In case days of word-processors and personal computers, people who come to my house and see my old Underwood typewriter make fum of it and fuss over it. They also describe it as antique, which I do not agree it is. If something is antique, it is not used, it is kept in a museum with a sign saying - do not touch. I use my typewriter every days; right this moment I am writing this column on it.
It is old, there is not doubt about that. I bought it about 30 years back, and when I bough it was second-hand, or may be third-hand or fourth-hand. I bought it at the New and Second-hand Typewriter Shop of Mr. Dias on the first floor of a building at the corner of Gogha Street and Bombay Samachar Marg.
I used to work for The Times Of India in those days and the need for a personal typewriter arose because I had started writing outside and making a little extra cash and the Times did not approve of its staff writing for other papers. So I had to write under an assumed name and in the privacy of my house on my own typewriter.
I bought a second-hand typewriter because it was the only one I could afford. Still, it cost Rs. 1,200, which was more than a month's salary. But it was a good type writer: it moved smooth like a one-owner-driven Rolls Royce, the keys fell with a gentle plonk on the roller, the types were neat and clean and well-rounded, the shift locks, the back spacer, the margin release, everything was provided for and worked, a lound bell warned about the approach of the end of a line.
I bargained of a free extra ribbon, which Mr. Dias most generously provided, paid the money, hired a coolie, placed the typewriter in a basked on his head, and took it home.
Since then I have changed houses several times. And everytime I have changed house, I have left all my belongings in that house behind, but the typewriter has come with me.
And the typewriter is as good as when I bought it second-hand. The same Rolls Royce smoothbess, the same clarity of type, little oiling, never a breakdown, no repairs ever. But now, knows my mind: all I have to do is put paper into the roller, place my fingers a half-inch above the keys, and think pleasant thoughts - and the typewriter starts moving.