The Aladdin's Cave

Hi, thanks for stopping by! The dictionary defines the idiom “The Aladdin’s Cave” as “a collection of interesting and beautiful objects”. Likewise, my website is a potpourri where you can browse and read from a variegated collection of articles on sundry subjects. Be prepared to stumble upon pieces ranging from noodles to analytics and from novels to friendships. Like what you read? Thanks a ton for being such a sweetheart. Don’t find it up to the mark? Well, blame it on back-breaking expectations ;) Jolly Reading!

Writing With Pencils

It’s still the first half of the first month, which means it isn’t too late to wish all my readers a very happy new year! I wish you all loads of joy and peace and happiness, and sincerely hope that you will stick to your new resolutions for a little while longer. I also hope the same for myself, though it is becoming increasingly difficult not to find excuses to dismiss each and every old and new resolution. Nevertheless, one of my many 2016 vows is to write more frequently, and I invite you all to be the judge for this one 🙂

Now let me get back to writing something that justifies the title of this post. Gunjan has a growing concern with me using pencils for the draft posts that I write – he worries that when I author a book of my own, I will have to do a hell lot of typing to digitize all the words that would have got transferred from my heart (or muddled brain?) to paper. Notice that he says “when I author a book” instead of saying “if I EVER author a book”. But let us forgive him for this astoundingly ambitious belief. Both his confidence and concern stem from a very strong and genuine affection, and we can’t charge a fellow for a crime of the heart, can we? 😉

But even though I find his concern extremely endearing, I know for a fact that this Herculean digitization task is not gonna bother me in the near future or in the distant one for that matter. How I wish it would – but where are the words and the plot and the characters? Oh, just where? 🙁 Anyway, grieving and ranting about my cluelessness is for another post. This one is for discussing some of the many merits of using a pencil for putting one’s thoughts on paper.

  • Reminiscent of Childhood – Even though this is not a prioritized list (yes, I was careful to use bullets instead of numbers!), I will go ahead and admit that for me, just this one certainly trumps them all. It’s one of the things that will always keep you connected to the most carefree time of your life. Plus, there is also the added hope of being able to write freely, just like a child, without  worrying too much about the vocabulary and the grammar and the world – not while drafting, at the very least. You can go nuts and scrawl all that comes to your mind, and save the sophisticated filters for later use.
  • Very forgiving – Ah, a pencil is one of the most non-punitive devices when used in conjunction with the classic ‘undo’ button – the trusted eraser. Right? Unless and until you’ve managed to tear away the paper with some ferocious erasing, you can always give it another try. After all, not all of us can get it right the first time.
  • Takes you off the grid – We live in an age where people first spend a hefty sum to buy all the latest and greatest gadgets and then spend some more to attend digital detoxification sessions that aid them in disconnecting with the electronics they bought earlier. In this crazy world of incessant clicking/flicking/gaming/chatting/emailing/reading/watching etcetera, sitting down with a piece of paper and a writing instrument (that doesn’t have any kind of internet connection) is like attending a free digital cleansing session. With no blinking distractions and stubborn notifications vying for your attention, you will be able to focus on your thoughts  and get something worthwhile on that paper.
  • Private notes – It is the perfect gear for penning down awful drafts that only you can decrypt – just write very lightly and nobody will be able to decipher what those curls and swirls mean. For example, if you would have looked at the paper draft for this post, it might have seemed to you that I had indulged in some heavy-duty doodling over a few pages. Yes, it is almost like your chicken scratch is naturally encrypted, and your familiarity with your own scribble is the key to decrypt this code. What a relief it is to know that nobody can judge you for composing scummy drafts!

Even though I just love the wooden pencils jauntily sporting their cute little eraser hats, I try to minimize their use and instead employ the plastic ones for writing. I suppose that sticking to a couple of plastic ones will do the environment less damage than callously sharpening away a forest, one tree at a time.

