Monday, October 09, 2006

Cursive writer

This evening, just before calling it a day and heading home, me and one of my colleagues, N, started comparing our handwritings (don't even ask how we managed to land up there from a very work-related discussion). I joined my letters in a cursive hand while N used a combination of cursive and discrete letters.

N glanced at my writing and exclaimed, "Oh, that's so pretty!". Even though I know that my handwriting is just about average when compared to some very beautiful handwritings I have seen, I couldn't help but feel good.

For most of my school life, I studied in Chennai and Calcutta. The schools there were big and had lots of students. Thus, as long as the students were able to string words together correctly and put them on paper, the teachers did not really care too much about how pretty those words looked. So, other than occasionally admiring a friend or classmate's nice handwriting, I never gave much thought to how mine looked. The only concession I remember making in deference to "nice" handwriting was to use an ink pen as I noticed that it made my writing look better than when I wrote with a ball-point pen.

Then, in ninth standard, my dad got transferred to K which was not a city but rather a town. The convent school I joined was fairly new and my class had only 22 students. Ours would only be the second batch to write the tenth standard board exams from that school. The teachers were determined that everyone should do well. Hence each of us got individual attention.

One fine day, one of the teachers, Sister P, called me and told that while the teachers thought that the contents of my test papers were quite okay, they thought that my handwriting was quite bad. They were worried that my board-exam marks would suffer as a result. In short, she was politely telling that my handwriting looked like "kozhi-kirukkal" (kozhi-kirukkal refers to handwriting that looks as though a hen had dipped its feet into a pot of ink and then run across the paper - kozhi=hen, kirukkal=scribbles). What!?! No one had had any objections as to how I wrote for the first ten years of my school life - how on earth did it matter now!?!

Apparently, it mattered a lot. For, the next day, Sister P wanted me to go to the school bookstore to buy a four-ruled notebook. For those of you who don't know what a four-ruled notebook is: it is a notebook in which each page has sets of four lines grouped together. Kindergardeners use such notebooks to practise cursive handwriting. Sister P wanted me to practise cursive writing everyday in such a notebook.

I have never felt more embarassed and tried to talk my way out of it. But Sister P was determined. That evening, after school, Sister P wrote down the English alphabets for me in the notebook. I was supposed to copy them exactly many times. The irony of it all :-(! I don't remember doing such homework in kindergarden - I used to spend so much time playing then that mom had to literally hold my hand and scribble down my homework for me. And now God was having a very good laugh :-(!

Anyways, a couple of weeks later, I had graduated to a two-ruled notebook. And some more weeks later to a single rule notebook. At that point, the Sisters decided that my handwriting had reached passable - barely so, but it was okay. I was happy to finally get rid of the source of lots of leg-pulling at school. And even though I did not notice anything different myself, I decided that if the nuns said so, my handwriting must be looking better now (most of the nuns had such lovely handwritings - even their writings on the blackboard looked like calligraphy).

So board exams came and went. I scored pretty decently - I really could not say how my new and improved handwriting had contributed to it. But the nuns at my school felt good about making me give my best shot and I was guilt-free at not messing up (literally).

I thought that was that. But then something which had never happened to me before started happening: I started getting compliments about my handwriting. Not often or anything but regularly enough. Wow :-)! So my efforts did come with extra benefits!

Practise does lead to being at least decently okay at the practised thing, even if you were not born with it! N's compliment reminded me of this yet again :-)!


spark said...

i like this time zone. i get to comment first. handwriting has never been my good point, i just managed.

but so funny to read about your assignment so late in your school life. reminds me of DH who had to write the number 5 as imposition in class 10 cos the maths teacher didn't like his 5 without the top line. :-)

compliments howsoever untrue are always nice ;-)

Anonymous said...

I am jealous. My desk is covered with notes I have written but cannot decipher.

Anonymous said...

