by sidin in

Close friends (Pastrami basically, and that fellow who sells dabeli outside Wadala station) know that this author has been harbouring a subtle fondness for the ASUS eee PC for some time now. Ever since the laptop made it's appearance on tech blogs all over the world and took the 2007 Christmas gifting season by storm I have secretly collected images of it, read reviews, bookmarked blog posts and pretty much devoured anything with three e's in it in close mutual proximity. Did I say subtle fondness? Sorry. What I actually meant to say was: I AM TOTALLY FREAKING OBSESSED BY IT. (In school comedy circles some smart ass would now say "Accha! You love it so much? Then go marry it. Ha ha ha!" SLAP.)

Not since Cadbury's Ulta Perk have I wanted to possess something new so badly. (And that one almost pushed me to therapy. "Wafer outside! Chocolate inside!" it seems. Fools.)

However no amount of compact computing power, flash based hard drives and inherent minimalist cuteness will let me own one. That is because in-between the ASUS eee PC and yours truly stands a force that is immovable, inflexible and utterly asympathetic: (cue: drum roll, theremin music, that 300 Spartan fellow screaming in the distance)

THE MISSUS! or even more accurately: THE NE-MISSUS.

Left to the missus the whole world would have one computer per family, one operating system (Windows Vista), one model mobile phone: Samsung slider, one gaming console with EVERY Mario game ever made and absolutely no chance of a portable gaming thingie like the PSP. All those things would be redundant, uncalled for and "phaltu bakwaas".

This is because the missus does not believe in "wasting money" on any gadget or gizmo that, in anyway whatsoever, is redundant.

USB Mouse? Not till the touchpad is broken.

FIFA 2008? Have they changed the rules since launching your FIFA 2007? No? Maybe when they introduce an additional ball or something. No, "golden goal rule" is not good enough.

Nothing whatsoever is permitted at home which has a name beginning with a lower case "i".

So much so that I have been driven down the tawdry path of cheat code entry and god-mode playing in order to finish my PS2 games and facilitate purchase of new ones. After months of tireless effort currently our home languishes with just three laptops (one in working condition), a home theatre, a PS2, two USB pen drives, a portable DVD player, a digicam, a handicam and wireless router in a 2BHK that is routinely hacked by the neighbours.

The only real gadget luxury allowed at home is the missus' very own Sony Vaio in Pink. This is currently the pride of the household and no similar computing device may be purchased till "Her Pink Vaio", as it is to be called at all times, is defective beyond repair. This has unfortunately led to the eeePC moratorium.

("Pink Vaio" is beyond reproach, criticism or censure. A brief debate occured at the time of purchasing the said item from Vijay Sales in Worli, mainly revolving around product colour. This quickly concluded in a comprehensive review of my security as a male and inadequacy thereof.)

For many days and nights I thought this gizmo aversion was a foible unique to the missus. That is till I dropped in at the Croma at Juhu with the Missus, Pastrami and Pastrami's first cousin (on the father's side) this weekend. The Croma at Juhu is the most complete gadget store I know in Mumbai. It may not have the esoteric, "sourced from secret Shanghai market" quality of Heera Panna merchandise. But the store is large, roomy, filled to the brim with tech and use thankfully few plastic-sticker-aluminium-foil cellphone mockups.

On the contrary, most things are nice, shiny and in satisfying shades of grey, black and other such techie tints.

We were early for our movie at PVR and had dropped in for a few moments of harmless browsing. I immediately ran to the eeePC on display and began to type and use it with elan to show the missus how easily the both of us (eeePC, me) melded together as if one entity. As if meant for each other.

Sidin: See dear how, despite the keyboard being so "uselessly small" according to you, I am able to type something long and complicated so easily without errors Sidin: *type type type* eeePC: Sidih Subby Badulur Missus: Verbatim is the word. Sidin: *sheepish grin*

But then as I walked around the store checking out computers, computer speakers, universal remote controls (sigh), and gaming consoles I noticed something that quickly turned out to be a trend:

Guys trying to prove to their wives/girlfriends/significant-others why they need to buy tech stuff, and pathetically failing in the attempt.

All around the store young men, gizmo greed glimmering in their eyes, tried to nonchalantly hustle their partners next to devices they fancied. They then extolled virtues of the device only to have the women beat their reasoning into pulp each time.

Here are some edited excerpts from overheard conversations:

    Conversation 1

Hopeful Young Man 1: Wow. A phone with a 6 megapixel camera. Darling look how... Ne-missus 1: That's four megapixels less than our digital camera. HYM1: But we can carry this thing anywhere! Imagine the mobility! N1: I am carrying the digicam in my handbag right now.

    Conversation 2

HYM2: Brilliant! A 500GB hard drive with media output to TV. Imagine darling I can just directly stream a video file right into our TV without writing CDs or anything. N2: But you don't have any video files. Besides when would you watch them? HYM2: Well I watch DVDs when you go to the gym you know! N2: Which ones? HYM2: WORLD MOVIES! I watch world movies! N2: Yay! I love world movies! Let's buy one. We can both sit and watch everyday all cuddled up. HYM2: LOOK A PINK VAIO THERE! N2: Where where? *scurry* HYM2: Phew.

    Conversation 3

HYM3: Sweety! N3: *suspiciously* Yes? HYM3: I was thinking maybe it is a good idea to buy a nice 16GB Kingston pendrive so I can always carry my important data with me at all times. Then I never have to call office people to mail me anything if I am working from home. It is a simple solution really. N3: But you have an office laptop no? That has all the data? HYM3: Yes of course. But I am in a bus, need to send a client an important presentation with embedded video, and I am not carrying my laptop? N3: Well then what is the point in having a pendrive? HYM3: I will... I can... I... will then... !@#$

All these snippets of conversation have opened my eyes. I now see that my missus is not alone in her aversion to gadgetry. It is a universal phenomenon. I feel a little guilty for having seen her in such bad light for so long. It is not her fault at all. Maybe, just maybe, responsible, sensible wives of geeks are wired that way.

How does your wife stifle your techie urges? Stall your circuit cravings? Tell me.

I, in the meantime, will go home, switch on "Her Pink Vaio", place it by the window and then keep both open all night. Hopefully at some point in the night the rain will short-circuit it. (A non-warranty incident.)

Wish me luck.

P.S. Image courtesy Wikipedia, missus