when I was a kid. It had me facing my mom with a silly grin on the face. Usually kids with silly grins look cute. Trouble was my mom didn't think that way on that day. I still suspect that my blackened-with-pencil-lead tongue and teeth had something to do with the way my mom reacted but that has not been confirmed till date. With these specifics from my past, came the memory of the advice I got somewhere along the way - 'If you are hungry, have lunch. Not the pencil.'

These days I don't find much use for a pen, leave alone a pencil. Now, I just go clikety-clak, clikety-clak on the keyboard, get a print out and I have my document ready. And in a scenario like this, the sight of the anachronistic pencil made me realize that I need to pick one up and start writing on paper before I reach the stage where writing starts to look like an alien art form.

No comments: