The Black Lines of Least Re­sis­tance

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

It is one of the in­ex­pli­ca­ble para­doxes of our times that when chil­dren are be­ing weaned away from colour­ing books in the name of cre­ativ­ity — stick­ing to those black bor­ders is feared to sti­fle their nascent free-spirit­ed­ness — adults have taken to them with a vengeance as the repet­i­tive act of colour­ing is thought to be ther­a­peu­tic. Not only have these jumped to the top of best­selling books lists, they may even be caus­ing a run on colour­ing pen­cils. Lead­ing pencil mak­ers are no doubt ec­static about their12-fold rise in sales in the last cou­ple of years, where once they prob­a­bly were mourn­fully con­tem­plat­ing obliv­ion in the face of vir­tual colour­ing op­tions. In that case, these colour­ing book ad­dicts are ob­vi­ously the new­est threat to the planet, though their cho­sen fix is be­ing touted as a more or­ganic, anti-tech­nol­ogy pas­time. Toi­let pa­per, it is well known, causes the pulp­ing of mil­lions of trees ev­ery year, even if they are from ‘sus­tain­able’ forests: such as fast-grow­ing pine plan­ta­tions in rain­for­est coun­try. But then, toi­let rolls can be deemed an es­sen­tial com­mod­ity. Colour­ing books and pen­cils, on the other hand, are def­i­nitely not a ne­ces­sity, es­pe­cially for any­one be­yond ju­nior school. There are plenty of sat­is­fy­ingly repet­i­tive but less eco­log­i­cally dam­ag­ing paths to in­ner peace, such as knit­ting and cro­chet­ing, not to men­tion drum­ming and gym­ming.

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