Lordy, I hate this new google Account way of sikgning in!!! It took me five tries to get that simple comment accepted. Bah!

faraari said...

that's so nice, i know the feeling :)

but unfortunately my handwriting has gone so bad that 3 weeks ago i discovered i have stopped reading my college notes because i simply can't decipher them anymore :(

that's when i begged my parents for a laptop to take to classes with me. which looks cool to my friends but that's just because i was too embarrassed to tell them the reason for it. and now your post reminded me once again :((

maybe i should go back to practicing too...?

Saranya Kishore said...

Yeah new post! :--) [You know your post drive away my Monday morning blues :--)]
One advantage of studying in a convent, they teach you cursive writing!
I studied in a convent for precisely two years, LKG and UKG. Have written the capital cursive letters over and over in four line ruled notebook. :--) Not to flaunt, I developed a good cursive hand since then, without my knowledge. I used to write in 'running handwriting' as we kids used to call it quite fluently even after joining some other schools later and boy! were my classmates jealous of my handwriting :--))
Sadly nowadays I rarely write, though I love writing with a pencil in a notebook.

Sparkie didnt have to bring DH in here, ;--), I make up for his kozhi kirukkal writing!

PRIDERA said...

Thats a strange coincidence that I was given the "Improve your handwriting.. or your board exam exams will suffer" warning when I was in 9th. Interestingly, I had studied in convent until 8th and no one would ever complain about my handwriting. I really took it as a challenge to change my handwriting when in 9th and did succeed in improving !
Its a different story that, working on computers for a while now, I may soon forget writing with a pen :(

Archana said...

Spark - :-))! LOL :-D - un pathi example kudukaama romba daaralama DH pathi example :-D! Hmm, that reminds me actually my Maths teacher once made me write '8' multiple times because she did not like the way I wrote it! I know - compliments make me feel good :-)!

Floridora - :-D - maybe you should also get a four-ruled notebook and start practising :-P! Hmm, these days it really does not matter! I saw that your blog had shifted to blogger beta - I like the tag concept but looks like the rest of it is not too great :-O!

Faraari - :-)! Did the laptop request work out? If only my bad handwriting had gotten me a laptop instead of daily homework on a four-ruled notebook :-(!

Saranya - LOL - thank you :-)! Lucky you :-)! You learnt your cursive writing at the right age - I am not surprised you have a good handwriting! Sometimes I love writing in a notebook too - it feels gooood! I guess I should let you and Spark fight it out ;-P!

Pridera - Now, that IS a coincidence :-)! Looks like dawn of wisdom about handwritings happen to many teachers only before board exams :-D! I know, nowadays need for any kind of writing with hand seems to be almost non-existent!

The Kid said...

You know what they say, "people with bad handwriting have good character like MK Gandhi..." you must be one shady character then, Madamossaile! ;p

Archana said...

The Kid - ada paavi :-(! Note that I started off with a bad handwriting - so maybe I do have some good character after all ;-P! Wait a minute, who IS the "they" who said this? Pratap :-P?

Anonymous said...

Kozi kirukal - sounds like u were in mallu land. Frm my experience I have learnt that mallus are huge on handwritings. As a kid, dad (a fellow mallu) used to make me and Veena write one page of 4 line in the morning and one in the evening. It used to be so mad at him as none of our friends had to do it. Now when I look at the end result - I am happy.

Archana Bahuguna said...

:-) Cursive handwriting in 10th std, vow! that must be a world record. :-) I am sure the teachers just made a fuss out of a small thing, but the hard work just paid you in return :-). And you must be one hard working girl, you did it too! :-) Was a good read.

But, once you are out of school, I think non one really cares at all about your handwriting, unless its completely illegible.

I supposedly have a decent handwriting; havnt got complemented in ages. :-( :-(

Prabhu said...

My handwriting also has the tendency of being legible when I write it with an ink-pen. So, exams only ink-pen with 4-5 different sketches for underlining :)

Thank goodness I didnt have to start writing ABC when I am 12 years old...

Shilpa said...

Well no one bothered about my handwriting and its as bad as it i just resort to using capital letters hehehehe.

R.E.B.E.L said...

