Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Good grief!

My suspicions of this dark yet inevitable moment had finally come true. All those sporadic seeming instances of winking back I had received over the months had now culminated into one lethal, ill-timed of course, concoction that was determined to cajole the one thing I hold dearer than life itself – my cozy routine. Ah! The pain! From the shackles of silence comes that euphoric chant rising itself to horizons new and showers down several generous drops of sharp, needle-like, moments of absolute misery.

But let me start from the beginning. It all started a few months ago, when the initial signs occurred. Right from the moment I had suspected a possible battery problem to the moment I actually saw my laptop’s monitor finally blink itself to blackened death – I had always known I would be caught on the wrong foot. And so settling down in an exuberant anticipation of a much awaited four day weekend, the zeal of idling away my time browsing absolutely meaningless junk on the Net was just so tempting! Funny videos! Chat! StickCricket! Email! But then, somewhere between the hours of 11 and 12 on Happy Day Number One – poof! Initially I felt that the laptop had gone into ‘hibernation’ (I am always amused at how we humans have successfully transformed our lives to start thinking of a computer as just another organ vital for our petrified existence) and tried tapping meaninglessly on the fading mouse pad. Nothing. No light. No more winks. The much looked forward to odyssey of getting on that ship to ‘Nothingness’ for four glorious days had suddenly found death – an abrupt and unceremonious one at that. A death that, like any other, needed to be dealt with appropriately. And so – I underwent the five classic stages of such grieving – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and of course, acceptance.

Denial was the easiest. As I rapidly packed the laptop back into the case and my steps earnestly got into eager-to-please slippers, I was sure that the local Tech Shop-wallah will definitely say something like ‘O! Just a case of burnt out backlight! Leave it with us and you can pick it up in a few hours.’ Ah yes. The beautifully composed orchestra that was playing my favorite tune already in my head – ‘Your laptop is going to be fine. Everything is A-OK. Just a few hours and your life will be back on track!’ But no. Not only was I told that they did not service adhoc laptops not bought from their store (mine was bought Back Home in the summer of 2006) but they also mentioned that this sort of work would take at least a week. Bah! I spat at their ridiculousness and headed off to the other Tech Shop I knew was sure to bail me out of this quicksand I had inadvertently walked into. Nothing there. The store was closed. Long weekends for business too? Shameful! Shameful!

Anger followed. I was mad. Very mad. ‘F#%K THIS!’ I found my lungs croaking out. ‘This dumb stupid F#$* had to die on me NOW! Just at the start of this sunny, delicious and decadently laid out array of free time! Noooo….!’ I stormed back to my apartment steaming in fury. That phase lasted about an hour. Well alright. Maybe two. Few more switches were turned on as I panicked and tried to coax the screen back to life. Breathe damn it! Breathe!

Humph. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just the iterative scheme of helpless black outs.

‘Alright God’, I said finally giving up. ‘I’ll tell you what we’ll do here. Since this unexpected curse has been cast upon me, why don’t you make my weekend even brighter and sunnier, so that I just forget about this f—king piece of s—t that died on me…’ and some such. A prayer was uttered and a blessing was requested. Bargaining had taken place without so much as a whisper.

After a solid four hours – it finally began. A viciously depressing wave of helplessness. A sense of immense loss and vicious disconnection. A sense of being alone on an island like that fellow on ‘Cast Away’ without even a freakin’ basketball for company!

I sat watching some God forsaken television show for a good thirty two minutes. Yuck! It was so bad I had to unplug the power cable of the tube just to avoid encountering any more flavors of its ghastliness. I tried flipping through an old copy of a colorful ‘Jughead Double Digest’. Ho-hum! Well…the same gibes by that crowned goon with his arms loaded with hamburgers and other equally gluttonous gastronomy. I tried drowning myself with Rushdie. Gawd! Do I hate myself? Why on Earth would I subject myself to Rushdie to kill time? Reading him will only make me more confused about what I was doing to begin with! (Well, of course, cynicism aside, I must admit that he has written some bearable work.) Yet – depression continued. I slept a lot more than I normally do. At times it was weird to have had a deep slumber between 4:22PM and 4:37PM. I began to wonder if even time had started playing games with me! All this on Happy Day Number One – 3 more days to go!

And then came the final inevitable stage. I made up a routine of long well cooked meals, some well placed siestas, a strict regime of reading Rushdie after all (well, yes. I had only one novel I hadn’t read yet and that was ‘The Moor’s Last Sigh’) for about an hour, some chosen tele-watching and yes – a walk to the metro station and back. Slowly, but surely, I tiptoed my way patiently until Tuesday.


First thing Tuesday morning I ran to my colleague’s busy feet and explained my hapless scenario and the ordeal of a computer/Internet/life-less existence for the past four days. Thanks to his generosity I am now able to document this grief-laced past using an external monitor. Sure, it’s slightly uncomfortable to type on the laptop and watch my words on a bigger, much bigger, monitor but hey – it finally brought me back my nothingness right? Cheers to that!


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