Deciding to learn to type was a very good decision.
I generally take good decisions. Not due to my excellent judgement or anything, but perhaps because I love the 'Status Quo' so much, that it takes much effort on my part to start anything. So if decide to do something then it's because I really-really want to do it.
I had always wanted to learn to type. In 8th-9th standard, when I wrote my first novel, (He he he. Yes I have written two novels and have made detailed notes for a third. When I become famous I will get all that crap published.:-) I used to think, how nice it would be if I could type it all neatly on my own typewriter? It was then I think that I asked my dad if he would buy me a second hand typewriter. But my dad loves the Status Quo just as much, and gives a lot of thought to things and all that. And if decides to do something then it's because he really-really wants to do it. So the typewriter never came.
I remember reading a kid's mystery story where there was some report-writing or some such thing involved and the winner would get a brand new type-writer. The heroes/heroines of the story did get their typewriter in the end. Hmmm.
Computers have generally failed to impress me too much. Though the Internet and Google are surely the result of the Punya we have all gathered in our previous Janmams. The things that a PC itself can do, I don't care too much for. Except. The Keyboard-Monitor-Notepad/NE association. And that because I know how to type.
Anyways, I learnt to type in the summer vacation of my second year in Engineering college. In our DCF (Departmental Computer Facility) there were a couple of these really old computers with small, green monitors. There were the good comps also, but if you were not an Olympic sprinter and didn't hurry after class, you generally got to check mail only on those shady Green comps. Now on these comps., the keyboards were totally misbehaved. Backspace wouldn't work and if you did some particular thing ( I don't remember what) the comp gave this string of beeps and chilled out for sometime. Imagine working on these comps, by the way on Vi Editor, looking alternatively at the keyboard and the monitor, typing really really carefully so that you did'nt make a typing error. If you did'nt know, the backspace equivalent in Vi is press Esc first, then use 'x' to delete. To start typing again one has to type 'i'. Many a times one pressed an 'i' too many, because the comp was slow and the first 'i' didn't show up, and then had to press Esc and 'x' to delete that extra 'i' and then type an 'i' too many again as one tried to resume. Whew. Even recollecting those moments gives me the creeps. Writing a three sentence mail ( and generally one didn't write longer ones) was a complete workout. They used to ask me 'Hey Pills, how do you keep in shape da?' and I used to tell them.
The point of the above paragraph was, I think I thought wistfully during one of those three line mails, 'How much easier this whole thing would be, if I knew how to type?'.
So it was, that in my second year summer vacation I went to our then home in Karwar with a steely resolve not to waste the summer. One of the things I would do was to learn typing.
Thankfully, we used to get more than two and half months off in the summer. It took me more than a month to make myself go looking for a typing class. If my home was in a city like Bangalore heaven knows where I would have found one. In a small town like Karwar it was easy.
And I wanted to learn on the typewriter, not on a comp. keyboard. On the typewriter the keys have to be HIT and even your little finger has to be up to the job of slamming the key down. It is really good pracice.
I made decent progress. I had told the teacher that I wanted to finish the whole thing in a month. So I didnt want to learn numbers and punctuation marks and special characters. Just the alphabet.
By then the rains had started in Karwar. But I went to class regularly, sometimes soaked to the skin (literally, for it RAINS in Karwar and I preferred going on my dad's old LUNA, which I think I had also learned to drive that summer). The fact that for the first time in my life the sex ratio in my class was overwhelmingly girls >>> boys, perhaps helped me bear the brunt of the monsoons with a smile on my face. It also perhaps helped me to learn to type looking neither at the keyboard nor at the monitor/paper.
When I went back to college I felt the immense pleasure of being in control when I typed. An immense feeling of gratitude towards myself for making me decide to learn to type. I still feel that pleasure whenever I type more than a hundred words.
If you are a writer (and I love it when I am called one) then you must know how to type. There's something about typing which kindles creativity. I don't know what. But there surely is something. PG Wodehouse and Agatha Christie. They typed. They have mentioned it somewhere. And have you seen 'Finding Forrester?" It's about writers and man...you must see those guys type...Ghalib says: Ghalib sariir-e-khaama navaa-e-sarosh hai (Ghalib, the sound of a pen scratching on a paper is the sound of Angels). The click of a typewriter and the 'pitt' of the keys striking the paper is no less pleasing. Some computer key boards come close.
I make it a point to flaunt my skills. Anyone getting bored typing his report, and I extend two helping hands. 'Hey let me do it a while. I know how to type.' And then I try and type really really fast, looking only at the source-paper by the side of the keyboard. As I said I like to flaunt my skills. By the way, the Somerset Maugham passage in my previous post? I typed that pretty fast too.