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The magic of Command Z

The magic of Command Z

Photo for representation. File photo



Priya S Tandon

I still use the pen to jot down my thoughts. Later, I edit my writing on the laptop. Having worked for over an hour, I had just finished an article. My granddaughter wanted me to play with her and was vying for my attention. The phone rang. I went to the adjoining room to take the call. Minutes later, I got back to my desk to find the four-year-old smiling and typing away to glory on the laptop. I had ‘zzzzzzzzzz’, ‘xurt’, ‘ndhlel[sba0)ocven’, etc. all over my document!

My little angel grinned to show me that she too could type and had done so much work! I considered clicking on ‘close’ and ‘don’t save’, but that would mean that even my work would disappear with the click of that button. Then I decided to use the Command/Control Z (undo) option. I found clusters of gibberish disappearing from various parts of my document. After many clicks, I was able to get my document intact. I saved it and shut down the laptop. I was thankful to technology that I was able to undo the ‘mistakes’ my granddaughter made unknowingly.

This set me thinking. There was a time when people used to write with a thin bamboo stalk dipped in ink. Mistakes could not be corrected. Some years hence, there came pens and pencils. The typewriter was a revolutionary invention. I remember my father giving dictation to his steno-typist as a lawyer and later as a judge. If there was an error in typing, they applied correction fluid over the incorrect text. Once dry, the correct text could be written over it with a pen. Then came the cyclostyle machine and the photocopier. Later came fax machines and then of course desktop computers, laptops and iPads.

My software engineer son is my ‘go-to’ person for my tech-related problems. Whenever I cannot figure out things on my laptop or smartphone, I ask him. And he says: ‘It’s so easy, Ma…’ Today, I was grateful that he had taught me the Command Z option! Mistakes can be undone on the laptop, but it’s not that simple in real life.

I was reminded of a friend whose teenaged son had not been able to crack the IIT-JEE. In frustration, he gulped down poison from a bottle. When he started vomiting, he realised what a grave mistake he had made. He cried in pain and frantically pleaded with his mother to save him. She rushed him to hospital and did her best to save his life, but the poison had spread... he was gone. It was painful.

It’s important to tread carefully. Anyone seldom gets a second chance. In life, there is no Command/Control Z.


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