It was my first laptop – acquired through a competition and subsequently stowed away for the last leg of my JEE marathon, along with my YA novels and ice-cream habit. Banished they were, these little luxuries, to the dark recesses of my room, leaving me to scramble for an alternate source of procrastination. After my extended period of penance, when time came for me to go away to college, I rejected offers from kin for a superior laptop, in all my naive sentimentality. I clinged onto my fruits of labour, wiping off the dust contracted from its exile under my desk. And boy smash the patriarchy girl, would I live to regret that.
From day one it waged a war against me, the Ancient One Dell, as if pursuing a vendetta left to fester a thousand years. WiFi refused to work. When it did, no sooner had I begun to suss out the precise combination of alterations that had induced the darned thing to function than the setting scramble. I’d be left wondering if the brief period of bliss had been nothing but a delirious dream.
It just occurred to me that one cannot banish a habit to a physical place, but for the sake of completeness and for my sense of sentence vanity, I refuse to change or replace the first few sentences.
Every now and then, I would momentarily admit defeat, and drag myself to the lab for the few assignments a simple faccha would have. This was, however, only marginally better than when circumstances compelled me to lug my not-entirely-functional machine any further than the next room, a lone sherpa trudging up the stairs. Things only got worse. A mysterious purple line developed (Out of the purple? Sorry, not sorry) . Voices emerged, quietly suggesting that the cursed thing be replaced. Softwares complained of incompatibility issues, requiring coaxing, bribes and curses to work. The chorus grew louder. I briefly considered it but forgot about it, being in the midst of a period of peace. The charger disappeared, and its replacement refused to charge. I simply shrugged it off, rationalizing that I’d probably sit more now. And no, that didn’t happen. Of course not. It simply resulted in my bed moving slightly closer to the other wall.
I was the person who’d would squint at fancy laptops, in their shiny shells, expressing confusion at why one would need such a machine, if not for pure vanity. The alien commands of non-plebian operating systems did nothing to sway my views, either. Then finally, the hard drive came loose, for no apparent reason. I had had enough.
I learnt the Socrates Method, promptly forgot about it, and listed pros and cons, only to learn that my parents were strangely supportive of me blowing spending internship money on a shiny toy essential. One would expect the process to be more complicated, but I figure they had grown somewhat sick of finding me the screwdriver.
A few months later, I am at peace. My bag no longer weighs me down. The survival instinct to be conscious of battery life is a mere ghost of my past. Hacking together workarounds for software is a skill I no longer use. A 6 hour code sprint never burns my eyes (as much). Perhaps, best of all, I can see no mysterious purple line snaking down the left quadrant of my screen.
– Sneha Reddy