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Going Obsolete: Kismet Connection

      “Ting tong.Ting tong. Ting tong…..” In fifth grade I used to look with rapt attention at my dial-up modem as I tried to connect with the magic known as internet. “Sorry,you have failed to connect. Please retry”, a robotic voice grated more often than not on my already raw-from-waiting nerves. I would rush to check my telephone wires, looking for a cut that might be hampering my internet connection. When finding no fault with the wiring, I would take a screw driver in my hand and try to fix my CPU. Shake  shake shake. I would take my CPU on a hip hop dance. Now when I think of it, it’s a wonder that I didn’t make  whipping cream out of it. Or maybe I did, but never bothered watching the inside of it. I even remember getting internet scratch cards, hating it when a two hour card ended before time because I’d downloaded a video. Now I’d laughingly call it kismet connection ( luck connection). If I was lucky, my dial-up modem would work like a whiz for eons and when it was a bad-net day, it would simply ‘fail to connect’. Back then, I remember  sweating profusely and wanting to bang my head on the wall, as I stared at tons of geography research homework and a persistent red cross cross over the little computer icon on my toolbar. Dial-up modem…. well, there are things you simply can’t miss having. I’d rather give an arm than trade my WiFi device for that baggage or exchange my sleek laptop for the huge thing that was my computer. 

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       I had a love-hate relationship with my trusty old tape recorder. Fond of dancing, I’d close my room door and moved my body in all sorts of weird directions( which I back then considered dancing) on the beat of music. Sometimes I’d simply sit down beside it and cry into my handkerchief as a particularly sad song played. Often imagination took me on a ride where I’d be the heroine and a particularly masculine warlord kind of hero who’d loved me,cried for me after I’d died. Suddenly the thread of drama would break down as my tape recorder cried out like a banshee. With a ‘thishooooon shioooon shiooon shioooon’ it would  go silent only after I’d hit the stop button. The blockbuster romance movie in my head would go up in flames when I’d see the reel stuck in the plastic cartridge. That usually marked the end of a good cassette. There isn’t really any good debate as to why I should miss tape recorders. But I do, for purely nostalgic reasons. Reason’s that that have something to do with my grandma sitting beside me and listening to the music fondly as I played one of her favorite songs on the tape.

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 Technology is something I love.  I’d be a fool if I said that I didn’t need Google maps and could do with a printed paper map. I don’t mind having an email account and internet. I don’t mind not going to the post office to post a letter. I don’t want to sit on horses and camels to make my journeys. And I certainly would hate living in a cave with a lamp like Aladdin’s. But somethings just kept you rooted back in the good old days and made your relationships solid. I miss those things.  A little bit. 

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Daily Prompt:Going Obsolete

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The Goat In The Arm Chair

I have  goat-phobia. Undiagnosed and untreated. Goats, particularly those with big horns give me the goose bumps. As a child I hated reading Billy Goat Gruff and it was the only time in school life when my English teacher wasn’t too happy with me. As Muslims we celebrate Eid-ul-Adha each year. For which people get goats/cows/camels for sacrifice days before the celebration . It was that time of the year. There were goats in our backyard. And not just one goat……but twelve sturdy goats with horns. Since we used to be a big joint family. My cousins and sisters used to go out and feed them. Then they would take rounds around the neighborhood with their friends and feed them ‘bajra’ (millet) and water. Not me.  I didn’t socialize in those days. My ‘nerd’ status warded off any and all jibes of being a ‘fraidy cat’. I would conveniently be found with my nose in a book when kids gathered to feed the animals.

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I’d had a nightmare and couldn’t go back to sleep. Cuddling up with my stuffed teddy didn’t help. After tossing and turning for ages, I went to grandma’s room and sneaked beside her into the spacious yet hard bed. She just had a single thin mattress on her bed, which she’d been using on doctor’s advice after her back began to give her trouble. The house was gloomy and dark. Night bulbs flickered in shadows and made shapes. There were giraffes on the walls, and a something that resembled  vampire’s fangs. Crickets and night owls were croaking eerily in the dark some where out side. All in all it wasn’t my favorite setting. I pulled up the covers, peeping out from under them as I often do while watching a horror movie. Watchful yet not watching.

Then I saw something. Right across this room was grandpa’s. His arm chair was rocking and a goat was sitting over it. A white goat. I could see it’s sharp horns glinting under a pale yellow fluorescent bulb. I froze. My whole body went numb.  How did it get into the house ? My mind was whirling with possibilities, not all of them sane. I saw it move, and it looked at me. The arm chair moved, a dreadful creaking sound reached my sensitive ears. Now any moment the goat was going to come and shove it’s horn into me. I began counting. Counting, as someone told me, can eliminate fear, happiness, boredom or whatever it is that you’re feeling. I’d counted to a thousand. The goat didn’t sleep , it was however quite observant. I cringed in fear when I  saw it stare at grandpa’s sleeping form. It was either going to take him or it was going to take me. One of us were going to be killed by this goat tonight. I wanted to wake up grandma but since she’s a sound sleeper, I figured that the goat would reach me before grandma opened her eyes. Plus I had a temporary mouth paralysis and didn’t feel capable of stringing together a sentence. Hours went by. I heard the grandfather clock in the hall ‘tinggg’ after every one hour. Sleep eluded me until three in the morning, after which I went into a merciful slumber.

