Edited by: Kavya Mittal
Welcome to your stationery intervention! We start by making a simple list you can follow for the next week:
- Take out a sheet of paper and those Stabilo pens you reserve only for special occasions
- Write down a list of stationery items you will try to not use/buy for a few days, each with a different color
- Highlight a few of them, for emphasis, of course
- Realise how plain the sheet of paper looks, so put some cute stickers you can’t remember where you got from.
- Proceed to check Amazon for the ink pens you’ve been eyeing
- ‘Accidentally’ buy those ink pens along with a journal to keep track of how you’re doing at the stay away from stationery challenge
If you’ve never been in this situation before, you should have mixed feelings. You’re missing out on the small pleasures of life but you’re also not considered a ‘stationery hoarder’ in your family. Coming to college was my excuse to buy as much stationery as I wanted. Brush pens for ‘projects?’ Yes. Diaries for ‘planning’ my courses? Yes. Buying at least 10 refills of Pilot V7 because it’s the best pen to write with? Yes. All of this fitting in my bag and reaching campus in its prime condition?Unfortunately, no.
I thought coming to Ashoka would definitely reduce this feeling but I was wrong. Below the mess and next to the tuck shop is Ashoka’s extremely well-equipped stationery shop that I can never leave empty-handed. With neatly arranged notebooks, coloured post-it notes, different types of pens, and birthday decor that I have bought twice already, the stationery shop on campus has become my happy place.
I share a very personal relationship with stationery. Everything on my desk or in the pen stand holds meaning. Although I don’t use it all the time, it brings me pure honest joy. I have pens that ran out of ink months ago — anybody else trying to use them would groan at their lack of functionality but every time I pick them up, I’m consumed by a sense of nostalgia.
Maybe that’s why I have such a deep love for stationery — I feel like I’m preserving something the world is slowly forgetting. Once upon a time, paper brought ideal and complete utility. Nothing was possible without it. The modern mind, however, can’t comprehend that stationery used to be the dynamic force of business and social life. From handwritten ledgers and letters to the very idea of pencils, crayons, and markers, the digital world is slowly wiping out the importance of what used to play an integral part in our formative years.
I can’t wait to tell my kids in the next 20 years about those small scented erasers that smelled like cotton candy, those stacked rainbow bulb pencils that would get you through boring classes, the double-sided pencil boxes with designated pencil holders we would pretend were cannons and even those 7-in-1 color pens which you would try to push down all at once. Just writing about them brought a smile to my face.
However, my favourite stationery items are simple pen and paper because, in my head, they automatically mean stories. My journals are my mark on this world, literally and metaphorically. And unlike anything on a computer, they will exist in the very shape, form, and handwriting I first wrote in.
Another reason why I believe this addiction first came into place is the direct relationship between stationery and creativity. Just the idea of free-flowing poetry scribbled on some crumpled paper late at night, the sudden influx of bold brilliant ideas on a notepad, and the association between the act of writing and unspoken thoughts is enough to spark creativity in anybody.
A sense of nostalgia, creativity, and organization are some of the best feelings in the world. So, the next time someone says your stationery addiction is bad for you and needs to stop, take out a creamy sheet of paper, border it with your cutest washi tape, write the word ‘no’ on it in cursive with a glitter pen, and seal it in an envelope.
Keep buying those pens! Keep visiting stationery shops twice a day! And lastly, if it makes you happy, there’s no reason in the world to stop, unless of course you’re broke like me and waiting for your April allowance. Besides that, congratulations on completing this stationery intervention! It’s now time to reward yourself with some cute notepads and food shaped erasers :)