Wednesday 27 April 2011


The world’s last typewriter factory located in Mumbai, India is closing down due to poor sales. Godrej and Boyce are closing their plant as computers have finally become more popular in the region – apparently things took a bit longer than in the West. Apparently, the company’s primary market now will be amongst the defense agencies and government offices, so at least the typewriter will be around for a little bit longer.
Oddly, I have so much love for the typewriter, perhaps because at heart I am a luddite; I also think it is sad and slightly terrifying to watch all these things we grew up with suddenly become obsolete. I can see myself one day taking Lucian to a museum with ‘old fashioned’ dial-a-phones, Polaroid cameras, vinyl, CDs and the like and saying, ‘look honey, that’s what we used in my day.’ Of course he will look bored as hell and call his best friend via hologram and then jet off across town on his flying scooter. Or some horrifying vision like that.
We had several typewriters in the house when I was growing up. My father loved them and would do most of his writing on them. To this day, there is something so nostalgic about that sound of the keys crunching away (the one we had made a crunching sound, I swear), followed by the ‘ding’ as it reached the end, and then the whir as you sent it back to the other side. [Fine, I admit, I’m not up on typewriter speak, but you get the idea]. My dad used to write us letters on his typewriter. They’d be short little notes when we were at camp, or he was away and he’d sign ‘Daddy’ at the end with a big D with his favorite Sharpie pen. I often bring them out purely for the nostalgia factor of seeing what a typewritten note looked like. An old email just doesn’t have the same feel to it.
I also credit the fact that I can type obscenely fast to the typewriter. When I was little, I used to sit and type in my dad’s office for ages. I of course had no clue what I was doing, but I would pretend I was the fastest typist on the planet and produce pages of jkl;ekw;l’relknl;adk;lrei[&*. Yes, we weren’t that aware of the environmental effect of blazing thru paper needlessly. 
Then of course there was typing class in high school. We’d be given several paragraphs and have to copy them as fast as we possibly could while there was a stop watch glaring at us from the teacher’s desk. You could practically hear the sweat dripping down people’s brows as they tried to blaze through the copy making the least amount of mistakes as possible. 
This was of course long before spellcheck and the delete button; back then it was liquid paper and a dictionary. Lord help me, I’m starting to sound like a grandparent who exclaims that they used to have to walk to school for miles in the driving snow. I can hear it now… "In my day King we used to have to pick up a large two pound dictionary and laboriously flip through the pages until we found the word to make sure we had spelled it right. And then if we hadn’t, we had to take this liquid white nail polish type of stuff and blot out the word, then wait for it to dry (it never seemed to) and type over it. And it left these big white blobs all over the page and looked awful - ooooh the struggles of our generation. 
You have no idea how lucky you have i*…oops, I meant, ‘it’. Gosh this generation has it so easy.

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