Tuesday, January 19, 2021
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The Pen Versus The Mouse

By Goutam Shankar

An oft repeated topic that has been discussed, deliberated upon but continues to rake the brains unnecessarily when groups of nitwits in parks, tea stalls, clubs, bars and offices dig up this topic and give it a go when thereis no other subject of greater human value to while away the seemingly endless moments of ennui.

Amidst all the jargon, babble and wit-teasers, this unholy tribe that even debates the existence of tea
in a tea cup, forgets that be it the electronic media or the sturdy print counterpart, one has to print alphabets, words and sentences for the intended reader, either on the computer or on a jot pad.

So the term ‘print’ can never be done away with unless the era of writing tangibly in the air arriOne cannot deny the fact that the several mothers of several inventions have ensured the progressively ves with the reincarnated versions of Sophocles, Pedophiles and Mephiles.

Indefinite forward march of intricate electronic gadgets with indecipherable operational values and unfathomable intents.

The computer is one such friendly neighborhood Spider Man. Meant to pep up the mental abilities and conceptual skills of users, this ‘by the minute’ updated gadget has been a great boon to mankind and other mediocre mammals and reptiles but the craving for print on paper remains adamantly stable.

That is why Niren Babu waits for his morning Daily that accompanies him to the early morning tea table and then on to the potty zone to ensure the completion of one cycle of the digestive system.

True again that epapers, emagazines, Kindle and like pedigrees of the electronic genre are on an emphatic march on the up-swinging popularity graph but the growing craving for newspapers, magazines and books has not diminished.

Book Fairs across the national and international terrains continue to see the advent of new publications
and readers, both, compulsive and casual, who throng these grounds of printed wonders that have the pervading aroma of addiction written all over.

During one of my many annual forays to the hallowed rounds of Jamshedpur Book Fair, I met Asish Chowdhury, the secretary of Tagore Society that organizes this annual extravaganza.

He was taking a look around the Fair grounds. Gazing proudly across the stalls doing brisk business, he observed, “You know, there are many who have started doubting the longevity of the print media.

But look at the crowds of the young, old and kids in their initial school days. They provide a reassurance for book lovers who love to turn the pages and smell the exquisite aroma of print on paper.

“Many journalists and writers prefer to compose in the pen and paper format before transferring these creations on to the computer pages. “I love to write and write with my pen.

It gives me a thrill, a confidence. I simply cannot express the ethereal joy when my pen glides over paper,” says popular media person Shankar Agarwal.

Late writer and dramatist Dipak Chattopadhyay had once remarked, “A writer translates his mental concepts
through words. Right from our childhood till now, we have seen and encountered advents that ensure more quality in briefer time.

Computer and its extraordinary abilities constantly improve human capacities and capabilities.

Writers and journalists are taking to this electronic medium but certainly not as ducks to the water.

They dispatch their work through this medium that ensures quicker delivery. But these concepts, especially in case of creative writers, are second or third resorts for forwarding purposes.

As I said, the meantal translation is done on paper with the pen.” Rajendra Bhagat, a compulsive reader stated, “We hear and see TV news on several channels. Some are vivid.

Some are detailed. But all are news. But I have to got through two or three newspapers to satisfy myself with
news on local, regional, national and international events.

Electronic media cannot satisfy the hunger for information in a manner that the print media does. The book stables, otherwise known as libraries, are not heritage sites but pilgrimage destinations where print devotees continue to pay unobtrusive obeisance to the time machines that creates an indelible, printed link among yesterday, today and tomorrow.

At the end of the day, after hours of mechanical hammering on the computer key board, what can be more relaxing than a cup of tea and a book sans the wife, for company?

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