The Dread of Opening My Laptop

There has been much talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives with masks, sanitisers and physical distancing becoming the new normal. I was okay with being sequestered at home. I have never been much of a talker, and like being alone and at home all day.

But, of course, being stuck in one place for this long is never ideal.

My laptop was my solace. Hours of binge watching took me away from the crisis at hand. I could spend my day watching music videos and vlogs on YouTube. Or take irrelevant quizzes on BuzzFeed and scroll through Twitter.

When I had to get serious, I would log in on various job portals to check for the perfect job vacancy, which required exactly my background and experience, and that would pay me my worth. Although I was declared a postgraduate only in July, I started job hunting well before May. But I would either not even cross the first round of interviews or would reach the final round, but never get the job.

I kept telling myself that it was fine. I had just finished my masters course. And so, I waited. And waited.

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Months passed where I was on my laptop for whole days at end. Sending applications and consuming entertainment. I would wake up thinking of a combination of what I ought to watch and where else I could apply.

In August, I thought if I was not going to get a job, I should look for some freelance opportunities. I love writing, so maybe I could use this skill to make a bit of money. No one’s hiring me for my actual educational qualifications anyway, I thought.

Luckily, I got a gig. I was now not only using my laptop to watch and apply for jobs, but also to write. I did not make as much money as I would on a regular job, but it kept me busy.

After a few weeks, I started having days where I would neither get an assignment to write nor were there any good jobs to apply to. I started hating what had once been my escape – my laptop.

I dreaded checking my email and seeing another rejection. By then I might have applied to nearly a hundred places and received replies from maybe only 20. None worked out.

Checking countless job portals and not finding a suitable job only made me more anxious. And f I considered taking a break from these applications even for a day, I would worry about missing out on that one company that would hire me.

Even Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube got boring. The amount of content these platforms hold can amount to years or even a lifetime of viewing. But none of it appealed to me anymore.

And then, for weeks, there were no freelance assignments. And I just didn’t feel the need to turn on my laptop anymore.

So, I did what any normal person would do: go offline, and find a book that helped me keep my sanity intact. Of course, Pride and Prejudice was the top contender. I lost myself in the 18th century, where you could spend your days walking around beautiful gardens in perfect gowns.

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And then it was another book. And another, until a week passed by.

My laptop lay on my table, untouched for a week. And I knew I had to come back to reality. I opened it, checked my email, job portals and the freelance portal. Within a few hours, I finally got an assignment. Finally, something to write.

Even though everything else was the same, I had overcome my temporary fear of the device. All I needed was a break. From my laptop and my own mind.

Maybe I will finally get the job on my 121st try? Till then, my days include books, emails, job applications and a bit of watching dramas on the side.

Poorvi Bose is an Electronics engineer and a Post-graduate in Public Policy from National Law School of India University in Bangalore and specialises in technology policy.

Featured image credit: 愚木混株 Cdd20/Pixabay