It has always been a love-hate relationship between my ex-printer and I. We have both come a long way from the dot matrix printer days to the laser printer era. The dot matrix was more than a foot long and it took up sizeable space on my workstation. So when I switched to an ink jet printer it was a real upgrade. It required just half the space that the dot matrix did, the letters were clearly formed but on the downside it had a mind of its own and was temperamental. It was bad enough dealing with the erratic power supply but at times the printer decided to go off into a sulk. The paper would get jammed easily. No amount of pleading, cajoling or threats worked. Then I would have to literally go down on my knees, send a prayer to god and keep my fingers crossed and if lucky it would work again.
Or else the paper would just roll in and roll out. Anxious efforts to sort out a paper jam by pulling it out didn’t always work .It was a hit and miss game. Either the paper got ejected swiftly or conversely if bits got caught under the roller only the technician could fix the problem. Which meant a further delay.
My ex-printer also had an elephantine memory. Often it would spit out an old document the printing of which I had abandoned or end up printing two copies of an article simply because I had in a fit of printer rage given a second print command. A huge waste of ink no doubt but I dared not interrupt the process because that would involve another session of pleading and praying .Worse still, I had to shut down the system and printer and start all over again.
No matter what a hard time it gave me, on Ayudha Pooja the printer always got reverential treatment. I would, fondly dust it, sprinkle it with sandalwood paste and dot it with kumkum and adorn it with flowers and perform an aarthi and make an intention that it should no longer play truant.
Printers, like cars, have to be changed every two or three years what with newer models and unavailability of parts. The helpline on the printer isn’t of much help (your trusty local service guy is so much better) and if your printer decides to act up over the weekend god help you.
Like people in a bad marriage I surprised myself by holding on to the printer for longer than I should have. With e-waste mounting by the day and printers and electronic equipment accounting for the bulk of it I thought I should be a little more patient and help to save Planet Earth. My computer sales agent told me that old printers are only found useful by movie producers and directors who have them pulverised and used for stunt scenes. An unceremonious end for a device that held everyone to ransom in its heyday. With mixed feelings, I finally let go of my ink jet from my life.