Click in hand, let us fight the pandemic – Harsh Gagwani
The pandemic has impacted us in a thousand different ways, mostly negative. None of us wanted to, or liked the way we were forced to remain indoors during the lockdown, forcing us to cope up with the attendant problems, to redesign our lifestyles to adjust them to what is being now called the “new normal”.
For those of us who are associated with manufacturing, the sudden forced closure; the long period of inactivity that followed, and the gradual, painful steps to reach the stage where we had left things, is a definitely uphill, if not a downright impossible task, which I am sure, the readers will understand. Production and delivery schedules have gone for a toss; opportunities have been lost; resources have depreciated while interests have added up and carefully drawn-up plans, often the fruits of many years have been laid waste. As a matter of fact, most skilled labourers who were forced to leave for their native places are yet to return and we are still far away even from where we had left.
Naturally, the impact on the mental health of everyone involved has been a terrible one. What if the virus attacks me? What if I were to lose my employment or my means of sustenance? What if I were to lose my near or dear ones? What does the future have in store for me? When will this darkness pass and a new dawn break? Depression and mental angst have been our constant companions, and even the most mentally robust among us have felt helpless at times, sucked in by the dark forces of despair. These have been, as I was reading somewhere just the other day, the most psychologically depressing times, for most people around the world, us Indian included.
Now imagine the plight of our children. We grown-ups can at the least think rationally, force us to think positive, but the children? Imagine the plight of children cooped in like birds in a cage, away from their friends and schools, forced indoors? Imagine the kind of mental anguish that they have had to bear with. What is worse, most of them were not even capable of voicing their concerns, of seeking outlets to release the pressures that built up inside.
At Click we too were impacted, as a business, but more so as a responsible corporate citizen, devastated by the plight of our users – young and old alike. We were devastated, but we were also encouraged by the fact that most experts we had talked to, told us that the fountain pen can be used as a potent tool to combat depression, that the pen had the power to act as a catharsis, to help the depressed let off the steam, to use the inherent creativity of the mind to fight against the dark clouds of despair. We hadn’t wasted any time and the month long Click Handwriting Competition was the result, which was deliberately kept open for all, so that more entries could come in, more importantly, more people could pick up the pen to fight their own battles.
Prof K C Janardhan, the Maestro, who is also associated with an NGO that uses the fountain pen to fight against suicidal tendencies among our youth, lent our effort his unstinted support from the very beginning and it was with his knowledge and expertise that the competition rules were drawn up and conducted. The response, frankly speaking, was beyond our expectation and at Click, we were literally overwhelmed by the sheer number of entries – not to mention the quality of work – that were received. A big thank you from all of us at Click pens.
Now that the vaccine is promising that a new dawn is about to break, academicians, psychological counsellors and many teachers are warning that even if things get back to normalcy on the face of it, education would change in ways that are hard to comprehend, based purely on past experiences. For one, the stress on distance learning will increase manifold, which in effect means more exposure to the digital medium, which comes with its own set of problems.
Experts we have talked to – not only professionals but also parents – have unequivocally pointed out the need to continue using the fountain pen, not merely as a medium of writing, but as an implement of mind-body coordination, as a stress buster, as a learning aid. Subject authorities have clearly stressed that writing down leads to greater retention of knowledge, something that is not strictly possible otherwise, even when one keys in the relevant points. And these are reasons why, even in whatever may emerge as the post-pandemic new normal, the importance of the fountain pen will continue to be paramount, perhaps more than what we had given it credit for before we were all locked out.
Please also remember that the pandemic was brought about, in no small measure due to global warming and climate change – which can be traced directly to our increasing carbon footprints and the wanton use of plastics. The fountain pen was, continues to and will remain in the foreseeable future, the most sustainable of the writing options that we have – neither is it use-and-throw like the ever-polluting ball point pen, nor does it guzzle electricity which is predominantly generated by burning fossil fuels. As a matter of fact, we will do well to explain to our children concepts like sustainability and the need for the maintenance of the fragile ecological balances, with the fountain pen as an example, as one expert suggested.
Besides, our children are already suffering from what many are calling a digital overwhelm. In no point in history has mankind been exposed so continuously to the digital world, leading to a call for digital detoxification to becoming shriller as the days pass. While I am not contesting the need for the net, or its undeniable advantages, I will also like to point out that, the fountain pen, even as a brief lucid interval, can make a huge difference in our lives, in the lives of our children.
Think about it. And if you have suggestions as to how Click can make a positive contribution, do let us know. For, at the end of the day, it is not about our business – it is our relationships that matter.
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