Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Starting Off...

As the phone call came at that stage of the evening when one is not expected to make the emergency appearance “later in the day”, things were good.
“My computer isn’t working. I start it, and after ‘loading windows’, all I see is a blank screen. Blue. I don’t know what to do :-(”

“Don’t worry… Maybe it’s just a small problem that you can describe to me over the phone…”

This was two or three nights ago, instantly reminded me of this bash. Of course, I had made a similar phone call many years ago (we all have), to (someone who shall, from now on, be referred to as) Addy. I had joined a new school, we had magically become good friends (despite it becoming apparent two years later, they he/they all were the ‘in crowd’), and, his mum had bought him a 386-DX2 running Windows 3.1. Mine, supplied by the Vilayati Chacha, had 2mb RAM, and a stacker’ed 80mb hard disk. A Mitac 386 Laptop, a generic Taiwanese manufacture - maybe the company it still exists, churning out crap by the millions of units - which people like my VC (but, he wishes he was) get for budding geek nieces and nephews.. But that’s another post, another digression.

Anyway, my first panic-call was caused by inadvertently deleting (by mistake!) one of the most important icons in the Windows 3.1 Control Panel. Addy was a been-there-done-that (He still is. Can people ever change? The Ph.D question.) and was able to provide the cure. A simple two-step operation. Hence earning my eternal gratitude. Or, something like it, for six years of it, anyway - which is eternity when you’re 13 (and i’m almost 25 now)

But, back then, I was the little boy, bawling. Thinking I’d get whacked by my father.

Cutting to the present-now-past (maybe I’ll try to post on - when I’ve understood it more - the distinctions between the traditional/classical and poststructuralist understandings of time.) The malware responsible for hijacking this family-friend’s system was somehow painting the whole screen blue, and obscuring/denying the desktop. Understanding the symptoms took a while, because she didn’t even know is she was using Windows 98 or XP :-( The “I’m free tomorrow, mid-morning… Why don’t I drop by? I’ll can catch a ride with my father, since he’ll be on his way to xyz” followed soon thereafter. Reluctantly.

Which brings me to the problem of this first-post-after-many-years. A lot has changed, a lot hasn’t. It seems more and more evident that this first post, both is, and is not, an inaugural gesture. Thus associating itself with the attendant problems. Of beginnings not being what they are. Just continuations. Aletheia, in a way. I mean, I want to do/write so much. What’s already been clacked out is: One small transcript. Two suggested links-to-visit. One memory of a now-distant friend. One family reference (might be invoked again someday.) Details of a past laced with some computing. Of a youth maybe wasted in computing. And, most desperately (?), an allusion to hopes for a/the future. All while not getting to the point, the story, of this post.

The visit to these family friends was interesting for the many things it allowed me to think, and what i was drawn into. The turning point, maybe was when a renewed surge of curiousity about the upper floors in their duplex made me ask “what were those toys you would give me, to play with, when I came here as a child?”
(And, can I have them again, because I’m getting bored? Of trying to explain how some virii work, how firewalls help, and why ZASS is such a good program, because it combines both.)

Reader, if you download ZA, I’ll happily pass on some top-secret info that will enrich your experience of it. This info won’t enrich the company, ZoneLabs, or add a dubbulli to their cashflow. <—- See, I’ve already thrown in some of that good ol’ incentive, to those one or two people who *might* stumble across my page, to maybe bring them back. :-( Shamefaced bribery, but write in, atleast.

[Continuing our stories]

But upstairs was very private, and, (have I mentioned this before?) I had been curious about it. What kinds of boxes were the toys stored in? What did the cupboards that contained these boxes look like? She laughed, and talked about trains, lego and stuffed animals. About how these toys helped children, stopped her from being, in their thoughts, a Doctor, and turned her into an Aunty, changing the encounter from a visit to a doctor, into one of greeting a parent’s friend. That’s important, as she’s a child psychologist.

