Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A box of old times 

Suddenly flash backed the old times. People arnd me are wondering what to buy their cousins and brother's and girl friend's brothers and nephew's aunts. The probable list reads something like - Playstations, a high tech watch, DVD players and even a laptop. I was once small too (according to some people I haven't changed that much even now) and remember that when I was a kid one of my biggest attractions was the PENCIL BOX.

Remember them? People from my generation (24-30) will surely know what I'm talking abt. when we were young, pencil boxes used to be a major status statement in school. The most eye candy ones were the phone-shaped kinds. The stupid me used to think that owning one such thing would make people assume that I carried an actual phone. I even re'call' making a few fictional calls using my 3*8 delight. A close competitor of the "phone" was the "calculator". Equally big, equally fake and equally enthralling and convincing to the little mind. I remember that a plastic layer inside these boxes separated the pencils from the sharpeners and erasers. Peek inside along the edges, and you could surely spot some pencil leftovers. "How many times have I told you not to chew the rubber?" Mummum would ask sternly. "How many times have I reminded you to sharpen your pencil next to the bin and not inside the box. The next time you do that I'll give you one of those cloth cases with a zipper running through it," she would threaten, reminding me of the classist hierarchy of pencildom.

Soon my father elevated me to a new level of showmanship. The telephone was replaced by what was the "In Thing" then - double decker pencil boxes - the two storeyed spectacle. The box had two separate boxes placed on top of each other. The top had a cushiony feel and the coolest thing abt this masterpiece was a magnetic lock that the makers had introduced. "Do not mix up the color pencils with the writing pencils," Bubin would instruct tirelessly. I don't think he ever expected me to listen and I don't think I ever did. "And don't play with the magnet. You'll spoil it then."

Years passed and trends changed. I remember having a transparent pencil case, a three storeyed one, one shaped like a car and my personal favorite - a little unassuming box with a zillion trap doors; each popping out some new feature of the box - an eraser holder, an in-built sharpener, a pen stand etc. etc. etc.

What happened to that boy and his little desires???

i used to have lotsa fundoo pencil boxes too!!!!

i remember this shop in vardan market - on the first floor (its on the left when u take the elevator) - i used to buy all my stuff there. but more than the box there were the pencils themselves - i used to go to the shop once a week to pick outthe latest trends!
you beat me hands down woman :) that also reminds me that its been a while since i used a pencil :( leave alone a box for them
Dood ! I had a Cadbury Dairy Milk bar shaped one !! It was awesome !!
If i thought trying to guage my Amma's mood before i asked for that fashionable pencil box which would open on both sides and close by itself 'by magic'( we didn't learn about magnets till 4th std) was tough, then understanding when Blogger would let me comment is tougher :)

But yeah, those pencil boxes were damn cool. Did you ever have one that would glow in the night? I insisted that i would be searching for my box in the wee hours of the night and got that!

And pencils, esp. ones which had those sparkling flowers in them and three magical words "Made in Japan" inscribed on them --made you feel so arrogant as if the Prince of Tokyo himself flew down and gave it to you :p

Sigh...Sorry sagnik, i did run off my mouth..this comment is turning to be longer than your post. So i shall stop :)
Sigh :)

I don't remember having phone or calculator.. perhaps I was always too snooty to want what others had :) My favorite was a steel geometry box (you know the one, yellow on red) that served me to a ripe old age.

On a related note, a friend of mine bought me a fountain pen for my last birthday. It's the most awesome thing ever; I think better thoughts when I write them down with a fountain pen.
@Vignesh - I have seen one like the Gems cylindrical box - only it had cushion inside - no you have seriously ade me wonder if that was indeed just the box that someone used for keepin pencils :)

@Kumari - talking abt magic - do you remmeber those "magic markers"; you paint it with one color and then rub some other color on it and then the color changes?

@Agaram - dude, now you are making me senti - i never used fountain pens much - moved st away to those Luxor microtip pens :(
Actually pencils were more "happening" - prolly coz they were more affordable. Till class 4 which was when we were allowed to upgrade to pens, pencils were one of the foremost attractions of exams. That was when you got a whole new set of pencils and sharpners and all. Especially with this one shop (it was called "Graduate Stores" - bang next to my school) and I'd be totally enthralled choosing my picks. Natraj and all those packaged sets were boring - loved the more fanciful ones.
Ah, is that what a magic marker is? Another gap in my education.. filled.

Fountain pens are the goods, dude. They'd seemed like childish fancy after I left school, but that ink on your hands is worth it.
@Biplab - Aaaaaah! Graduate Stores. So many memories of that place. What was most impressive abt the place was that the shop itself was a little bigger than a pencil box but had EVERY possible book one could think of. Amazing!

@Agaram Sir - our third language Hindi teacher insisted that we use only Hindi words in class and my friend Abhik once said "fuara kalam" for a fountain pen - what say?
I'd say Anaar Kalam instead.
@Agaram - ur the Hindi speaking dude - you are the man or as they say in Hindi - aap mard hai :)
your shopping will have to wait until 'boxing' day?

dam...i never had those pencil box thingies...whatta traumatic childhood i must have had!
aah those were the classics, believe me they went on after your times too,. me in current 20-24 yr olds, n me hav seen quite a few jealous faces , ample makkhan lagana, when a novelty pencil box appeared in the possesion of a mate. more so when the box actually contained pens!!! (yes these were a novelty for us till, i think what, third or fourth class ). Heck i miss those things, where have those times gone ...

I know I'm a little late commenting but just couldnt help it :). Just came across ur blog ... (through numerous blogrolls, now i've lost count), and must say now, its been a pleasure going through your blog, needless to say i'm going to read through it now. rest assured, if and when i do put up a blog, urs will probably be one of the first few blogrolled ...

cheers :)
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