ON THE AIRWAVES — By Lakshmi Kothaneth — The alphabets in any language are so beautiful. We forget all about them until we revisit this wonderful word to teach a young person to write. Then suddenly you remember the amazement you experienced when you were introduced to the beauty of letters and their sounds. I was fascinated with everyone who would write in running letters. How beautifully they wrote and expressed themselves. Now what they expressed I only knew after I learnt to read of course.
In the summer holidays my cousins, friends and I would write to each other. Just seeing the envelopes arrive would make my heart leap with excitement. Wanted to know eagerly what they were up to. Being in a boarding school meant waiting for their lovely letters full of encouragement. Somehow people expressed so much more in the letters. My father would send a bit of entertainment as well — cartoon strips from newspapers. My mother would sketch birds or animals on the envelopes. They could be swans or turtles. Somehow they made their presence felt even if I was kilometres away. Being attached to my grandfather I would sit and write a letter almost every day. Then being shy of the possible spelling mistakes I would tear them up or never post them.
Today of course the Word programme on the computer would take care of all that fear. But there is something so personal and beautiful when someone sits to write on a clean piece of paper and the words flow from the mind. You just know they are meant for you.
Just the other day a gentleman specialised in the computer world told me how the kids of today use calculators to do simple multiplication. We had calculators but they were not allowed in the classrooms. It was the time an electronic watch maker had introduced calculators on the wrist watches. It became the rage and everyone wanted one. But not in the classrooms. Thank God, because I think that generation of students still do simple mathematics without the assistance of a calculator.
Somehow human minds have proven the strength of its memory and application. I wonder if it is a good thing to overlook that factor even though our technology and discoveries are moving on such high speed. It is just not charming. Imagine how people in the ancient kept records? They remembered by practising it verbally. History was remembered through songs. Even if some people would have added a bit of their own imagination, the songs or poems remained to tell a story.
And later scribes recorded their history on tablets. Rocks carried the memories. People wanted to say they were there. And all that was possible because they learnt the art of letters. This knowledge is probably the best gift one can give to anyone. So here is a big thank you to the teachers of the world.