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Till death do us reform

It was said that when you were in danger of dying, imminently your entire life would flash past your eyes. Nowadays it’s enough if your laptop croaks.

So I had this deadline. The closer it came the more important it became for me to read just one more page of my murder mystery. Finally the trees outside the window turned into shadowy shifting shapes. The familiar deadline depression/anxiety/guilt began to pool in my stomach. I opened up my laptop to start writing. Just then a gust of wind banged the door shut.

The wall vibrated. My laptop went off. I fiddled with a few buttons. Nothing. Now, a bit panicked, I tried a few more times. After a few on-off attempts a feeble click sounded, indicating remnants of life. Or perhaps, a death rattle.

I had to accept it. The laptop was indeed D-E-A-D.

First my heart sank. I began to think of all the things that could be wrong with it. My brain yo-yoed from straw clutching — probably lose contact — to apocalyptic visions — oh no the hard disk has crashed, oh god it’s completely died, it can’t be repaired and everything is lost!

Then came denial. I called a friend and discussed it calmly. It’s probably something minor. We agreed there was no point thinking about it till the service centre looked at it.

Then came the manful responsibility. I messaged three people to ask who their Mac repairers were. One called and laughed heartily at the story then told me the very complicated process I would have to follow to get the attention of his Mac repairman. The only missing obstacle was a blood drinking witch who sharpens her teeth as she guards the workshop portals. Another messaged a number saying — I guess he’s as good or bad as any of the other Mac prima donnas around. I felt discouraged.

Then began the movie — the one where your life flashes past your eyes. Why why why hadn’t I backed up my files for the last three months. Working 17 hours a day? That’s no use I derided myself — confess, there were at least three opportunities you squandered! Why hadn’t I paid attention to that weird way the bottom lining has been coming off. Who did I think I was, being so cool about it, Tom Cruise in Top Gun??

Then came the sadness. Oh no, all those nice pictures of my niece, now lost forever. The music!

The bitterness followed soon. How fishy that this has happened just two months after the warranty has irrevocably expired! Hah!

In the middle of it I must guiltily confess there was a truant relief. Now I could not meet the deadline and what’s more I had a legitimate excuse! It was like the time in Standard V when I did not do my homework and reached school in dread, to discover there were no classes because the Pope had died.

My eyes drifted back to the murder mystery.

I scolded myself — the resolutions followed. I would never procrastinate again. Not on servicing or taxes or dental appointments! God please make the computer ok and I’ll be good. The black square of the computer screen stared back lifelessly.

I called the engineer and made an appointment, dully. Then I desultorily pressed the power button. Suddenly, the computer sputtered back on. Bhagvan ne meri sun li! And that’s how this column got sent on time.

Now to back up the computer. And install doorstoppers. I’ll do it as soon as I’ve finished the murder mystery.

Paromita Vohra is an award-winning Mumbai-based filmmaker, writer and curator working with fiction and non-fiction. Reach her at www.parodevi.com.

The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper. 

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