Sunday, March 08, 2009

My pencil is the longest

It’s such a great feeling when you realize something for yourself rather than having someone else tell you about it. Don’t you agree?

An old example I can give is, when I was about 6, and I realized I could ride a bike, I went up to my parents and told them I can ride a bicycle. That felt so much better than all those other times someone else was trying to teach me how to ride a bike and probably went, “This is how you do it. There! you can now ride a bicycle!” Right now, all I can think is, “Shut up! You know nothing! I’ll tell you when I can ride a cycle.” Because I feel that’s so true. The time Arjun bhaiya tried to teach me how to ride a cycle in Akola, sure I rode my little cycle without training wheels for a few minutes, maybe an hour or two at the most. But I went back to the training wheels like a day later.

This time, my epiphany occurred when I was working on my portfolio between 12-3 am on 2nd March. I had sweaty palms like I always do when I am under stress. I had to keep a scrap piece of paper under my palm and the paper I was drawing on so I don’t end up wrinkling or smudging it. Even if I had to hold it down with my other hand, I had to make sure to keep my fingers dry or it would end up wetting the paper, sticking my fingers to the paper and all that crap. This wasn’t the least of my problems. At all the places where the paper had gotten wet from my palms, I couldn’t get the lines really dark.

Just when you think you know where this is going.. haha.. Have you ever seen a pencil only one inch long? I have. Maybe even less than 1 inch. In my school, up until 4th grade, before we were allowed to use a fountain pen instead of a pencil, we would run through boxes of them very fast. It was not just due to the writing, dropping, breaking and sharpening but also loosing. Yeah, I was a very careless absent minded little boy. :) The ones that I didn’t loose, I would stop using after they got shorter beyond a particular point. SO short that they didn’t rest on the fleshy part of the hand between the thumb and the forefinger. One, I found that very uncomfortable for extended periods of writing. And two, okay, this is making me laugh, because we would always want to be the one with the longest pencil. (Do you get the subliminal context here? ;) This is an instinct that I think men are born with.)

Wait, I digress. The short pencils that I discarded, would end up in mom’s storage. One by one, She would use these pencils for writing her grocery lists, recipes, etc. sharpening them and still using them till they were really, really tiny! She has always been very resourceful like that. And I sometimes end up feeling bad I am not the same way.

Well, while the other instinct stayed, I stopped caring about long pencils for some reason. Maybe I wasn’t using them enough to notice this. Or I just wasn’t using them in a way that would prompt me to think how short pencils are a big NO-NO. (I remember Pranav telling me about this when I was back in India this summer.) Situation: Sweaty palms, smooth glossy coating on the pencil that just get 10 times more slippery when wet and pencil too short to rest on my fleshy part (anyone know what it is called?) I was down to my last two blue pencils. Both having been sharpened, dropped, and re-sharpened a multitude of times. (Damn why are these col-erase pencils so fucking delicate?)

I decided I couldn’t work like this and I just HAD to get a new pencil, and a pencil holder/extender for times like this when the pencil suddenly got too short to hold comfortably. At about 5 am, I decided to throw in the towel(paper?pencil?) for the night and get some sleep. Wake up when the bookstore re-opens and buy the darn pencil extender. Even if it was going to cost me 6 dollars! I knew I won’t regret it. That night, I used my short pencil to finish my portfolio. I haven’t sharpened it after the last time it broke. I am just wondering if I should leave it like that forever or use it down to one inch?


  1. i didn't even know pencil extenders existed !!

  2. I'm addicted to the clicky-tops ! .. The shavings of the pencils ur talking about make me go sick .. But i assume, you have to use these for ur drawings it ?

  3. I don't have to use these. A lot of students use mechanical pencils.. I just find these much more sturdy, economical, and I'm just very used to these.

  4. "clicky-tops" .. it was called "pen-pencil" when i was in school !!!