The Magic of Command Z

The Magic of Command Z

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 editing and polishing an article on my laptop. My granddaughter wanted me to play with her and was vying for my attention. My phone rang. I walked into the adjoining room to take the call that needed some seclusion. Minutes later, I got back to my desk to find my four year old smiling and typing away to glory! I had hundreds of zzzzzzzzzz, xurt, ndhlel[sba0)ocven etc. all over my document!

Ohhh! Ohh! My little angel grinned, to show me that she too could type and had done so much work! I sat her in my lap. 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 back in shape. I saved the document and closed my 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. When the typewriter was invented it was a revolution. 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 on to 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 the desktop computers, laptops and iPad.

Presently I use a MacBook Air. My software engineer son, is my ‘go-to’ for all tech-related problems. Whenever I cannot figure out things on my laptop or smart phone I ask him. And he says, “It’s so easy Maa…” Well! 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 test. In frustration he gulped down a bottle of poison. When he started vomiting, he realized what a grave mistake he had made. He cried in pain and frantically owned up to his mother, beseeching her to save him. She rushed him to the hospital and did her best to save his life but the poison had spread ... he was gone. Painful it was …

It’s important to tread carefully. Life seldom gives anyone a second chance. In life there is no Command/Control Z.

This article is published in The Tribune on 02.03.2024. It can be viewed here