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My Experience as a Computer Student
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My Experiences as a Computer Student

Sajal

Published in CORE, Nov/Dec, 1994

 

‘Computer operator/instructor required’,‘Secretary required for an established company’, ‘Executive manager required’. Upon seeing the advertisement headlines I was so excited, I wanted to read them at a go. But my excitement suddenly faded when I saw the condition in all cases: ‘computer knowledge such as WP, Nepali WP, Lotus, dBase etc. is essential.’ I blamed for my luck. So I also decided to join a computer institute.

 

I went around Kantipath, Baghbazar and Putalisadak area which one of my friends named as ‘the Nepalese Silicon Valley’(I don’t know why). I was a bit confused by so many signboards in that area. Finally, I stepped into one of the computer institute that had the biggest signboard. When I went inside, I saw a notice saying, ‘Please take off your shoes’. I obliged and met a person at the reception. He took me to a computer room and introduced me to another person, Mr.Guruji. I saw few people glued into one computer playing chess. Others were gazing at the keyboard to find a key and I thought they must have been learning to type. Why do they have to come to a computer institute to learn typing? I questioned myself. I scanned the room and I saw a big notice hanging on the wall: ‘Dust kills the computer’. I understood now why I had taken my shoes off  but I could not figure out why there is a layer of dust on top of all the computers? Maybe taking the shoes off at the gate will not add in the already accumulated dust or maybe a little dust will not kill the computer, I guessed!  Then another notice caught my eye, ‘Please check your floppy for viruses’. I thought the floppy must be something to do with the computer but how come they catch viruses? My mind remained blank. It was only when Mr.Guruji led me out from that room that I felt more relieved because I was also constantly aware of the smell of socks in the room and was also a bit suffocated. He then explained me the various courses they offer at their institute. I was more interested in learning all the stuffs which are essential in getting a job. Guruji defended his institute, ‘You can still find cheaper rate than this at other institutes. The new institutes they don’t care much about the quality of teaching. They are too commercial. They just want to accommodate as much students as possible in few computers. We have experienced instructors, even engineers and we provide every person one computer.’ I was quite impressed with him so I decided to study a 5-in-1 package even though the price was a bit expensive. I

 

I still remember the first day I touched the computer, I was really excited. I always liked the practical classes but I hardly got enough time. Today, it’s been one and a half months. I am so interested in computers that I wanted to buy my own computer. So I visited a local hardware company. The salesperson I met, Mr.Atibol went on and on like a parrot  mentioning the terms such as 286, 386, 486, Apple, RAM, Hard-Disk etc... I was amazed, puzzled and totally confused. I did not understand much of what he said. I told myself,  ‘You fool! you haven’t learnt anything.’ I finally told him, ‘I want a computer to work Lotus, WP, dBase and also to play games and I don’t understand the terms 286, 386 etc.’ The salesperson very confidently told me that every computer will run those stuffs, and that they will install everything free of cost if I buy the computer. I had heard that software were expensive, but how come they are giving them free? I could not believe it! I grew suspicious. I had a feeling that there must be something wrong, either with the computer or with the software they are offering. I just gave him an excuse and then I left.

 

Luckily, I met my engineer friend at RatnaPark and I told him of my intention of  buying a computer. He suggested me not to hurry. He knew few vendors in the town, and he would get me a good computer at a reasonable price.

 

After I departed with him, I decided to go to a computer company recently opened by some of my colleagues.  When I entered their office I found that they were in the middle of a hot political discussion and I also joined them. I did not realize that it was already five o’clock when the discussion closed and we went to a CyberCafe to have momo. At the nearby table people were discussing about computers:
 

“You know Nepal will also be producing computers soon and Nepalese software is also selling in the international market”, one of them seemed really proud of himself upon mentioning the news.
 

“That’s good news! Isn’t it?”, the other replied. Then the other one started explaining about his incident while purchasing a computer. I also got really interested in their conversation. He said, “ I once bought an assembled computer from a local hardware vendor. I bought it real cheap but after a week I got trouble with my monitor, it started flickering. I used to play games at that time so I was like an addict and wanted it to be rapaired quickly. I phoned the vendor and stated my problem. He told me that he would come and see it. Weeks passed and even months, I phoned him nearly every day but he did not come. Finally after three months he came(I had to wear spectacles by then) and said that I should change the monitor because I do not have a warranty and I have to pay the whole amount for it. I was really angry with him then I told him why hadn’t he given me the warranty at that time. He simply said if a warranty is placed in a machine then I could not have got it so cheap.”  “Then what did you do?”, the other person asked.  “Well, I told him that I won’t buy another and took it to a maintenance shop. Only after a month that I finally got it repaired but I have to pay quite a hefty amount. After a month or so, my computer started behaving in a peculiar way so I decided to sell it and finally sold it even at a lower price.”

 

I was really enjoying their conversation but all of my friends wanted to leave so I also got up. I said goodbye to the friends and  left for home. On my way home, I was recalling the day’s happenings. How and when am I going to buy a computer? Shall I wait a while and decide upon my engineer friend’s advice? He is a busy person and it’s very hard to meet him. Shall I visit few other hardware vendors and ask them to explain me in an easy manner? No! they might explain in such a manner that I may be more tempted to buy an expensive computer than an essential one. What shall I do? Shall I join another course to learn more about the computer terms and decide?  Questions keep creeping up in my mind but I could not find a suitable solution. Tired and confused, I reached home.

 

I tossed and turned the whole night and finally decided to wait for that day when I will finish my 5-in-1 course. I hope I will get a job and a computer after that....................

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