Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Countless is the number of meetings I have attended in my career spanning over three decades. Before every meeting, the secretarial staff place a pencil before my name plate on conference table. When I see a pencil, I MUST have it. I do not know if you will brand me a klepto, but I confess: one thing that I cannot stop myself from is acquiring – beg, borrow or steal I will – pencils.

So, at the end of every meeting, I invariably take the pencil and put it into my pocket. I do not feel guilty about it because I know that the pencil is meant for me.

Likewise, I am not, for once, smitten by the pangs of conscience when I recall after checking out of a hotel room that I could not resist the temptation to ‘steal’ the pencil they keep next to the scribbling pads on the bedside table, the writing table and the toilet. (Why one in the smallest room, I have always wondered. Maybe the brightest of ideas spring forth in the loo, as good old Archimedes demonstrated in the third century BC.)

I have my collection of Parkers and Sheaffers, Crosses and Watermans, DuPonts and Mont Blanc Meisterstucks, oodles of them, but I love pencils. Why pencils, you may ask. That is a million-dollar question.

Coming to think of it, it is not just the pencil that catches my fancy. I like those scribbling pads too. I jot down ideas or thoughts that flash in my brain, in the scribbling pad which doubles as my organizer. I want to use these ideas later . I always have a scribbling pad nearby, to note down phone numbers or messages, or a list of things to do the next day. This pad is where I arrange my daily life.

I am not partial to these items: I love the entire range of hotel stationery – letter paper and envelopes. I like to impress my mother by sending a letter in the thick manila envelope containing a missive written on the letter paper of a five star luxury hotel.

How can I forget toiletry – shampoo and hair conditioner, moisturiser and talcum powder, soap and disposable razor which I help myself to? I do not lay my hands, however, on napkins, bath towels or bath robes. Some hotels pin a notice on the bathrobe exhorting the guest to contact the front office if he (or she) would like to ‘buy’ the bathrobe. Clever guys, aren’t they? Ditto with the luxury leather folio in which the letter paper and envelopes are placed.

As long as they do not attach such labels on pencils, stationery and toiletries, my inner voice won’t hold me back!

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