This is the story of my love affair with the computers.
It started some time in mid eighties when the machines were just making an inroad in the country. I used to read about them and was fascinated. I wished to own one of them, but was so nonsensically expensive that I could only paper gaze them. The economy was still very shackled with huge import duty and we oldies could only satisfy ourselves with the whatever was offered or available in the market. But my one sided romance continued.
I was posted to Delhi in mid 1993 after the command tenure. Delhi was a big place. It offered many things which we only could dream in small B & C towns. So my search for my love began once again. And ultimately with a local friend, I found a vendor who would assemble a PC which I thought was OK – affordable.
I withdrew money from my DSOP fund to pay for the same. It costed me ₹ 62,000.00 in 1994 for an assembled PC which had a processor called 486 chips with a CVS (Constant Voltage Stabilizer). Those days UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) was not available. And the CVS could only stabilize the power current to the PC which if the light went off would shut the computer. Pentium chips were not introduced nor were there any “Windows” or “Microsoft Office” to work on. There was DOS programme which provided place (in monitor) to work on in black and white screen. Windows and Pentium chips were introduced a year later in 1995. MS Office came even later.
Well that was the cost for a love. As they say शौक़ की कोई कीमत नहीं होती! (No price is ever more for one’s predilection). So was it.
At that time (in 1994) internet was provided by only VSNL and it was very – very expensive. At that time there were only 2 or 3 “Internet Cafes” in Connaught Place and they charged more than ₹ 200 for an hour use. There was no gmail. There were no browsers. One had to use the PINE software in DOS for emails.
In 1995 the Govt made internet slightly cheaper for students. Luckily my elder daughter was studying in APS. And I applied on her behalf to get the internet connection from VSNL. That was a herculean task to get one connection with certificates from the school and lots of other paper work. But I did manage to get one.
I had no friends or relatives who were on internet and email. So I used to just send few lines to which ever email id I could found. Just for heck of it. I never got any reply. PINE was the software used for the email, as I have mentioned above.
The effects of Dr Man Mohan Singh’s economic policies, as Finance Minster in Shri Narshimah Rao’s govt, began to show in the market in 1994 -95 onwards. Pentium powered computers became available in the market but still exorbitantly costly. Bill Gate introduced the WINDOWS (no number as Win 10 at that time), which brought some colour to drab black and white screen and introduced browser “Internet Explorer”.
My first email id was created by me in 1998 in “hotmail” which I still maintain. Yahoo and AOL were dominant email clients and search engine in US and Europe. Later Google entered the search engine space with new algorithm and today we know what it has achieved. All other search engines are almost eclipsed by it. Google entered in to email client by the name of “GMAIL” which they announced in 2003-04 and at that time the “gmail” id could only be got by an invitation form people granted that privilege by the Google. I was one of the them who could dish out the email ids to people by giving them invitation to join the gmail revolution. I did that. It is all history today. Today one can have any number of email ids one wants.
My love for computer has not abated. I have switched from desktop PC to laptop many years ago. I now change my machine every four years to kiss the new one.
I must add that I can handle all my computer needs from writing papers in Word, making presentations in Power Point and doing mathematical manipulations in Ecel. I have learned all these by my self-study over a period of time. I was only taught by a boy (my computer Guru) initially for three days for an hour each to start and work with DOS with my first machine.
I have the honour and privilege to have created an investment module while working with AGI (Army Group Insurance) from 1993 to 1997. The AGI had already started to computerize the Directorate and TCS, a software company, was given the contract to establish the LAN (Local Area Nework) in AGI. Let me admit here that I do not know the coding or programming. I have never tried to learn that. But I can design a programme which I had done for the “Investment Module” for the AGI. It could give the future return of an investment by inputting the available data.
I also computerized the Bde in Joshimath 1997 – 98 when I was posted there as Dy Cdr. It was designed in a manner that no draft of any paper or letter needed to be typed and put up for approval. It was all done online. Like G3 would put up something which would be typed in computer, saved and fwd to the BM, whom he would info of the same. The BM would do the needful and fwd it to the Dy Cdr or Cdr, as needed and info on phone for the same. The final approved letter would be done and typed at the BM/G3 level and signed. It was also made future proof by incorporating internet access whenever it would be made available. I must mentioned that at that time Central Command HQ was in the process of getting LAN environment for themselves.
That was the story of my love for computer. I love it and continue to do so. Though these days smart phone has nibbled in to the share and attention from it. But I am sure it cannot wean me away from my first love by a hand held gadget.