Thursday, May 12, 2011

We had moved to our new house. My father brought some stuff from his office and stored it in one of the numerous rooms in our new abode. My first summer vacation was spent sifting through my dad's stuff. I found out two useful things - a lot of books dumped in a store and a type writer. It was Olympia’s. My dad’s friend in Denmark sent it as a gift. My father didn’t use it at all. The few pages that were typed on it, needed a lot of resources. Since my father has vowed not to touch anything hitech, he would summon a court stenographer to come in the evening and type letters on it.
To me, the Olympia typewriter was a curiosity. I had seen my grandfather, who was a professor, working on it every Sunday morning. I didn’t know how it worked. The few initial attempts failed miserable as the keys failed to press and my small fingers would stuck between the keys.
My uncle’s wife, now an ex, was a British national. To us, she was the google of that time (mid 1990s) as she knew everything we asked her about. She had operated it during her school days in Birmingham. She happily instructed me how to operate it. I learnt to use Caps Lock and change the colour of ink. I still relish the happiness I got after typing one line on a sheet of paper. I showed it to everyone including illiterate maids who had no idea of the typewriter or the English language.
I spent many summer afternoons, when the whole family was taking afternoon nap, typing on it, much to the annoyance of the family due to its noise. Then came the first computer in the family. The typewriter remained in our study room, collecting the layers of dust. The son of my dad’s former paralegal clerk was jobless and he wanted to start a composing shop. We gave the typewriter to him. I had almost forgotten about the typewriter, but a beautifully written piece by Paul Bailey made me recall it.

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