Friday, May 27, 2011

Much Mushiness about a Machine

Have you noticed, how we are increasingly ascribing human qualities to technological devices, and are starting to interact with them as if they were human?

We ‘are in love with’ a new camera, or ‘totally detest’ a new phone – strong emotions, normally reserved for other humans.

We even experience ups and downs in the relationship with a gadget, There are infatuations, when we love a gadget at first sight – the sleek finish, the vibrant colour of a new MP3 player. You buy it on an impulse... and then come the hate pangs, when you realise the gadget is more style than substance, and have to take it back for servicing repeatedly. At other times, the opposite happens too – when some gadget that looks rather staid and uninteresting in the beginning endears itself to us through its steady and loyal performance.

I have definitely experienced this. And for that reason this post is special. You see, it is the last one I will be writing on my beloved HP tablet, with whom I have shared a long and close relationship.

The tablet was not my first laptop, and my old laptop was much more user friendly and a high performer to boot. But this machine was more special for many many reasons.

Three years ago, when tablets were rare in the Indian market, I saw this model at a Geonet outlet and fell for it hook, line and sinker. It looked petite yet classy, and I had never used touchscreen before. I just could not rest till one of these machines was in my possession.

Well, that was then. Since then we have been through a great deal together. It has travelled high and low with me – from Bhanpura to Pittsburg. It has been with me through good times - helped me make numerous successful presentations for workshops, seminars and internal meetings, and helped me build and launch my company’s most ambitious product – an intelligent math-learning programme. It has helped me rediscover what is really valuable in life - it has helped me reconnect with long-lost friends through FB, helped me reconnect with the nostalgia of times gone by. I have watched Jaane bhi do yaron, Ek ruka hua faisla and other such cult films on it, and I have collected a treasure chest of haunting music from the past - Joan Baez , the Ventures, Mary Hopkins etc etc - on it.

It has even helped me whip up a pretty nice ‘aloo posto’ when my kids demanded it rather suddenly :)

And it has been with me through bad times. When so-called friends left me out in the cold, it helped me rekindle childhood friendships, and keep in touch with a few good friends. And recently, when I went through a rough patch in life – with ill health and an overall crisis of confidence, it stood by me like a rock – along with my immediate family and a handful of close friends.

This is the machine on which I started blogging, with more than a little push from the above mentioned people, of course. And it was because I had the touchscreen function on this machine that the amateur cartoonist in me could ‘come out’, so to speak.

Aur haan yaar, it has not been as one-sided as it sounds. I have been by its side through thick and thin too, haan! Kya kya nahi karwaya iss ne mujh se – it has been repaired, re-repaired, and re-re-repaired. Parts have been replaced. Its mother board has conked off twice - once right in the middle of an important official meeting. It lets out a shrill eerie sound if the top is not held at an angle of its liking.

It has in turns behaved like a nut, a bully, and a tantrum-throwing brat. But as I now realise, NEVER has it misbehaved at times of real crises.

It was only when the company I used to work for asked me to return it, at rather short notice, that I realised that my machine was ‘technically’ not mine. For some time I felt like screeching like those melodramatic adoptive mothers from Hindi films – ‘Nahi, issey maine paal pos ke bada kiya hai...main issey nahi le jaane doongi... nahi, nahiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeee...............!!!!'

But what has to be done has to be done.

Sure, it has been a tumultuous relationship. But we had accepted each other with all our quirks and imperfections, and grown to love each other (Do I see some raised eyebrows here? Be banished, thee non-believers - as I explained earlier, I fully believe it understands me much better than most humans do). And I can’t help but feel emotional in parting with it.

But goodbye it is. It is with this, that I feel a true sense of closure with the phase of life that just passed. So here’s to a new journey – hopefully one that would be even more challenging and fulfilling than the last... and hope my next laptop is as good a friend to me as this one has been....


  1. I know the feeling. I am still in love with my five years old desktop. Even though the LCD monitor is giving out nightmarish colours. Can't adjust it as it has gone bad! BUt don't wanna replace it...!!

  2. sob, Suchi - here I am in far away Seoni reading your blog. Phew - is the expression I heard from this machine! is it the same one over which you spilt a bottle of water? or the one which kept getting discharged only 12 times a day because you forgot to connect the cable? It surely can not be one which slept in your bed with you for last so many years and woke up with you in the morning? No No this can not be the machine which has been the Doosra in your life? Did I hate it - or you for this - strangely never - because some how I saw this pest as a live extended part of your body (ops and your mind too) I am sure who ever gets to use it now will get spooks. Wonder how it will behave in the next bed? what ever else keep writing its great fun, I enjoyed this one and keep dreading the one that will eventually come on me
    (managed to post this on my return to mumbai eventually)

  3. woww..enjoyed this post.. just superb!.. Felt like I am reading a love story :)
    cudn't control laugh on pal pos ke bada kiya he vala line..:D
    Though I'm having laptop I just can't imagine to throw away my 7 yr old dabba desktop.. for the same has helped me sooooo much..

  4. Soooooch! I feel good to know that I had met such an important part of you and your mind at some point in time :) YES! you surely had a lot of eyebrows being raised in the company when you walked in with your rather snazzy machine.

    In those days when we used to get really boring ACER machines, which people like detest even today and then go and invest a crazy amount on a really expensive machine of their own (Which is then cursed by the boss for being non-windows!).

    So bye bye to hip and happening.. I think you need a good stable machine now.. :) all the best with your new baby.. talk to you soon

  5. interesting that the first few lines remind me of the speaking tree column [couple of days back in TOI]which said technology is bringing the astral world closer to the physical world thanks to all these virtual 'bodies'! my dear suchi, you have competition at home...sudershan shd start blogging too-i loved the way he has handled competition in bed !!

  6. @Sudarshan - you devil, you finally landed a few juicy ones on me! But I guess as Vidhu seems to suggest, I should really be thankful to you that you did not sue me for bigamy (or shd I say biandry???)in the last 3 years, what with me taking this 'virtual body' to bed almost daily... ;)

    @Anar - 'good and stable' goes against my grain, in case you have not noticed yet.... so the new one will probably end up being the mother of all whimsical machines :D

  7. Interesting read!!,i had a similar experience with my desk top,which till the last moment i didn't want to part with it.It had similarly stood by me as my only support when we lived in nellore and vijaywada.My only connect with the world outside thru the dial up network ofcourse!.
    Finally we parted company as we moved to Mumbai,where in the name of space constraint i had to let go of many a things(both physical and emotional!!).
    You are right,we conect with gadgets like never before.Whether its your cell phone or laptop/Ipad,if u leave it behind at have this eternal scare that something important is bound to happen/some emergency which normally doesn't on the same day!!
    Loved your other man/machine analogy and also sudarshan's reply!!.