Rotring and other memories

A casual conversation led to a beautiful memory last evening. I remembered my “Rotring”. When I moved out of my parents house that evening to start my life with R, I couldn’t take everything that defined. The suitcase that I packed for that journey was a box of memories that didn’t weigh more than the stipulated limit, and it included all facets of my life until then. The models I made, that huge drafting board, that T-square, the parallel, the set square.. and those thousand things with my name in Silver ink didn’t make it across the Pacific, and over the period of time, when she was sure I won’t come back home to claim my items, my mother donated all my materials and books to those she thought were deserving. But, as a memory of those five years in Architecture school, I took my box of Rotring pens and a Staedtler lead holder. I lost the lead holder somewhere between those six moves in California, but my Rotring set remains.


When I rejected my father’s ideas of joining electronics and communications and being a programmer… I never found that career exciting. I never found the people in that career exciting. Architecture was always the one and only fascination.. He still called from the admissions office to confirm this was what I wanted to do, given that there was no Developer or Engineer father to guide me into the field. Little did he know at that point that I will move to country where no one even used the metric system I had all my education in! After he got a list of items to buy, he sent my uncle with a wad of money and a jeep to haul everything- oh, the sticker shock when they paid half that wad for a bunch of pens! And everything fit in two little bags.. No jeep needed!

It’s been twenty years already.

The whole first semester went into learning the basics of hand drafting, and using the right pen to create the necessary line weight. Then computers were introduced.. AutoCAD R13 I think. Graduated from one CAD program to another, and settled down with AutoCAD LT with annual subscription now. I never hand drafted at work, and other than redlining (some people have suggested adding notes to the PDF document, but a drawing in front of me helps me more than portions of it on the screen). Any given time, on my desk, there will be a set of Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, Sharpies, at least one highlighter, couple of pencils, and some red pencils and a good eraser. A good Moleskine to write my meeting notes, and important project notes, and a regular paper pad to scribble the thoughts, ideas and make checklists for the day. I have tried going paper free, set up reminders on Evernote and realized that I need a pink sticky note on my second monitor to push me to get that done right away.

It’s throw back Thursday.

Here is a memory from twenty years ago when I started my first semester. I did a beautiful sheet of construction details, but accidentally spilled something on it. I didn’t know what to do, and called my senior who was in her third semester then. She shared a little secret called “Glass Tracing”. I didn’t have time to get my equipment ready for the glass tracing. Did a little DIY.. My mom’s oversized picture frame lost its backing and picture. The three legged stool lost it’s beautiful top. With a little lamp below it, I was able to build my own Glass Tracing station. I never bought the equipment.. this little station worked well for the five years of my college life.

Mom had one condition though.. no glass tracing one week before wedding- being the typical Indian mom she didn’t want me to sport a glass tracing tan!

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