Grandma shook me in the morning. I felt stiff and sore. Goat. As soon as the word crept into my mind I sprung up. I looked at the arm chair. A big white, crumpled bed sheet was resting on it.

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Great Expectations

“Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.”
― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

Expectations. I’ve always had them. The coffee on my breakfast table, the chirping of birds, day, night, flowers, gardens, fresh air, mother in the kitchen, health, well being, money in my pocket……. I’ve been expecting all my life and expect one day to die. I’m so rooted into expectations, that more of them could have given me Asperger’s. I will surely do more than just hide under my sheets if mum calls out, “No sun today, we’re going to have a double night!” Having no ‘day’ will surely be a nightmare. Or maybe not, if you have a physics test in the morning.

  I expect birthday wishes to pour in by the midnight ,of the day before the ‘ageing day’. Those who love me less, wish me on the day itself. Then come the acquaintances(that is basically everyone in school, friends of friends, third cousins, other’s teacher’s………all the ‘friends’ on your Facebook page) who read your birthday wishes on their Facebook feed. Lastly come the haters who for the sake of common courtesy wish you “a belated happy birthday” just to dig it in your face that “you’re not as important as you think you are”.

 It’s 12 am. Our A’ level Math paper the next day.  I have my cellphone by my side. My Whatsapp, Viber, Twitter, Hotmail, Instagram accounts are all ‘logged-into’ and I look at the screen every two minutes. To hear that lovely familiar ping of a message coming in. I’d  just re-reviewed trigonometry, indices, kinematics for what seemed like the fiftieth time. Yet no pinging. Then suddenly the mobile pings. I excitedly grab the phone. But shucks! That’s just my stupid alarm warning me to sleep. I wait for another ten minutes. No text, no email….no nothing! It’s horrible. Well, I’m not going to waste my precious time on these good for nothing friends-cum-enemies. I dig my head into the pillow, and lamenting the shallowness of the entire world, I sleep.

Feeling groggy and disoriented I wake up to the beeping of the alarm, and some where in the background mum is ordering me to get out of the bed,or else “I’d be horribly sorry” Not a good way to wake up on one’s birthday, eh? Especially when you kept dreaming about the sinking of the Titanic the whole darn birthday night.  I jerk myself awake, automatically reaching out for my phone. No birthday wishes at all. A few texts on ‘best of luck for tomorrow girls’ from  our math teacher but that was ALL. And yeah, there was the date glinting in big bold letters on the screen. ‘In your face’ screamed everything. Feeling despondent, yet having no time to spend on brooding I did a last minute screening of formulae, and then ate the breakfast my mum had left me. Not surprisingly, given the general nature of the day, there was no birthday note like the last year’s , “Happy 18’th honey. My lil girl is all grown up :’) ” My mum doesn’t remember my birthday and the rest of the house was asleep save the hens in the backyard. And the ticking of grandfather clock.In my mind’s eye, I showed the middle finger(uh, rude) to the world and stomped out of the door with my backpack. 

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EXPECTATION

 

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REALITY

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AFTER we were done with the paper my best friend(some best friend), remembered that it was my birthday. ” Uh Ayesha…Oh my God! It’s your birthday….I am sooo sorry!” Then everyone gathered around me an wished me. But no gifts(SOME BIRTHDAY)Anyway they should all thank their lucky stars that my math paper had gone well or else we’d have a real big fight that day. Fight equals lots of eye rolling, ignoring, tossing of hair, caustic remarks etcetera.As for my mum, she had to double the sum on my gift card.

Even though the picture isn’t mine,it pretty much explains my case…..

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Private email accounts are sacred, you expect to sign in when you type the password. Not see a “wrong password or email” warning. Especially if the email account in question has been yours for six long years and you’ve never changed the password or email. Also if you used the email account as you life’s garbage holder. In the sent box everything ranging from cake smeared party pictures to farewell pictures were present. Your numerous stupid draft emails that you never got around to sending because of their awful stupidity. Letters of recommendation. Letters from friends and teachers from a time when people weren’t so much into instant messaging. Basically six years worth of private and well loved stuff that you hope to see forever. However, one weird day of 2012, I signed in to see the “wrong password/email” message. I kept trying to sign in for five long days, not being able to believe that the box won’t open. After that I sent emails from another account to Microsoft. Sadly, I remembered neither my security question, nor any other information since I’d been a twelve year old weirdo who gave importance to nothing. That awkward height spurting, pimply phase of life. So whoops….. six years of ,uh…’valuable material’ and a simple everyday expectation gone down the drain.

Expectations….. they ruin me. I’m expecting another lovely writing challenge next week.

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Weekly Writing Challenge: Great Expectations

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