Phew ! I’ve done it. Finally.
After 3 years of tip-toeing around the idea, researching about it, bugging friends and acquaintances on their opinion of it, reading a considerable amount of reviews on its pros and cons, flip-flopping over actually taking the plunge, I did it.
I went and bought myself a Kindle, and I can’t tell you how relieved I feel right now. I know that “relieved” is a rather odd choice of an adjective here, but if you were to know me well, you would be relieved too. Relieved that I finally bought one ! The thing is while I am a confident shopper of books, paintings, artifacts, clothes, shoes, vegetables, fruits, other groceries, etc. (and strictly in this order), it is a completely different story when I have to shop for electronic items. I turn into this palpitating, blubbering, confused and an extremely diffident person when confronted with an imminent purchase of an electronic item. It’s not like I’m technologically challenged or suffer from technophobia, but when I am spoiled for choice with regard to electronic stuff, I go a little crazy. OK, a lot crazy with confusion. That’s what happened with the Kindle.
My Kindle story begins some 3 years back, when I saw one in a crowded Tube at London. The Kindle’s owner was completely oblivious to the crush of the crowd around her and was fully absorbed in reading from her Kindle. Even today, after so many years, I cannot forget that look of concentration on her face or my first sight of a Kindle. Or the fact that she had a stack of books balanced on her lap as well.
Till that time I was quite against a Kindle, and that too without having seen one or used one. I could never imagine how a machine could replace the real thing. But the Kindle sighting, even if it was from a few feet away that day, was enough to help me decide that a Kindle and books could co-exist side-by-side. And thereby began my quest for a Kindle of my own.
A little bit of an Internet search on the Kindle was enough to confuse me, and it didn’t help that none of my friends had a Kindle. By the time I finally decided to buy one, a few months had passed and I was back in India, only to find that it was not available here. Of course, I could have ordered it from Amazon to be delivered in India, but after reading horror stories of Kindles never reaching or of damaged Kindles reaching their owners, I gave up the idea. The only way I could get a Kindle was to have a friend or a relative get one from the US or UK or Malaysia or Singapore or Dubai or…
About a year-and-a-half back, a friend’s husband offered to get it for me from Malaysia, and I happily agreed. Then he got to know that I blog and recommended that I buy an iPad instead. Needless to say, I got into another whirlpool of confusion and decided to wait and think this one out. I bugged friends about this choice, who obliged me by having discussions with me, and sending me print and video reviews as well. After a few months of agony, I decided on a Kindle over an iPad.
Then sometime in May this year, the Kindle project got a boost with a friend announcing that his aunt was coming down from the US and did I want one? Did I? Of course I did. And persuaded him to get one for himself as well. But luck was not with me and that plan fizzled out as well. Then last month, the same friend sent me a mail about the Kindle launch in India. And my Kindle quest got revived again.
Last Saturday, I met my blogger pal Richa for brunch and during the course of our conversation the topic of Kindle came up. And then Richa brings out her Kindle and I am hooked. I decided then and there that I had enough of the dithering and researching and checking and asking around and would go and buy one that very day. Richa, bless her, even offered to drive me to the nearest Croma outlet (the only store that the Kindle retails from) and help me buy one. But since I had to go in to work for a short while after our meal, I had to turn down her offer.
Later that evening, I wished I had taken up her offer. The salespeople at Croma were just not able to answer my questions, and I was getting quite confused again. For example:
Me: Does this come with a manual?
They: It should come with one.
Me: It’s a simple yes or no answer, really. Does it or does it not?
They: We’ll check and let you know.
Checking meant that they called up someone somewhere to get the answers to my queries. A few more questions and vague answers later, I was quite ready to run out of the store without purchasing the Kindle. But when one of the salespeople admitted, rather sheepishly, that the Kindle was a new product and their training was still in progress, I felt sorry for them. And impulsively said, “I’ll take it.” And before I could change my mind, I walked to the cash counter paid for it and walked out.
And that is how I came to own a Kindle a little more than 3 years after the quest began. Since the WiFi at home was rather iffy that day, I took the Kindle to work, where it got “peer reviewed” by my department colleagues, photographed for this post, and registered on Amazon and readied for the books to be downloaded.
Over the last week, I have been busy downloading all the free books—literary classics, Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare, books on art and history, tales from mythology from around the world. I haven’t really started reading on the Kindle yet, but I know that it is only a matter of time before I do so, particularly when I am commuting to work and back, or when I am travelling. In fact, I think I’ll start tomorrow itself; it would be a perfect way to beat Monday morning blues. :-)
Do you also have a Kindle story to share? I’d love to hear all about it.
PS: The Kindle did not come with a printed manual, but had a pre-loaded manual. It is very simple to use and I feel quite silly now for even asking that question at Croma that day !