Traveling with laptops
Everyone’s been amazed at how Madhu and I seem to be traveling for the last 6 months without having faced any major obstacles or issues; we haven’t had a single bad experience. We have been lucky, I guess! We’ve had days when we’ve not particularly liked a place, or downright hated it, causing us to pout or sulk, but in general, it has been pretty much smooth sailing until last night, when the Gods decided that it was time for a little test !
After exploring Thanedar on the evening of May 6th, Madhu and I were back at Banjara Retreat, happily seated on our bed with our laptops, surfing the net and updating our blogs. Madhu asked for a glass of water and I reached over for the copper jug and glass that was on the table on my side of the bed. As I poured water into the glass, the lid of the jug suddenly popped out causing a whole lot of water to spill on to my precious, pink netbook . Madhu immediately grabbed it and tried to shake off the water but by then the damage was already done; the machine went blank never to restart again ! To make things worse, the internet data card, which was attached to my netbook at the time the water spilled, also stopped working . Madhu called Reliance’s customer service and was told that the nearest service center was in Shimla where we could get the unit repaired or replaced (it was under warranty).
We knew we could manage with just Madhu’s laptop but we could definitely not continue on with the trip without an internet connectivity card. Not only would the updates to our website lag but we would also not be able to research our travel destinations. So today morning we checked out of the lovely Banjara Retreat in Thanedar and took a cab back to Narkanda, which is on highway 22. There we checked into a hotel and dropped our bags. Then we took a bus to Shimla, which took nearly 3 hours to cover 65kms ! It was a frustratingly slow ride.
In Shimla, the service center informed us that our unit was beyond repair and would need to be replaced, which can only be done at a Reliance store. Luckily, there is one in Shimla’s Mall road, which is in the heart of the city. So we took a bus to the base of the hill and instead of climbing up to Mall road, like we did last time, took a lift to the top for Rs.7 per person each way – very convenient! At the store, we were told that our unit was of broadband type, which Shimla is not yet equipped with and therefore, they cannot replace it for us . We could get it exchanged in Gurgaon, from where we had originally bought it. But Madhu and I were in no mood to abort our trip and make the long journey back to home where we would definitely be stuck for at least a week. We felt strongly enough about this even though we knew that if we went home, we could possibly try to salvage my netbook as well. Our only other option was to buy one of the lower-speed data cards, which was available at the Shimla store, and which could be activated immediately on a prepaid plan. This coupled with the fact that the data card would only give us as much speed as that supported by the region’s infrastructure, made it a good deal. So we bought it with an unlimited data plan and had it activated immediately. However, this whole process took over 2 hours and it was almost 5pm when we stepped out of the Reliance store, tired but relieved! We ate some chicken Momos (hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast!), withdrew cash from an ATM (not sure if we’ll find more of these as we venture deeper into the remote parts of Himachal) and then hired a cab to bring us back to Narkanda.
Not having a laptop of my own for the next couple of months before we head to Gurgaon to either replace or fix the damaged one, is a big blow for us . I used it to write my blogs and upload the pictures taken from my camera, while Madhu worked on his pictures & blogs on his laptop. We would then share the data card to upload the information to our website; this used to work beautifully! Now I’ll have to wait for him to finish and then work on my bit; it’s going to completely slow down the process .
Luckily I had taken a backup of my hard disk back in March, which ensures that most of my personal documents and pictures are safe somewhere. All the blogs I have written have also been safely uploaded to our website (which also gets backed up!). What I may lose, if we are not able to recover the hard disk on my netbook, are the pictures I’ve taken since the backup. I upload only a few of the pictures I take to the website, so the rest could be gone .
Oh well! No point in sulking (I’ve been doing just that since last night) anymore; got to let go, stop thinking about it and move on! Hopefully, we’ve paid our due to the Gods and they’ll let us continue on without more trouble . I still have hopes of recovering my pretty, pink netbook someday, though¦