I once read somewhere about what fear (not ph33r) is to children. Seeing them cry is to witness their torment, in face of the end of the(ir) entire world. What this thought brings up is the portrayal of 11 year old Nancy in Sin City, as excellent visual image of how scared children can get, of what fear can be for them. If you’re as scared of Doctors-who-gave-injections-in-the-Butt-tocks as I used to be (and stopped being, six years ago), then ‘doctors’ who dealt with the mind/psyche seem even more terrifying. But, already, that’s the overanalyzing :-( 24 year old in me rambling.

A switch seemed flipped - the toys, and the plans for a Hyde-to-Jekyll transformation got me thinking: maybe my own mum had taken me for a session. Not to think of that as a ‘betrayal’, but something unexplainable and unremembered Didn’t/haven’t ask/ed her/them about it… Maybe my parents saw the future, and recognized the symptoms of troubled-’enngg’-man (”enngg” is how our English teacher in 4th or 5th would pronounce “young” - we were at a real loss the first two days.)

To end the ‘I came, I saw, I was able to solve’ part of this post… Was able to disinfect, inoculate, and subsequently, vaccinate their computer. What should’ve taken one hour took four, because every click, install and reboot had to be minutely, and simply explained. Apart from lunch interrupting work.

[So, on to some more substance for this post.] As we left, for me to get dropped to a friend’s place, and were walking to her car, she asked, “started driving yet?”

[Maybe my parents still consult her *shudder* ]

Explaining why I don’t drive (but choosing to avoid mentioning laziness), I described on how tense I feel in cars. Not driving, and thus being a passenger, means not being “in control of the situation.” What might actually be a harmless overtake or someone non-dangerously cutting across us seems to me fraught with grave danger…. Pile ups. (Non Hindi film style) blood-smeared and bandaged-swathed heads. Severed limbs. Or, lying on the side of a road, a reddened foot sticking out from under a white shroud. A crowd gathered around, holding their hands, new comers curious and craning their necks, asking “kya hua?” PCR vans screaming their sirens, and people magically breaking traffic rules, jumping the light, like the biblical waters parting, allowing it a way through rush hour traffic, shaving a few seconds or minutes off from the time it will take to get the injured to a doctor. Of how FartBoy (it’s a rearrangement of “fratboy.” Clever, na? If only he knew) and Calvin (I wanted to name her B.I.T.C.H - which can stand for (as I learnt recently) “ B eing I n T otal C ontrol, H oney”, but she’s almost my second oldest friend.) Uh. Of how FartBoy and Calvin had accidents, which each caused the death-in-the-back-seat-or-hospital.


‘Tension’ led to mentioning stress and worries about work; and, if I don’t write this post quicky, my head will start throbbing, because nearly half the day is over, and my grand plans - of what to read, think about, and write - are in ruins again. Very innocuously, she asked if those accidents were the roots of my deep seated fear of driving. I mentioned how extreme stress makes me sleep-walk and sleep-talk. And I spoke, as if I was outside my body, while watching myself babbling. Knowing not what we were headed towards, but knowing where we already were i.e. me talking to a psychologist, (obviously) being analyzed.

Eventually, she pointed out that one essential aspect of her work was being able to keep one’s own prejudices away. (Oh Gadamer, where art thou? And Heidegger, even, but a little less so.) Of how a psychologist can’t ‘teach’, but must allow (or, make possible) learning… And a promise, of a longer chat, some other time…

More, in another post, if I am able to connect the dots.
As this feels like a first post (despite being, officially, the second), a couple of shout outs (similar to the type seen in .nfo files are in order.) First, my rediscovery of Loobylu ., via she-who-shall-not-be-linked-(yet.) Loobylu’s illustrations are… well, see for yourself! Second, Saima, who I once collablogged with, and to whom I inanenly suggested “but Lahore and Amritsar are so close!” Please please (powerpuff girls style) drop me a line, Sai, even if it’s just ‘hi’, and bestow some good wishes. (I’ll start the process by clicking the link to reach your site - my IP starts with 61.16 - hoping you’ll know somehow, when/if you check server logs.)

Ugh, the desperations of a new blog


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