Calligraphy artist Achyut Palav on the importance of handwriting
Q. For you, calligraphy is ‘an expressive medium where letters, in all their nakedness become alive, vibrating, pulsating with their inherent shapes.’ Is Kitta another expression of your love for the letter?
A. Good handwriting speaks a lot about a person and his state of mind. It matters a lot to me and to those who care for that identity marker. A neat and beautiful piece of handwriting is always appreciated and it is a chance to create a great first impression.
Achyut Palav, Calligraphy artist
In today’s digital age, this writing or the written word, in the literal sense, is slowly fading away. But it cannot be denied that writing by hand develops and inculcates a sense of proportion and aesthetics in a person. Kitta is for all those who don’t want to lose that individuality, that habit of writing, however old-style it may sound.
Q. Your foreword is in Marathi, but the book can be used by anyone with a basic knowledge of the Devnagari script? Do you have a specific language audience in mind?
A. Yes, Marathi to begin with. But Devanagari is used to write Hindi, Nepali, Marathi, Pali, Konkani, Bodo, Sindhi and Maithili. It was formerly used to write Gujarati. It is one of the most used and adopted writing systems in the world. But the book is not just about the script, it is about finding out the design element and beauty in the alphabets, which can be done by any literate person.
Q. How long did it take you for designing it?
A. We have worked on it for over six months. The concept was in my mind for a long time. As we all know that as the formal education comes to an end, we hardly take a pen to write. Slowly, we lose the desire to have good legible handwriting, because we can live without it. At this point we lose a part of our original selves. There are no occasions or incentives for regaining that part. But, over the years, I have tried in my small way to generate interest about the art of beautiful writing. People now understand that calligraphy is just the evolved form of writing. It is an art with immense application potential. It demands a certain finesse of handwriting skills. My effort is to rekindle the interest in letters.
Q. What is the response so far?
A. It takes time to build a habit but the response has been good so far. There is awareness which has to be built on, by way of interactive sessions, workshops and social media networks. We need to sell harder — the Marathi as well as the English books.
Q. Scientifically speaking, writing by hand is seen as a cognitive activity? The coming paperless age negates that possibility? Do you worry about this?
A. Yes. Handwriting gives a person a sense of proportion. It can generate interest in the arts, engineering, architecture, designing or advertising. In a paperless scenario, this is not possible. Thankfully, there are many in this world that still care for the traditional mode of written communication. I do worry that the children of today will lose an important tool, if writing loses its place in our lives. But some of the attendees of my calligraphy workshops help me to keep my faith in the future of handwriting.