Hey, I was going to wrap up this post now but reading through the above bullet points again, I feel like taking a philosophical detour for a bit, and see if I can pull it off. So here are a few rhetorical questions for all of us. Is there some merit in taking a leaf out of our trusted pencil’s book? Would it be a happier world if we could be a little less judgmental/punitive with those around us? Is it possible for us to be a tad more rewarding to bring out the best in other people, just like our humble pencil? Well, let’s employ some of these practices in our lives and find out for ourselves!

Happy Scribbling, Friends! 🙂

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30 Comments

  1. @Mary: Thank you so much for taking out the time to read this post and for your kind words! You know, we were introduced to pens in our 5th grade too, and there certainly was a lot of excitement around pens then! 🙂 I’ll take inspiration from you and strive to wrote more and more. And I am really, really looking forward to reading some very interesting posts on your blog about your adventurous India trip 🙂 You have to visit us soon so that the two of you can regale us with all the stories! 🙂

  2. @Pragya: Haha, here comes my fuming little reader! <3 I love how confidently you talk in superlatives - especially because I know that you mean it even when it isn't true at all 😉 Thanks for your blind love, girl! And you don't have to worry about digital detoxification - I have seen you ignoring messages by the scores, back in college..so keep it up! 😀 Loads of love!

  3. A great piece, Meenakshi! It reminded me of grade school days, and how it was only in 5th grade that we switched to writing in pens…and then, eventually, switched to typing. I find that writing in a journal first is worth the extra time it takes to transfer the writing to a blog post. You’re right that it’s easier to be carefree, and to just write whatever you’re thinking if you’re using a pencil (or pen) and paper. I hope you keep up your new year’s resolution of writing frequently, because I really enjoy your posts!!! I’ll try to keep to the same resolution, and post lots of stories from my recent trip to India. 😀

  4. It is not fair that everyone has already read and commented while I was busy doing nothing useful. Very beautifully written. Again:) Really loved the terms ‘Digital detoxification’ and ‘Heavy-duty doodling’. The last para defines you-the most beautiful and genuinely sweet person on this earth.:) we all wish you a Happy New Year.

  5. @Surbhi Di: It is really wonderful to see you here, Surbhi di! 🙂 I am really happy that you read and liked this post. You are absolutely right – pencil was our best friend in childhood and it still remains one of my best friends today 🙂 Yes, iPads and cell phones are really poor replacements for papers and pencils, and am very happy to know that Pakhi uses and loves her pencils! I hope you enjoy some other articles too 🙂
    Thanks for you comment!

  6. This was so nostalgic mishi… Almost reminded me of the time when pencil was our best friend… Now mobile , iPads have taken over… And now pakhi just adores her pencil… Time has really changed 🙂

  7. @Preethi: It is simply wonderful to see you here! Yep, always a fan of the light-hearted, aren’t we both? 🙂 Can’t comment on the book part, but I hope to write more to make my readers smile 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

  8. @Saniya: Hello girl, welcome to the blog! 🙂 It makes me happy to know that I could make my dear friends like you smile with this post! 🙂 Thanks for all the compliments and encouragement, dear.

  9. @Michelle: You have given me all the more reasons to stick with my mighty and trusted pencil! This was a very interesting read. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, dear! 🙂

  10. Nicely written Mishi..:) Pencils are my choice too! eagerly waiting for your book 😉 sure you will do a grt job.. keep the light-hearted posts coming 🙂

  11. @Nilanjana: Hi Nilu, thank you so much for reading and commenting here! 🙂 You, of all people, can appreciate what it takes for me to overcome my laziness and finalize and publish this post :):) Glad this made you smile…and will definitely keep them coming! 🙂

  12. @Aanchal: Welcome to the blog, dear! I am delighted to see you here! Haha, I too chuckled while using that phrase to describe very bad handwriting (like mine)! 😀 Thanks a lot for your support! 🙂

  13. @Shikhi: Hey Shiks, you really are a dear to be so appreciative of anything that I write and to provide so much encouragement! 🙂 I will certainly keep writing for super adorable friends like you! <3

  14. @Rachita: Hey dear, it’s you who made my day with your lavish compliments! Thank you for being so prompt and supportive, and for all the faith that you put in me! I feel really lucky to have such a loyal reader in such a dear friend. Lots of love!

