The word ‘paper’, as we know, owes its origin to the Latin ‘papyrus’, which refers to a thick type of paper made from the pith of the papyrus plant. Papyrus first surfaced in Egypt in the fourth millennium BCE where the plant grew plentifully in the Nile delta. So, when a dear friend hauled back a truckload of papyrus bookmarks from under the Sphinx’s nose, I was grateful for the reminder that, once upon a time, people jotted down their thoughts with pen and papyrus. Now, our fingers routinely quiver when we have to do any actual writing. It may not be in wide use, but the papyrus is neither extinct nor endangered, as my latest acquisitions aver. They have been made using a modern technique of papyrus production which was invented in 1962 by the Egyptian engineer Hassan Ragab. He was also Egypt’s first ambassador to China, the country that invented paper. I’m a sucker for coincidences like that.