I was chatting with my fiance the other day and we were in the middle of our usual mudslinging sessions (“You jhuggi patrakaars” and “you dumb faujis“), when I realised one thing.
I constantly sought refuge in the “A pen is mightier than the sword” line, but I couldn’t remember the last time I saw a pen in my house. I don’t have one in my bag either. If I were to ask any of my colleagues in office for a pen, 13 out of 14 will say “sorry, I don’t have one”. Power of pen indeed!
See don’t think of us as lousy journalists just because we don’t carry pens. It all happened about two decades ago, when computer barged in on our lives and made itself comfortable in our living room. Now in 2012 it so happens that we can type faster than we can write. In fact I think the last time I actually wrote a full page (using a pen) was in my BSc. final year exam. My J-school insisted that all assignments and tests should be typed and given as printouts.
So now, we all go to tournaments (I am talking specifically about sports journalists) and make notes on our laptop. If we are interviewing a sportsman, we switch on our dictaphone or mobile phone’s recording application. Very rarely do we take out a notepad and a pen. One of my colleague lost three Parker pens a month after joining a leading newspaper office in New Delhi, and since then has vowed he won’t carry one.
I don’t think I have bought one for the last 3-4 years. I rely heavily on pens (and notepads) which we get in Press Conferences. Once the organisers of the Press Conference did not give us pens with the press release folder. Needless to say, I (or anyone else present there) did not take down any notes.
Oh and it’s actually a good thing that we don’t take down notes, because whatever we write has a shelf life of just 30 minutes. If we don’t start typing your story within those 30 minutes, chances are we won’t understand what we have written. Those pages transform into doctors’ scribble… no wait, at least a pharmacist understands those words.