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Computer, the World of Fantasy


A few weeks before my retirement from govt service I requested my daughter Sweety to make typed copies of my biodata that was running in to pages. She carried them to her office and by evening handed over neatly typed copies for my approval. I found them typed not in the conventional type writer- but printed out from a computer. However there were a few corrections to be made and also some additions on second thought. She asked me to visit her office in the afternoon and sitting by her side I could make the final version.

I was there punctually as I wanted them readied for dispatch for my second innings after my retirement. In no time by the ‘click’ of the ‘mouse’ she could ‘retrieve’ my biodata that was already ‘saved’ in that P.C.

She was using more such technical terms that I couldn’t decipher at all. She was adding and deleting on my command in no time and also the numbering, captioning, star marks etc. were done with precision and fluency reminding me of the magic wand of a seasoned magician. She also pleaded me not ask awkward questions in front of her colleagues who had a high opinion of me. I was so pleased by the outcome of her work which was presented to me in a booklet form and would go a long way in impressing my future boss.

As I expected there was no problem at all for me to get a respectable job in a managerial level at Chennai. I was given a separate room with my steno and clerk adjoining my room. Actually I was used to a better surrounding in my regular service - but without a computer. But my assistant was a novice not able to fully exploit the improvements of the PC over a simple typewriter. Time and again he was trying my patience as I was still in the mesmerized stage of my daughter commanding the computer with her nibble fingers.

One day one of our valued customers asked for my E-mail address. Actually I couldn’t understand what it was and how to get one. He gave his own E-mail ID and requested me to correspond through it for early and accurate communication. It had become a regular feature that they insisted on my ID and a few of them even volunteered to make one for me. I was thoroughly embarrassed by my ignorance of modern development and I suddenly felt that I was thrown open in Pacific Ocean forced to mend it myself. My self prestige and dignity prevented me from asking for help from people around me. I could feel that they were simply taking this as an advantage in hiding their own blunders and mistakes. But after some interaction with my seniors I found most of them were in the identical predicament having worked for ages when computers were not seen around. But once it reached in the early 90s it spread like wild fire and anybody who could not adapt to it were literally tossed up from offices. Senior citizens in their 60s were caught unaware by this hurricane and to withstand that onslaught either they had to come out courageously with confidence and self belief to learn about this ‘helping slave’ or resign to defeat and spend the rest of their lives literally crippled without the Computer. When I made a short visit to my daughter at Bhuvaneshwar I was amazed by the fluent handling of the PC by my grandson who was still below 10. His speed and impatience couldn’t help me to learn with my systematic approach.


Some how I toiled for a few more years and was finding the surroundings increasingly hostile with cell phones and i- pods adding to the agony of computers. As per the theory of Darwin, for the survival of the fittest I motivated myself aided by my inbuilt stubbornness in not admitting defeats.

When I visited the CSC-for computer education in the early hours on a MONDAY expecting myself to be the first I was taken aback by a number of cycles in front of it with a small crowd surging inside. Their age group was a minimum of 10 to maximum of 20 in equal strength of boys and girls. At that time I was about 67 to 70 years – but well dressed with an officer’s look.

The manager at the counter who was about 30 to 35 years stood up out of reverence for my age and respectability, requesting me to take a seat. He wanted to know whether I had brought any of my grand children for admission. When I nodded in the negative he pleaded his inability to recruit very senior people for the job of Instructor. When I confirmed that it was for my own enrolment he pleaded that they didn’t have provision for highly advanced courses.  I lost my patience and with serious face asserted that I didn’t know even to put or remove a plug of a computer from its socket –or put it more crudely never ever had touched a computer in my life. But desire to have the working knowledge learnt from there. Can you help me or not?

He was visibly shaken by my emotional outburst and with that excited look. He came to his self and pleaded to be pardoned with assurance that he would take as the institutions privilege to impart training to a senior citizen of my status. He also explained all the regulations and fee structure and offered a concession of Rs 500/- for those with 75% in class-10 exam. Just more than a half century back in the year 1953 I had secured 85% in SSLC. Never in my wildest dream I thought of a situation that my marks at the age of 15 would fetch me Rs 500/-! A spontaneous smile curled around my lip that was also having the effect of bringing down the temperament of the Manager to normalcy.

I was taken around the hall that was busy with most of the 30 PCS under usage. On seeing me almost all of them got up with the chorus of ‘good morning sir!’- Perhaps having mistaken me as a representative from the great Bill Gates, of Microsoft!

