Things we take for granted now, like the ubiquitous A4 paper!

As I drove to work this morning, I saw two young men outside one of the those small standalone offices by the road. They were talking to each other, but what struck me was that both of them were folding pieces of A4 paper and putting them away. My mind flashed back to my childhood. Both my parents were academicians and our house was filled with those thin longer than A4 papers that came out of typewriters. Also those pista green sarkari papers with a blue margin line running one side.

Our childhood was filled with all manner of different types of stationery to write on. From the regular ruled notebooks to one side blank and one side ruled notebooks, to checked ones to long notebooks (register!) etc. We rarely used loose sheets of paper. Even drawings were usually made in drawing books of some kind. Or on one-side used papers that parents painstakingly got bound for us to scribble on.

A4 sheets aren't just used to write and draw! In a pilot's home, they get used for this!

A4 sheets aren’t just used to write and draw! In a pilot’s home, they get used for this!

A4 paper was a luxury back then. I remember teachers cribbing about how early they have to set exam papers because the ‘cyclostyle’ machine (ha!) would need to be free to make copies. Today the photocopy machine rules the roost and A4 paper is easily (but not freely we must remember) available. A lot of the work done by kids are not not in notebooks but on worksheets. The idea of working on loose pieces of paper floating around sort of bothers me, but it’s normal now even for adults in workplaces to pull an A4 out of the printer in the middle of a discussion without bothering to look for a notebook or diary to do the same.

Language of youth. These two participants of a Jan 2013 workshop in Delhi, one from a low-income settlement in Delhi and the other from Univ of Wisconsin are sharing music through the earphone! It;s a new world all right!

Language of youth. These two participants of a Jan 2013 workshop in Delhi, one from a low-income settlement in Delhi and the other from Univ of Wisconsin are sharing music through the earphone! It;s a new world all right!

This train of thought made me think about how many things we use nowadays were rare, expensive and exclusive items just a few years ago. Like earphones! Very few could afford portable music playing devices before, but now with mobile phones being ubiquitous, you see wires coming out of people’s ears wherever you go!

Life is changing and changing fast. Sometimes, It’s good to think back to what it was like before. No judgements, just nostalgia!

About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on December 3, 2013, in Personal and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I use diaries with either perforated margins or spiral bound sheetsso that i can tear pages off.. nothing against A4, it’s just more comfy and easy to use a diary.

  2. Hi Mukta, Nicely written. Took me to my childhood. Its true that things have changed. But as i always say the only thing constant is the change and we need to adapt to those changes. May be for the good or the bad!!
    I still remember my childhood days collecting diaries of various companies so that i can use it as my notebook. Its not that we don’t have notebooks, but diaries was a luxury then. Not everyone got diaries and when we hold that it gives us a sense of supremacy. But nowadays i see kids preferring A4 as well. There are many things from the past which when look back makes us to smile and it’s that smile which is precious.!!

  3. I made a recent foray into Gurgaon Sadar Bazaar to look for the textbook street near the Hanuman Mandir. As the shop assistant was foraging for my list, I struck the usual chit-chat with the malik. Took no time at all to find the Lko connection – and this is some of the trivia I gathered. 1000 boxes of only JK A4 (each with 5 reams) are consumed in Gurgaon alone – and there are many other brands too!!!!

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