Say it with colors12:31 PM
I have a confession, though at this point I am not sure it is one anymore. I have a thing for stationary supplies. Buy now you all know I am crazy about notebooks. But, what would notebooks be without pens?
I like to write in colors, a thing that stuck with me since my teenage years. Back in those days, we still learned the art of writing with a fountain pen in Switzerland. It was such an important thing that past a certain age in elementary school, kids are supplied with a standard issue Pelican fountain pen by the school. It was and I assume still is a big rite of passage. 3rd Standard meant we finally were going to be "big kids" and write with ink and a dignified tool. The teacher would set several hours a week aside to teach us the proper way to handle our classy pens and write beautiful cursive letters with it. Handwriting was an art.
The importance of having a perfect calligraphy was constantly stressed. In a country where sending thank you cards and penning wished on pretty stationary was of utmost importance, once had to learn these things.
Of course back then nobody ever heard of emails, SMS and Whatsapp. We wrote and kept the postal service very happy.
I of course have the worst possible handwriting when forced to write in cursive. I HATED those calligraphy session. My work was always sloppy and my letters stayed inequal in sizes. Fortunately, by the end of 5th Standard, I realised that the teacher no longer really cared how we wrote, and I got the chance to revert back to script letters. And because of it, my own handwriting style emerged. is it super dainty and pretty? Nope, absolutely not. But, it is easy on the eye and totally legible.
By the time I turned 12, another rite of passage came: going to Middle School. Transitioning from having only one teacher to teach us everything to having a teacher per topic and changing classrooms through the day. This means more change, more independence, going to a further away from your home school and feeling very grown up (teenagehood at its best!)
Back then, there was a sudden trend of owning as many fountain pens as you could, each with a different color of ink in them.
It was such a rage that even supermarkets, and stationary shops in town had stocked up on cheap pens, and ordered ink cartridges in every color possible from their suppliers. It was that HUGE a thing, I kid you not. And of course being a teen who wanted to stay "in", a fair chunk of my allowance went to fuel this trend. We all did it.
Beside, in Switzerland, presentation matters in your school work, and our course binders were actually graded once a term. Teachers expected clean worksheets, well penned notes, and rewarded people going the extra mile. This extra mile translated into demarcating paragraphs, titles and sections clearly. the use of different coloured pen came in super handy to achieve that. The presentation marked counted as much in the trimester average than the weekly tests and quizzes. So, it was all in our advantage to keep or study material super neat and good looking. The added bonus with this method was that because we took care to write in different colors, we also remembered the content better to prepare for exams.
The fountain pens trend was however short lived. It lasted a year. Mainly because it was impractical to carry such a big bulky load of pens, and that most of these cheap ones leaked into the pencil case creating a mess.
But writing in colors didn't go away, not one bit. The brand Stabilo was the first one that introduced fine liner pens in more than just the standard Blue, Red, Black and Green. It offered even more colors than the ink cartridge in the fountain pens did. And of course came at a fraction of the cost and were leak free (and don't get me started on the weight...much much lighter).
I was hooked, and had them for years after getting out of school. It made keeping my notes and diaries organized much simpler. Plus, you can't beat writing a holiday postcard in pink (seriously, you can't, unless it is turquoise, or purple....)
When I moved to India, I wrote with boring black pens for the longest time. Mostly because the stationary shops that were around had limited stock. And then because those who had them used to sell them in sets of 10 or so, making it quite an expense.
Until we shifted to Mumbai, and I found out that my favourite store was selling them as single units. The Stabilo from my youth, and the far more sophisticated and elegant looking Staedler brand. Elegant pens that I now keep picking in new colors whenever I feel like it. At 75 rupees a pen they aren't too costly for the avid diary and journal writer that I am.
Plus, it gives me warm fuzzies each time I pen something. I'm that creative, quiet teenager I was all over again. And, yes, it still helps me stay organized.