It was a balmy 50 degrees in Bangalore, India when a young man, Ravi Kumar, took the call of a frantic and nearly fainting woman freaking out about a her computer issue. Her recent life work of 8 years locked in an uncrackable backup file. The file-under normal circumstances-should have opened. Except for one thing.
She’d been informed recently that Windows XP was going the way of so much technology, uselessly extinct in the wake of newer progressive programs. As far as operating systems go, XP had a good run. She stood at a crossroads really. The most currently available operating system now Windows 8.1. That sort of leap was not recommended, so she opted for the forward motion that skipped up to Windows 8.
She backed up all the critical data on her external hard drive, as recommended, which took three hours. With the file secure, she had located the site online and downloaded the program. Three hours later, she discovered that download had failed. A level of panic set in.
She opted to forgo all preferences and re-download the upgrade. For the sake of successful download. Three more hours later, at midnight, the upgrade had been installed and she went to bed. The next morning, as she began to navigate the new program, she felt as though she had landed on a fantastic sci-fi planet. She was dedicated to certain programs and uploaded them in preparation for opening the backup file. In her mind, it was like packing boxes and moving into a new house. Programs were the rooms you unloaded certain boxes.
But the moving van was locked. Ten years of photos. Years of writing ideas, books, essays and thoughts. Journals. Her entire music collection.
She searched the internet and came up with nothing after an hour and a half. She relented and called the software company. Ravi Kumar answered. She hoped that this group of people had the answer. If anyone, knew anything, it would be the people who put the program together. Of course.
That woman felt a glimmer of hope, even though she breathed shallowly and her fingers were numb. The loss of feeling seemed to be spreading as she began to realize the enormity of this loss. She was afraid not to hope but if they couldn’t open it… she didn’t want to over think it. That freaking out woman is me.
And Ravi is a kind hearted young man I have never met. But he saved all of my files. While I watched him remotely navigate through the new download, my adventure into windows 8, I doubted. I was afraid. My stomach was in my throat. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t think of anything else but that back up file.
It’s like moving. You have your treasure, your trinkets and the expendables. I had backed up many times before. Back ups of back ups. Jump drives, terra books, clouds and emails. So there you have back up upon back up. Many files were reduplications upon copies. I could afford to lose a few. I knew some of them were saved multiple times outside this particular back up ( up to a dozen or more times in some cases).Trouble is, none of the backups seemed recent enough. The most recent locked file, contained all the books I’ve written and am writing now.
Ravi told me that before he got into this tech support role, he had lost 15 years of photos from a hard drive. He said he was 99% sure he could save me. I wanted to believe him. I never wanted to believe anyone so badly in 10 years.
We stayed on the phone for just over four hours. We talked about my current job and the one before, in collections. We talked about the beaches in Goa, India and what sort of computer he liked. The beaches reminded me of all the photos I had taken, some 5,000 images: weddings and vacations and my kid growing up…
Ravi worked quickly and gracefully, the cursor barely rested. It’s always a little disconcerting to see someone else moving a cursor around in your computer. Amazing, that they are able to do recovery half a continent away.
It was night time and quiet where he was. It was snowing and silent where I sat. He insisted that I eat even though my stomach was in knots. I did, leaving my phone on speaker while I cooked and he searched and clicked and never once sighed.
“Are you making yourself something to eat?”
“Yes, I am!”
In this unique way I felt as though I had a guest from India in my home for several hours. In the end, after we had both eaten and talked much of the day, Ravi saved the files. Over 35,000 files. I expect the sign of relief I breathed out put the butterfly effect to shame.
Really, if he had been present, I would have hugged him (asking permission first of course!) But maybe, if he ever finds himself in our unpredictable weather, I will be allowed to show him my total gratitude and buy him dinner. Thanks Ravi!