Friday 18 August 2017 News Updated at 10:08 AM IST
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Doodle all the way - Deccan Herald
Doodle all the way
Wg Cdr A N Verma (rtd)
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I feel foolish when I look back at the trepidation that I had before switching over to the laptop for all my writing. Bidding goodbye to good old pen and paper did not turn out to be as sentimental a journey as I had imagined.

Thanks to the horror stories of my geriatric friends, I used to imagine that monstrous laptops would appear in my nightmares. I would wake up shivering from the fear of having to use them. Tears shed during sleep, in fond memory of my Rs 2-ball points, would glisten on my cheeks when my spouse, disturbed from her peaceful slumber, would look at them. But nothing of the sort happened.

I had picked up a bit of typewriting in my uncle's office during summer vacations. A lawyer, he had a Remington typewriter. His typist invested some time in teaching me the basics. Once I became familiar with the quick brown fox who jumped over the lazy dog, he reaped good dividend by passing on some of his job to me to snatch a few minutes interlude himself.

Decades have passed since then. It was a pleasure to discover after this long gap that 10-finger typing like cycling, swimming and a few other deliciously unmentionable things, is not easily forgotten. The discovery that it wasn't too tricky to punch the keyboard to get neatly typed manuscripts, which could easily be attached to my mails to editors, gave me immense joy.

Equally thrilling was the ability to delete as much as I wanted, without a care for waste of paper. Cutting and pasting matter from one spot to another in the draft gave me the same sense of total freedom that a teenager would enjoy when left alone at home.

But there is no free lunch. I now miss my decades old habit of doodling whenever I had a pen/pencil in my hand and a sheet of paper in front of me. In all idle moments, including pauses in telephonic conversations, my fingers used to engage in scribbling, writing and drawing.

The doodles were quite meaningless though psychiatrists would discover images of the subconscious in them. Since it was done unconsciously, I can't claim that I doodled to derive pleasure from it. But my missing it now, proves that it gave pleasure like a favourite chair, missed most when not available.

I affectionately remember Bade Bhai Sahib (elder brother), the protagonist of an immortal story with the same title by legendary Hindi novelist Premchand. He was a tragic-comic character who had perfected the art of doodling in the margins of all his exercise books and textbooks. The description of these doodles in that story gives an amazing insight into the wonderful imagination that the great maestro Premchand was himself endowed with.

My only complaint with the laptop is that it denies me the simple pleasure of doodling that my pen and paper gave.