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Sunday, June 20, 2010

The miracle of email

My old typewriter looks reproachfully at me from the shelf it occupies. It’s a portable Olympia which gave me excellent service. It is not completely demoralized though, because the Man-of-The-House prefers it to the computer. Before that I pounded out what I thought was pure literature on my father’s old not-really-portable typewriter. It was also an Olympia which would be welcomed by a museum that knows its onions today. My father used to be a frenetic letter-writer. He would dash off letters to relatives, civic officials, industrialists and editors. He loved that machine and the machine loved him. My job at age 7 or 8, was to take a brush and clean the metal faces of the alphabets, because the typewriter ribbons would deposit crud on the o, e, b, p, a, g, s and d. After brushing them I would take a pin and scoop out every last bit of crud, then do a test run.

But once I was introduced to a computer which was more of a word processor, at my place of work, I was a lost cause. The computer owned me from the day I touched the keyboard. Just the lightest of touches, a flat keyboard, where you didn’t see stars every time your fingers slipped between the keys. You saw the letters appear like magic on the monitor and life I thought could not be better. Those were during the Wordstar days, when one had to learn several commands for bold, italics, paragraphing etc.

And then there was Word. And my word, it was beautiful. No commands, nothing! You just selected the font you wanted, the size and away you went. Then came the Internet with the dial-up modem. Now with the speed of broadband I marvel at my patience waiting for that dial-up modem to do its thing with that irritating sound of it revving up. The Internet came into my life and I became its slave. There was so much knowledge at the click of a mouse. And email was so easy. You could get information out to any Tom, Dick or Harry. You could use it to get different types of work done. Even repairs of washing machines and refrigerators.

I managed to get a washing machine with expired warranty replaced free with a brand new one, got my refrigerator fixed and generally became the bane of local service centres for electronic goods. Every time they took their own sweet time fixing my stuff, I would locate their head office and dash off emails and utilize the cc with great gusto. The cc in a typewritten letter could be a lie. You can inform the receiver that you have sent a carbon copy of the letter to his bosses and the Queen of England too; he could call up the Queen and find out that you were telling a big fat lie, but with email, the c.c. never lies. If there’s an email address in the c.c. slot, sure as the nose on your face, it’s gone to the person concerned.

The original receiver can see that he is not the only reader of that mail. His boss’s boss is also reading that mail. And if it has criticism of him in it, his boss’s boss is also reading it. This puts the fear of God into a lazy employee who feels his bosses are far, far away and he can do pretty much as he pleases. Uh-huh, not with the email c.c. It never fails to get the job done.

I am most grateful to whoever invented the computer and all its add-ons for one thing and one thing only – the music that plays on my radio every day. I love music and I am one of those strange characters that loves good rock, good metal, good reggae, good country, pop, jazz, rap, any music with melody, rhythm and attention holding lyrics. I hated rap but became a convert when I heard Baby Got Back. I still hate hip-hop.

But one day my world lost its lustre when my favourite RJ Mark Rocha went off the air. Along with him went the glorious mix of music from all decades. The new radio jockeys were only familiar with hip-hop and Lady Gaga and undiluted hip-hop and Lady Gaga clogging the airwaves throughout the day can make you gag. I actually switched the radio off. But I was not happy. I cannot do housework without music. And changing CDs while juggling mop and broom is an accident waiting to happen. Then email came to my rescue.

I found the radio station website and dashed off an email explaining to them the benefits of playing a mix of music so that people of my vintage who knew ‘real’ music could appreciate a little rap and hip hop. And the present generation and genext could appreciate the rich music of the 70s and 80s. I cunningly pointed out the demographic of those who listened to their station during the day, mothers and grandmothers at home, sitting ducks for good advertising. Someone somewhere read my email and the radio station began playing its lovely mix of music genres again. Now they are recruiting for sales and rj’s who know their music. It’s a win-win situation. Thanks to? The miracle of email of course.

1 comment:

Mark Rocha said...

Christ! this is a doozie ... I'm touched! Thank you so much; this coming almost year after I left Radio Indigo, it's heart warming to know that what I did not only had such a profound impact then, but is still remembered.
I've always told the guys in Bangalore, that Goa knows their music, and appreciates the real deal - they never listened, and unfortunately I never stayed to make them. I'm just glad I was able to give you and the people of Goa what y'all wanted to listen to, and in the process, a rockin good time.

loves always ...
Mark Rocha :o)