Why Use Paper, When You Can Use an App!


Paper by 53 is a perfect app for those who like to jot things down

A few years ago, I couldn’t sleep at night without playing an hour (or more) of Building Blocks on my old Nokia phone. Even if I was reading an un-putdownable book. I would finish the book and reach for my phone.

Now, I can’t sleep without downloading a new app. Either on my phone, my iPad, my Chrome browser or my desktop. And, if I’ve already downloaded my app for the day, I’ll go read reviews of other apps, to plan what to do the next day.

Anyway, my possible psychological disorder is not the subject of this post. My resolution for 2013 is. The introduction was relevant however, because my resolution came about one night a few months ago during a similar fit of app obsession. I found online reviews for an app called ‘Paper’ – designed for the iPad by a company called 53. The app is brilliant. It lets you create blank paged notebooks and gives you pens and brushes  to do whatever you feel like with it. All you need is a stylus and some patience to get the hang of things.

Ever since I downloaded Paper, I’ve begun to see notebooks and post-its as cumbersome to carry around -physically and on my conscience. As a journalist for almost a decade, carrying a notebook in my bag was second nature. When I quit my job at Hindustan Times in 2012, I packed a carton of 25 notebooks- notebooks full of interviews, research, scribbling and doodles. Notebooks I will never open again. That really is not my worst record. A geek with a passion for writing down every nugget of knowledge I hope to store away, by the time I completed my Masters in English Literature, I had a suitcase full of xeroxed notes, bound journals and my own notes made from all of them.

Now, I use Paper for everything – making to-do lists, jotting down recipes to go over while cooking, shopping lists, and occasionally, even to write poetry. My husband has his own notebook on the app where he sketches – it’s his  way of relaxing after a day in the lab.

I am not a green militant, but neither am I blind to need for each one of us to cut back where we can. One of the things on my to-do agenda is to buy a  bucket for bathing water – because showers waste a lot of water and let’s not even get into bath tubs!

But I digress. I was talking about Paper. Paper got me wondering if I could replace the use of real paper in my daily life, slowly with sustainable alternatives, and hopefully inspire friends and family to do so. I could use a whiteboard instead of post its – or, as I have recently discovered – download post-its for my various gadgets. I could take notes on my gadgets, find an easy to use calendar for my schedule and so on.

I am also an avid e-book reader. But, for me, the romance of a real, tangible book is irreplaceable. While I am not sure I can promise not to buy any more books, I will make an effort to pick up second hand copies and read as many e-books as possible.

As an editor, I often have to proof read print outs. Part of my endeavour will be to edit using available technology, without printing any document – whether for work or for my book club. I’ll keep you posted on the various options I find and you let me know if it worked for you. For now, I recommend Paper to all iPad users. Every smart phone or tablet will have similar apps. I know Samsung has a similar app, only it’s cooler. The in-built app in the new S3 phone has a handwriting recognition software, which iPad users need to pay for.

If you like my idea, join the No Paper movement. Share the post or just the idea. If we save enough paper, those of us who love books can pass them on for posterity!


Use it exactly like paper – to sketch your ideas, plan your template, or make your to do list for the day!


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