The manager called an instructor and in a subdued voice explained about his new ‘candidate’ for training. On seeing me he became nervous and also hesitant to take that role, thereupon I had to encourage him and put him at ease with the assurance that his reputation would be intact. He started his assignment in good earnest with request to pardon him for poor English and using Telugu words more often. After some briefing in front of a PC that was defective, we had to move to another. If I remember correct we had to hop nearly 4 or 5 machines in one hour of training. The knowledge gained was more confusing and I returned on the first day with no better than I was at the time of entering. Still I got some idea with my experience and imagination. I requested the manager for a few books for initiation for immediate purchase. I was also convinced that I must possess my own computer which I acquired in a couple of days. The whole set of computer, CPU, KEY BOARD, MOUSE, MIKES and even the table was purchased except the PRINTER.

I was really working hard day and night with the books and also ably assisted by ‘HELP’ that is part of the machine. The instructor was just showing his head out of formality as I considered him more of a nuisance than help. All my doubts were cleared by my own efforts by persistently exhausting all possibilities and I also stumbled upon the remarkable truth that knowledge gained in this process is more ever lasting and encouraging your own original thinking. Just 3 aspects were needed to grasp the computer in its order—Motivation, Perseverance, and Limitless Time. From the pains of learning I was entering the pleasure part when I was really enjoying interacting with this remarkable invention of modern age. My thirst to know more was ever increasing and I also found that with the increasing advancement the thirst would persist and scope of subsiding never exists as the improvements were going on side by side regularly. During my initial days at the institute, young boys and girls would approach me for help mistaking me for an instructor. I had to plead ignorance and admit that I was a novice. But after a few days I could really teach a few of them which was not liked by the instructors. Meanwhile I acquired a good typing speed. It is but natural that I could easily write on various topics on Earth. My job was to load all the PCS with articles on varying subjects in the MS WORD. Such topics were of great use for the learners and the organizers requested me to store more information that could be utilized for the trainees. Mean while my trainer was basking in my glory claiming about his achievement in making me perfect at the shortest time.

I was enjoying innovative painting/drawing through the ‘paints’. I was trying different styles of ‘fonts’ of varying sizes. The ‘icing of the cake’ was done when I got the BSNL-BROAD BAND, my own e-mail ID, and a few soft wares like Mozilla Firefox , Picassa - 2 were down loaded. One day I could successfully Download Google-earth and also Google stars. It was funny to fly place to place on earth and see the Paris Tower etc by sitting at the arm
chair that was recorded through satellite images. My correspondence through postal made its exit and every day I had to e-mail letters to my daughters and even to my grand children. At some stage I was considered as a nuisance amongst friends and relatives as I was collecting their e-mail id and discussed a lot about the PC. I was particular to send e- mail greetings for birth days, weddings and all sorts of events. Now I am able to get a peep to any book on earth of different sciences, culture, and religion. In short what was done earlier through libraries wasting time and energy to get particular information is done more emphatically with photos and illustrations that could be printed out. Yes! I also got a printer through which I got my letters neatly typed adding novelty and originality. Now all my banking is done E- way and the stock market dealings are ably executed through internet only. Last but not the least the ‘chatting’, ‘web camera’, ‘photo sharing’ etc takes the major portion of association with this machine.

There were a few letters to be written to my sister and others urgently from a place other than my residence. More out of compulsion than by choice I had to switch back to the old tradition of pen and paper. I was startled to notice that my hand was not at all moving over the paper which was a child’s play in my earlier days. Suddenly I could realize that I was crippled and badly needed a PC. My mind was clouded with depression when I recalled my earlier days when I could write effortlessly either English or Tamil with speed and accuracy in well settled hand writing. For the first time I repented for the huge price I had to pay in surrendering my originality and turned into a SLAVE to a machine. There was a personal pride and achievement in collecting information from libraries and other sources as there was a stamp of individuality in whatever you did with your own effort. Now any student can steal any answer for any question from the internet that could fetch him even Doctorate. All original contributions in any art or culture may be stolen globally and passed on as somebody’s product. Latest music, film and art are easily down loaded cheating the author thereby causing great loss.

All said and done I have become addicted to the PC. Every time relatives and guests knock at the door my wife responds that I am deeply routed in my revolving chair with the starry look in front of the screen. Many of them are also leveling questions to my better half about the work that is engaging me all the time at this advanced age.

I am certainly aware of my great loss in not spending more time with nature, family and grand children. Also the diseases associated with permanent exposition to computers are alarming. Any way, at a certain period of time I want to escape from the clutches of this Mohini and addiction. To whom I will seek the guidance or advice? Yes! There could be only one who may help me out through global authors and philosophers. I hope and wish you know the answer. You are correct. I have to search the internet through the world of fantasy—the computer!!


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