The computer which I bought twelve years back is now carried away by scrapper as chunk.
(originally posted on June 14th, 2014 in my personal blog)
It was 2001, a year past millennium, full of hopes I visited Residency, Coimbatore along with my dad for a Computer Exhibition. It was a pretty cool event where they showcased loads of computers of Pentium III and also showed VoIP services as a interstellar device. I saw a HCL Beanstalk, a perfectly built back edition which costed 60,000/-, that was a huge some of amount (still is) which we couldn’t dream of. Yes, they had bank loan option too, looks like we weren’t eligible that time, we had other loans running, Phew.
I was studying in a tuition center near my house and the tutor had bought a new PC of her own and she did not know much of how to operate it. I always have a motto of “Never say No” since childhood, she asked me, do you know to operate a computer ? Within she could complete the question, I said “Yes”. Just wanted to get my hands on it. It took me 1 hour to figure out where the power button was, was hitting on the CRT Monitor’s button and blamed the sales person that he gave a defective piece. She panicked and yelled at him over the phone. He travelled all the way to show me that the button with “U” & “I” on the top is the power button. It was a Windows 95 PC, man. Awesome experience, I loved the way it booted, it was geekier than ever. Was sitting too close to it and realised what a desktop was, she soon sent us away back home, tuition was over. I went back home and was thinking about it. The next week, Our school had a Computer Lab newly setup and we were let in, it was like entering a burning forest, full of pupils clustered and we were asked to share a single PC among three people. We were asked to use MsPaint and draw some images, but hell yhea, it was a black and white screen, didn’t really know why here were so many black and grey colours in pallet till I saw it back in my tutor’s PC, so colourful it was.
I had a very good childhood friend named Niranjan, we call him Kunjaiyee, He sits crosslegged(outwards). We used to roam around few places and we used to share some pocket money and go to the internet cafe (those days no ID proofs were required to access internet), we paid 40 rupees per hour and created two email accounts in yahoo. We made it a point that we check emails once in a week. He sends to me, I reply to him, dot. We had no other senders. When ever big people ask us what we were doing, we’ll say “Mail check panurathuku vanthoom (We came to check mails!)“. That was boastful statement we say every single time as if we conquered the china border.
It was 2002, when I lied to my mom that everyone in my class had a computer and I was the only one who doesn’t own one. Inspite of the fact that I flung the previous year letting me sit in the same class in that academic year, she used the traditional method of a middle class hindu family (pledging jewels ) and got me few grands to buy a HCL Busybee, which was the cheapest yet powerful device. I should mention my uncle Ranganathan’s college mate, Mr.Palaniappan was kind enough to offer me a best price (Oh yhea ! 20% off with 30% hike), and we got the PC shipped to home. I was studying(wasting time) at the tuition center and the tutor got the landline ringing asking me to come, and I already blown the news all over the tuition center. We(lets say around 10 people), went to my house to see them installing the PC, they did it with such a fuzz as if they were making time machine, never the less I stood gazing at it. This time to the surprise of myself, I did know where the power button was.
It took less than two minutes to boot up and guess what, it was Windows XP (Pirated Copy though), and the default wallpaper is still a beauty. No wonder, its the highly viewed image in history(which was admitted to be photoshopped in later years). Back that time, we had a home rule not to use computer more than one hour, so, I’ll switch it on, play minesweeper and shut it down before dad comes home. One day, I accidently over used the PC and the fan was buzzing with a hell lotta sound. Being freaked out, I took the CPU in a jute bag and drove it in a TVS 50 to the seller’s shop and asked him to get it ready (I back then thought computers have to be taken for repair within a specific duration, or else it’ll die), I used to watch lot of tamil movies back then, the usual dialogue in climax, “Oru 5 minutes munnadi kounduvanthu irruntha kaapathirukalam“. The headache for the service engineers started since then, for the next two years, in the name of warranty, I rebated my entire 20% hike in cost (infact, more than that). I then once entered their fancy “ELECTROSTATIC WORKSTATION” to see that they were mishandling their devices using forcible tools, which I did not like. So, I asked Palaniappan to send service engineering to home next time on, so that if he goofs up anything, I can break his knuckle right away. Time ran out fast that the warranty came to a end, he said “If I’ve to come next time, I’ll charge Rs.150 per visit + service charges”. Since then I dropped calling him, Money Money Money !
I had my final exams that day afternoon, went biking(tvs50) early morning to enjoy the feel of breeze, I saw a poster saying ‘Sancharnet Package’, I was amused about Internet right from the day we bought a PC, dad did not really allow me to opt for one (inspite of him working in BSNL, a government run telecom in India). It was a dial based internet, and he did warn about bills, did not give ear to it. Came back home silently and slided the RJ45 cable. Keyed in the numbers and it did not work. Tried multiple times and around afternoon, I got an alien noise coming from my PC, I though i’ve fucked up things once again. Pulled out the power cable and sat silently for some time. went to the seller and he told, its the noise of Mood-Um (‘Modem’, his slang, eh?)
Reached back home with a “CAN” attitude and plugged in my RJ45 Cable once again and ran the dialer. Got the dialer tone for three minutes and there opens Internet Explorer with Yahoo’s Time Zone Map (I clicked on the sync to Internet Time from the clock menu). That moment, was when I imagined about the possibilities of technology, seeing me give out a evil laugh, my mom asked me what happened and I told her “I hacked the computer”, well, literally she was proud of me until the billed topped 3.5k that month.
It was 2003 and my system acted so weird. It displayed time asif it time travelled 50 years backwards. I had no other option but to drive it to the service center (just to save Rs.150/-), this time he bashed me like anything and told I spoiled the computer and he is going to report it to my dad. Two days later he dropped the CPU at home charging me a whooping sum of Rs.2500/- It took me more than 5 years to figure out that it was just a CMOS Lithium Battery which ran out of charge and it was just Rs.25/-, realising that I’ve been cheated 100x, I was so furious. Never visited his shop since then, and also, created a negative effect for his band and advised people not to buy from him.
In 2004–2008 was totally a different phase of life. Friends., Bike., Siruvani., Otta cycle., Bunking., two rupee pocket money., kucchi ice., Quality Walls orange icestick., elanthavadai., diwali celebrations., crackers inside classroom., taking cell phone to school was the most challenging task.
It was 2008 and I had to buy a laptop for college. My father had a good will for him and persuaded me to buy it from him and him only. I went there and bargained like shit(I had the fight in me, researched the prices before hand for more than two weeks), It was an imported Hp Pavillion TX2009 AU, (a Touch Screen Tablet PC), which was 78k at the time of launch. I got the price so down and also made him minus Rs.2475/- towards the end of the bill. Bought it for 60k(yhea, no bills, no warranty, no tax, cut the crap margin, CMOS Battery excess charge). Its the tendency of every human being to dump the old one when a new thing comes, and I’m no exception. I very hardly used the PC and was so tangled to my new laptop. After a month, made it a point to make sure I get it perfect, so that my dad can use it for his office purposes. He never liked me sitting before a PC, and today, he is glued to it all day #Profession.