Keys to Learning

We had a manual type writer when I was growing up. I chanced upon it during one of my many forays into our ancient store room.

Silent for years, dusty and weather beaten, it was begging for some attention. As I lugged it down to my room, all gasping breath and straining muscles, I realised that it would need more than just loving effort to get it into working condition again.

My action enthused and bemused my mother in equal measure. She had learnt short hand and typing as a young girl but couldn’t understand my fascination with this ancient machine. Yet, she introduced me to its body parts and what all would be needed to get it to function again. This entailed many interesting, foraging trips to town and to the `kabadi wala` on a regular basis.

That typewriter became my project and a friend during endless long and quiet summer days. I was determined to get it to work again and was also adamant to learn typing on it from the Pittman`s Manual Typing book I had found in my magical store room, complete with stand and firm, no nonsense instructions to go with it.

My hands became blackened by the ribbon that I had to change constantly and ached from the hammering of rusted, ageing keys.

Late into the night my erratic efforts would echo in a silent house, reminding me of urgent, life-saving messages being sent out from dingy rooms in some war-torn city .

Mother had long since given up on me.

At that time, I taught myself to type using both hands and never looking at the keys. Now, as my fingers glide silently over this extra sleek machine I use, I marvel at  the advancement of technology. I am also taken back ever so often on a trip down memory lane to my now redundant machine… One that taught me so much about life in its own way. Most importantly, it taught me to do something for the sheer love of it, with no thought about whether the effort will bear fruit or not….. 

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