Somewhere after my Class X exams, I attended typewriting classes. I found it strange that I had to repeatedly punch asdfgf;lkjhj and then later qwertrpoiuyu and so on. I never could imagine why on earth those letters were placed that way anyway — I mean, how could anyone ever write sensibly with those letters thrown about that way? I especially hated the fact that the ‘a’ was always lighter on the typewritten sheet (since it was typed with the little finger of the left hand). I always tried my best to give the ‘a’ a stronger stroke. And the noise! Oh God! The noise a typewriter is capable of making! One had to hit the keys hard to produce a good impression on paper. And the noise each time one reached the end of the line (for a carriage return)! I wonder now, how it was ever possible to actually think while typewriting. Maybe it was not! As I graduated to typing sentences, the rule was to have once space after a comma and two spaces after a full stop. There was also no distinction between an en dash and an em dash. So usually, we had to punch the hyphen twice to get a near approximation. Imagine the day when I got to typing ‘The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs’! In any case, typewriting and I never really were best of friends. I preferred to put pen to paper any day.
Then came the cyber revolution. I resisted this move to Word processors for quite a while. Initially, I could never think and type on the keyboard or even type and think for that matter. I drafted the stuff on paper and then moved it to a ‘soft’ copy. Slowly, painfully slowly, I was able to think and type and type and think. It was a whole new world of the backspace and the delete. And best of all, one did not have to punch the keys as hard like on the good old typewriter. Ah! I was actually beginning to enjoy technology! I marveled at the using the ^B to make words and sentences bold and how easy it was to move text around. These days we have hundreds of fonts to choose from and with a click of a few buttons here and there we can improve the look and feel of any seemingly dull document. I admit I no longer am a fan of putting pen to paper. My handwriting sucks!