Thursday, May 11, 2006

Freaky Gagdets/Gadgets Freaky

Throughout my conscious existence on this planet I had been fighting the loosing battle against the strange behaviour of the gadgets around me. If am to record the history of this battle it started as early as my toddler days when I thought that that my father's new watch could do the bouncing trick which I discovered was not true along with a painful memory of dad twisting and turning of my ears.

But that was before I attained literacy and had been able to read the manual successfully. Now that I have read and known what the gadget is supposed to do, the correct combination of the buttons or keys then why come they behave the exact opposite baffles me the most. And when all the possible logical answers fails, an X-File script fits in perfectly. It must be a conspiracy to stop the me to utilize the best of gadgets to the fullest extent. Don't ask me who and why this conspiracy was hatched as Scully and Moulder are still working on it.

Take the strange behaviour of my home theatre system. It’s a nice piece of electronics with woofers, sub-woofers, remote with all possible buttons and a 200 pages thick manual of what all you can do and cannot do. For a father of a two year old nothing is most valuable than his home theatre especially when the cinema halls are a strict no-no until your child learns to stop crying and wake up everyone who are trying to catch a nap at the multiplex. So all my movie watching other than what the TV channel dishes out happens with this piece of gadget.

But two days before it simply refused to do what it is basically supposed to do, play a godamned movie. I had got a CD of the movie "Being Cyrus". I switch on the player and I was greeted with a screen full of frozen pixels. The technician in me immediately got into action. I put on a head cleaner and try again. No better results I am still seeing the frozen pixels. Tried running another CD works fine. Next day go to the shop and complain how can they sell me a CD that doesn’t work. The salesman tries on his system and it works fine. Frustrated I buy the same movie from another shop in another part of the town. Come back, try again and it’s the same frozen screen again.

My player plays all that I have my movie collection. From the ekdum original ones to the cheap pirated ones, the hot-hot XXX ones to the nasty-nasty XXXX ones. But when it comes to playing "Being Cyrus" it always greets me with a screen of frozen pixels. Why on the earth would someone not want me to watch a movie that too "Being Cyrus" is something I can never understand?

This is not the first time...we had this music system that my roomie and me used to share. A product of Ipswich Car Boot Sale it was an amazing piece of machinery for its price of 15 pounds. Be it Bangla folks or the African drums, Bappida's Disco beats or Death Metal Rock it played them all exactly the same way it as was recorded in the studio. But then my roomie went to a Bob Dylan's concert and returned a Convert. Wherever he could lay his hands on or click his mouse he'll buy Dylan's CDs. I personally remember collecting at least 5 times from the eBay delivery. After playing Dylan for two three months our CD player became a Convert too.

It stopped playing all other musicians except for Robert Allen Zimmerman. If you try playing Kishore Kumar it made him sound like a toad with a bad case of laryngitis. If you try Simon-Gurfunkel it made those sweet pair of voices sound like Gupi-Bagha before they got the boon from Bhooter Raja.But put one CD from Mr. Zimmerman, it played like the master singing himself in your living room. Till date I haven't deciphered what secret message my conspirators were trying to send through the lyrics of Subterranean Homesick Blues.

But the deadliest of all was the ATM machine in my first office. ATMs are always the simplest of all machines - easy to understand, easy to use. Just put your card, key in your pin and say how much you need. Like an obedient genie they will churn out the amount in fresh-minted currencies except for this one. I had tried all the other ATM kiosks from my bank across the city. They would behave like a well-groomed puppy that dutifully fetches his master’s newspaper without a single teeth mark. But this one behaved like a mangy old canine whose purpose of existence was to heckle me with its barks and bites.

Any time, any day, any night, any transaction I tried on this machine it invariably would gobble up my debit card. Be it cash withdrawal, changing ATM pin or even checking account balance I was always greeted with a screen “The transaction could not be completed. Your card has been withheld. Please contact our nearest branch”. I use to watch in despair all my colleagues coming out with wad of notes and smiling teeth but I was never able to join those happy faces.

So every time I would either bike 10 km to the next ATM kiosk or ask a trusted colleague to operate on my behalf. Once or twice he tried encouraging me to do it myself but it always ended with a trip to the bank to recover the card. I became quite a known face at the bank. Every time I stepped inside the banker lady in charge of cards would greet me with a "Oh no, Mr Som. Not again!!”

Now that I have relocated and have jumped 3 odd jobs in 3 different cities I still have dreams of visit to that ATM. In my dreams as soon as I try to put my card inside it sucks my hand and then my whole body. The dream always ends with me trying to pull myself back from the clutches of the devilish ATM with the emergency alarm ringing TRNNNNNNG… TRNNNNNNG. Breathing heavily I wake up with a heavy perspiration all over my forehead to find my alarm clock ringing.

Scully ... Moulder are you listening?

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