  15. @Vasu: Ah, here comes the deluge of praise!! 😛 Instead of wondering and marvelling, you ought to start penning down some articles for us to read 🙂 So happy you loved this one so much – and can’t thank you enough for always being there to share my pains and plans related to writing or anything else! <3 Lots of love!

  16. @Deepali: Why so shy (to post as anonymous)? 😀 ‘Mishu’ gave you away though! 😉 Thank you so much for reading and commenting, and for your constant encouragement!

  17. @Kamni: Hey dear, thanks for reading and commenting. Wow, you write a journal? Highly impressed! Waiting for you to revive your blog soon 🙂

  18. @Shelly Bhabhi: Hi Bhabhi, I am so glad to see you here and very happy that you liked this post! Haha, congratulations on your multitasking skill and lots of kisses to Kim! <3 I hope she will read Bua's articles once she grows up 🙂

  19. @Meenal Di: Wow, what a heap of praise! <3 Thank you so much, di! Yes, at the risk of sounding extremely boastful, I will admit that the iron post is one of my favorites too! 🙂 Countless colorful and exciting pencils from our childhood came to my mind when I wrote this. And also the cute and vibrant erasers of different shapes that you used to get for me...special mention for the erasers in the shape of golf clubs and a golf ball!! It was such a pretty set that I never used it 😀 Loads of love to you too!

  20. Wow Mishi.. It’s amazing. Loved the way how simply you have expressed the stuff. It was entertaining yet thoughtful. I agree with Rachi and Gunjan, the day is not far. 🙂

  21. Additionally, writing in pencil lends itself to better doodling, which itself has many benefits! Here’s to the mighty pencil! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/17/doodling-benefits_n_7572182.html

  22. Mishi it is always a pleasure to read your blog! I was constantly smiling while reading this cute little blog. Great work!! Would love to read more of these! 😊😊

  23. Amazing article Mishi!! I smiled when I read “curls and swirls” phrase. How beautifully you have captured such a simple action. I really loved this article. Keep writing and your book won’t be too far 😘

  24. You wrote about pencil! I must say another unusual topic and so beautifully written.I hope what Gunjan feels happens soon and we get to read your book 🙂 Till then..keep writing 🙂

  25. Pencil when I first read the topic I was curious ki kya ho sakta hai isse article.. It z soo interesting yet soo thoughtful.. U can’t deny even I agree with Gunjan & I’m sure many would… I simply loved the last section.. Digital cleansing haha very out of box thinking… Thanks again..Love u😘 U made my day😍😍

  26. Aaa ! First the iron and now a pencil ..I keep marvelling at how you infuse life into the most inanimate and mundane ,the dullest of objects!It is amazing, to say the least. I especially love how you could learn and also impart such useful life values ,so effortlessly and beautifully …:D proud,proud ,VERY proud !! :* 😀

  27. Awesome Mishu.. And I too hope like Gunjan to read ur book someday 🙂

  28. totally agree with you. Even I use a pencil to write my daily journal and I love it 🙂

  29. Very beautiful piece of writing Mishi. Good work.
    Read the article while putting Kimaya to sleep. Dual purpose solved.

  30. Ok I genuinely smiled…how can you write so beautifully…a humble subject like a pencil can be written about so refreshingly…this and the post describing iron back in your college days are my fav ones.
    The thoughts behind this post not only reflect your beautiful writing skills but also show the beautiful soul you have…finding goodness and positivity in the smallest of things…loads of love.

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