Improve your handwriting.. or your board exam exams will suffer -- If you are anywhere in India you get this warning.. They threaten you in such a way that your entire life were depended on how good your handwriting was and what colors you used on paper to make it attractive!

But, a good handwriting is always something anyone is proud of.. I believe it is the best compliment anyone can pay me.. I remember way back when cursive writing was initially taught, my mom used to write on the notebook and asked me write over it.. That's how I learnt to write neatly..

itchingtowrite said...

wish someone had taken the pains for me! my handwriting is quite bad.. i sudn't say it is not readable but not upto the mark at all! nice post - well written

Inder said...

four-lined ruled notebook homework in class 10!? that is tragic :P

my handwriting slants towards left. now i am too old to change my handwriting :D

Archana said...

Thanu - The Sisters in that school were all from mallu land :-) - I did not know mallus used "Kozhi kirukkal" term too! Certain things which seem like torture in childhood pay off so well later!!

Archana - Sob :-(! Actually I did not have much choice in the matter - I *had* to do it because the teachers said so! Thats true - a good handwriting is mostly just for personal happiness I guess! Ah, post a sample of your handwriting and me shall compliment you 0:-D!

Prabhu - Ink pens work wonders, na? I never knew this use of sketch-pen for underlining concept (I just used to underline with the ink pen) till I went to K! Actually, close to age 14 is more like it :-(!

Shilpa - :-))! I think schools usually don't care in big cities!

r.e.b.e.l - Thats true :-)! Maybe somebody should actually do a study on how much of an effect a good handwriting has in getting good marks! Nice for you - you started learning at an early age :-))!

Itchingtowrite - Thank you :-)! As long as the handwriting is legible, I guess it should be fine!

Inder - Thanks for rubbing it in X-(! Ah, its never too late you know. You just need to get hold of someone who will train you with a four-lined notebook :-P!

artnavy said...

Good Sister P. Wonder what she would have said if she had seen mine.

My hubby has a really beautiful handwriting but it is almost illegible- LOL

So good handwriting should mean-
legible first , then beautiful/ stylish .

kuttichuvaru said...

ungalukku parava illa.... ennoda handwritin was called kozhi kirukkify with the left leg!! if tat was my case, my bro is actually a leftie.... donno wat his was called :-)

but I wasnt made to write cursive writin!! donno if tats gud or bad!!

Anonymous said...

handwriting and the boards...
hmm..i think you will to know that the things are same in schools now..
"write have a nice style and good language but bad hand writing im concerned abt your boards"....
my hand writing i think is the worst only i can read it... nobody else can..thogh thats an advantage sometimes..

Life Lover said...

I hated handwriting comparisons in school! I remember mine improving after 8th grade, dunno how that happened :) now again, they have started to worsen, blame the keyboard!! :)

Harish said...

Wow...cute...reminds me of a time when my handwriting was also good.I even used to write in my college blackboard. at times even i cant read what i have written :-(

anita said...

There is this guy in our office who writes in a size 2 font. The first time someone saw his handwriting he thought it was an ink spill on the page. It would have been very funny but for the fact this guy is supposed to make important remarks on an important report, I find it difficult countersigning since I can never make out whether he has written 'temporary overdraft. will be cleared in two days' or 'heading towards bankruptcy.let us call back our loans'. We have all told him to practice handwriting.

Archana said...

Artnavy - that is so true! Legibility comes first, unless and otherwise its calligraphy :-))!

Kuttichuvaru - LOL :-D! Well, if you are not getting compliments for your handwriting now, then it is a bad thing :-P!

iamvisheshur - I guess teachers sometimes do stop reading answers due to not being able to comprehend it and wind up giving an average score (good thing if you had not studied for the exam). In that case, yes ...!

Rujul - Wow - automatic improvement - that's great! I know - my handwriting is slowly going back to the dogs :-(!

Harish - Wow! You used to one of those people who used to write on the blackboards for special ocassions? Too cool!

Sindu - LOL :-D! Have you started him off on his cursive writing practise yet??