And All I Did Was Type

I watch my colleague as he uses two fingers to painstakingly type and send out an email. It wasn’t a long message but it took him awhile to complete it on his laptop. I almost pulled the keyboard  from him so I could do it myself but I held onto my patience.

I could so easily have been just like him. Instead, I have strong keyboarding skills that I learned a long, long, long time ago. Little did I know how much I would come to value them!

I had just finished my tenth grade of high school and my life was about to hurtle out of control.

Starting college – technically “Pre-University” to complete my 11th and 12th grades before starting on my degree, and then finding myself engaged to get married to some stranger in a country and continent far, far away. It was all too much!

I had a few months before I would be whisked away so I decided to quit my pre-university and go spend time living with my parents in the small town which they called home. I figured that I could always go to school later on in life but that that special time with my mom and dad would never come back again. Not sure where I got this wisdom but I never regretted that decision!

As the days passed, I found myself restless and had to something with all my free time. So my dad suggested that I spend a couple of hours each day to learn how to type. Maybe he thought I could be a secretary when I grew up? Whatever it was (serendipity?), I decided I would do it just to so I had something productive to do for part of the time.

What a lucky move that was!

In a small, dingy room no more than 10 X 10 feet were about five typewriters. Every morning for those few months, I would go and learn from this old man – a retired professor as it turned out, who was determined to teach me how to be a fine typist.  I had to learn how the keyboard was organized, how my fingers should be positioned on the keys and practice, practice, practice. Then, practice some more.

young clueless and typing

By the time I was done, I was one fine typist indeed. But I had absolutely no idea what I was supposed to do with this skill.  Soon enough (too soon!), it was time to get married and leave India for the US so there was really not much time to contemplate any of this anyway.

Little did I know that it was a skill I would use during every single day of my career. How much time have I saved all these years? I can guarantee it adds up to a large amount given how much written (typed!) communication there has been over the years. I can look back now and see that it was one smart move, unnoticed at that time. It turned out to be more worthwhile than whatever I would have learned in college for those few months.

No two-finger typing for me, oh no. No looking at the keyboard while I type. Just as I think about what I want to write, my fingers begin typing effortlessly. Such a basic skill, yet such massive dividends it has paid! There were no real goals, no big plans, just another small, accidental gift on my life’s journey.

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Posted on March 2, 2014, in Back in US, india, life and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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