Sunday, January 11, 2009

Confessions of a stationery stealer

Ed Note: The original post on my er..stationary fetish (written in May 06 – rediffblogs). Seemed like a good time to post this since a) just come back from rather hectic trip to Bombay and don’t have any posts b) this is the backdrop to the Embezzlers and c) I had a DREAM that I was pinching some stationary last night. Bah!

I have discovered a dangerous flaw in my character. I am a stationary kleptomaniac. Whenever I see any kind of pens, post-its or papers. I have this overmastering urge to pinch it. Have tried many things, but that itch refuses to go away.

Rumor has it that this unhealthy obsession started when I was about three. My father from one of his trips to Singapore or Sri Lanka I forget where had got this mammoth, mother –of-all-pencils for me (which again, rumor has it, was as tall as me!) – all colorful and fluffy whatnots.

Love happened. And it’s never quite gone away.

Every single day for the next four years when my father left for office I would beseechingly look at him and request a pencil – a BIGGGGGGG pencil from his office.
He did get me some – but having sensibly decided that he couldn’t give me a pencil a day, he would come home at night and present one to me, and take another from the collection while I was asleep to give me the next day.

As I grew older, I began to covet other things. Each birthday party I would go to I would look forward to the return gift and pray it was the fancy letter-pads (I have nearly intact, decorative letter pads which are twenty years old l!) or sketch pens. Birthday requests always included a demand for colored pencils and pen-pencils (the latter for a particular favourite of mine between the ages of 8-13-. Had not yet graduated to exotic pens hence that was the closest substitute)

Then I discovered pens. Calligraphy pens, fountain pens, ballpoint pens, fat pens, thin pens, you name it - I love it.
I am so fiercely possessive about my pens that even if someone borrows an ordinary ballpoint for a meeting, I am restless until the end of the meeting when I can rightfully reclaim it. And if some client decides to retain it, I bear a grudge with him/her (“as the person who pinched my pen”) for the rest of my life

Just before my engagement, Ma tentatively suggested giving one of the PENS I had to S. This wasn’t even an ordinary pen. It was a pen with capital letters – I screamed blue murder and refused to give it to him. So what if he is bridegroom?

So I have this legitimate collection of stationery, which I have accumulated by rightful means over the last many years.

Now to the unlawful.

Somewhere a few years ago I started working. A stationary freaks paradise! I could actually go to administration and get whatever I wanted. Stapler and plastic u clips. Punches and binder clips. Colored pens, highlighter pens, CD pens – CDs!!! Could heaven get any better?

After a few months, cost cutting measures and the concept of requisitions started. A sudden choke on my store of office supplies. Withdrawal symptoms commenced. I HAD to get to my fix of pens and other things.

Thus the disease started. I would hang around till late evening and regularly check the drawers in the hope that the bloke who was in charge had forgotten to lock it.
Occasionally would request the senior admin guy in the evenings that I was in pressing need of a pen and could I get the keys (the peon or whoever having left for the day) – the hypothesis being that the senior admin guy was far to busy to actually unlock the door so would just give me the keys. If that happened – ah bliss.

Every conference and workshop, after the day was over and there was a random collection of half opened colored post its and pencils would be sneaked into my bag – and if anyone happened to catch me, I would say “its such a shame to waste them” or alternatively “ never get the time to actually go to stationary bloke” – mostly I just tried to do it when no one was around.

So anyways, now I have this assortment of dry whitening ink and rusty staplers and pen that don’t write and posts its which are too pretty to use, planners, blank CDs, pencil mugs – all lying at home. And I STILL CRAVE MORE!

I wonder whether I need therapy. Hmmm.


roop said...

darn! and i thought i was alone in this illness. DITTO!!! i am obsessed with stationary and my favorite part of any superstore is the stationary section. i return back to me childhood immediately as i run around trying out different colored pens on different colored papers. it's a little-girl-syndrome, pati says, and perhaps he is right. a lot of women i know are stationary-aholics. :D

Perakath said...

I LOVE stationery shopping/browsing. (Good paperclips and rubber bands are so hard to find!) Don't often steal much, though. Your spelling of the word is inconsistent through the post, btw.

Reluctant Warrior said...

If they make a movie for you after you won the pulitzer or the booker, they'll call it
A FoCuSSeD Mind

(Female Obsessive Compulsive Stationary Stealing Disorder)

Fish, tadka maar key :)

Reluctant Warrior said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pinku said...


U are my heroine.

Kraz Arkin said...

What a pity. You're just going to burn all that paper aren't you? (Oh and one box of Reynolds pens for me please, thanks.)

Cynic in Wonderland said...

roop - lets start a club! stationary stealers club!

Perakath - oops im typographically challenged.

reluctant warrior - thank you thank you. i like fish very much!

pinku - er..thank you

kraz - if u serenade me i will give you pens. deal?

Nandini Vishwanath said...

Aaah, I go mad at the Office Depot and stuff here. Which my husband didn't realize until I stepped into one. I do not need clothes, or food. I just need stationery!

Neon said...

"A stationary freaks paradise! I could actually go to administration and get whatever I wanted. Stapler and plastic u clips. Punches and binder clips. Colored pens, highlighter pens, CD pens – CDs!!! Could heaven get any better?"

Haha, been there.

P said...

I love stationary too, but you really need therapy..hi hi

Cynic in Wonderland said...

nandini - ditto. i dont knowt what it is about it which makes people go bonkers - and there is such NICE Stuff no?

Neon - et tu brutus?

P - you reckon? wonder what the disease will be called. statioophenia?

Arunima said...

I read this the last time, so I am not commenting.:-)

Ping said...

I'm klepto too, but people call it stealing. Its the bigger stuff I look for, tabasco ans steak sauces from restaurants. Oh pepper grinders etc. Atleast coasters. One of these days I shall be in jail, sigh.

Vaudevillian said...

heh pen fetish. I could spend hours in a stationary shop trying out pens. I kept a special notepad with a huge list of 200+ complete with pen manufacturer & style name written with that particular pen. and, I used to keep seperate 'ballpens' for lending.

'nuff said.