Experience

Balloon, joy in small things

Today, we took our 20-month-old daughter to a toy store for the the first time. She was excited to be there and was eagerly looking at everything. While she pointed to a few things that caught her eye and said that she wanted it, she didn’t cry or protest when we ignored her requests.

A free balloon given to her in that shop was all that she needed to have an unerasable grin 😃 on her face for the next few hours and ignore everything else!

2018 is almost over and it was an unbelievable year! It took me through a myriad of situations, experiences and emotions and I can barely believe that I was able to get through.

My daughter was born in the beginning of the year and it was an amazing experience being a parent for the first time, in spite of being clueless about bringing a baby up. Holding the tiny bundle of joy in my hands for the first time and the days gone by seeing her grow up very fast, have all been surreal.

Just a week after the birth, while I was on paternity leave, I was laid off along with hundreds of others in a workforce reduction and the division I was working for, was wiped out from Bangalore without a trace. It came out of the blue and though there were attempts by the local management to re-hire and re-purpose at least some of those affected, it was too little too late. It was an unbelievable shock and it took everyone affected, a long time to recover.

I had injured my shoulder while playing badminton towards the end of 2017 and was advised a surgery to fix it. I had planned to get it done during my paternity leave and was in tatters due to the layoff.

I applied for some jobs via referrals of friends and acquaintances and got a couple of job offers. But there were some issues to consider before I could accept any of them – daily commute to office being one of the major factors. I received a job opportunity from my previous company to work for a different team and given my circumstances, I chose to accept it and joined in a new role soon after.

I was a part of a new team with everyone else in the team including my manager working in remote locations, with a couple of interns/new joinees expected to join me a few months later. The work was in a totally different domain and I was never able to mingle with the folks and the work environment didn’t feel the same.

I took a fortnight off and had my shoulder surgery which was a minor procedure. It was a very traumatic experience because of the poor care provided at the hospital in spite of me repeatedly warning them about it. I was advised to do physiotherapy for 2 months to regain full movement of my right shoulder and that didn’t go well after a while – the hospital was too far from my home and the hospital refused to provide on-site physiotherapy after a while. Later, the hospital had some issues at the management level and almost all the doctors including the one I was consulting, quit the hospital and moved to a different hospital which was even farther. 🤷‍♂️

I read the monthly ‘Ask HN: Who’s hiring?’ posts on Hacker News regularly and came across a job posting for an interesting remote job as a senior open source developer. Just out of curiosity, I applied for it and though I never expected to get a response, I got one in a fortnight’s time. I had an interview with the company’s CEO and I was given a job offer soon after.

The next couple of weeks when I had to think about the job offer and make a decision were tough. Though I was laid off and re-hired immediately after, I was in a very comfortable and familiar job with a lot of employment benefits. On the other hand, I would have to work on an hourly basis as a self-employed contractor in the new job and without any employment benefits like paid leave, medical/life insurance etc. But it would allow me to permanently work from home, spend time with my daughter and also avoid the headache of daily commute in the mad Bangalore traffic.

I bought a used car (a silver grey Hyundai i20, 2009 model) to gain more driving experience after my driving classes in the previous year and also to be able to drive my family when required. I had vowed to never buy a car since, imho, I would be inconveniencing myself and everyone else on the road given the Bangalore. But the incessant pressure from my wife made me cave in.

During this time, a close relative who was ill for the past few months passed away. He was a fatherly figure to me and I was very close to him right from my childhood, having been brought up in a joint family he was a part of. It was an unbearable loss that shook the whole family and I was no exception.

All the chaos in the first half of the year till that point made me decide to continue with the status quo and continue in my current job. But a last-minute call with my colleague, friend and a mentor changed my mind and I ended up writing my resignation letter instead of an email rejecting the job offer.

I joined the new job in the second half of the year. Though the work and pay were very good, there was a two-month trial period which made me very nervous till I successfully completed it.

My wife went back to work after her maternity leave and though there was support from my in-laws to take care of our daughter, it was always going to be temporary given their preferences and way of life. Given, my parents continued to keep away from us, thanks to my father still being mad about my marriage (even the sight of my daughter didn’t change that), we had to take whatever help was offered under any condition.

I took my wife, daughter and a cousin on a long drive towards the end of the year in my car and it was an amazing (but tiring) experience and helped me get more comfortable with my car (My wife is still fighting with it 😜) I also bought myself a new laptop, but haven’t set it up fully for work yet.

This month, we did our daughter’s first hair shaving and ear piercing ceremony and it was heartbreaking to see her cry continuously and be very cranky for many days after the ceremony, thanks to her fever and a bout of common cold.

Next year is going to be very challenging as she grows up. She is already very active and naughty and things are only going to get worse 😉 My wife’s office is not willing to support her to take care of our daughter any more and with my in-laws planning to go back some time in the middle of the next year, it is just going to be the three of us and one heck of a journey. 🤞🏼

Here’s to an awesome 2019!

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feet_off_the_groundIn the past month, I have had my feet off the ground for most of the time. I got married to my sweetheart, we had our first air travel, we celebrated our honeymoon at Taj Mahal just a day off Valentine’s day, getting our own 2-wheeler which has given me my precious first full-time driving experience (though I have a valid driving license 😉 ), booking our own flat near my office. Let me ride this wave of happiness as long as it lasts 🙂

 

I cannot just say it was a dream come true. It was a dream of 10 years. A tree we both had planted as a sapling and nurtured for. Even now, it feels too good to be real. We both kept asking each other “Has it sunk in for you?” and the answer was and is still no. It’s the reality of taking up the responsibilities and managing both office and home that’s keeping my feet on the ground.

It was a journey that had literally everything – Happiness, sadness, anger, joy, love, fights, heart breaks, life altering decisions, commitments, problems, solutions and what not! You name and we had it in our relationship. Yes, love is not just a fairy tale. It takes a lot to keep it up and I learned that well.

After so many twists and turns in my story, there was the day. Finally! Feb 9, 2014. I couldn’t sleep the previous night due to a lot of factors – tension due to the thriller adventure my marriage story took and excitement that the big day was just hours away being the major ones. My friends forced me to sleep saying that I should get some beauty sleep and finally I dozed off. The day arrived in a swirl and swept me off. I got ready and came to the temple which was the marriage venue. I was so restless since I had arrived before him and I didn’t take my eyes away from the entrance. Only when I saw him, my lips curved and the smile came out. The one that reached from my heart to my eyes.

After that everything went so fast and before we could realize, he had tied the mangalyam around my neck. After that nothing mattered to me, everything went in a fit of emotions and blur. I didn’t care, I couldn’t even if I tried. The only thought in my mind was “We have done it.”. The marriage being a simple ceremony helped in many ways since the tediousness was reduced to a great extent and we were still fresh for the grander reception which followed a short while after.

The trip to Delhi and Agra was indeed a romantic one with a visit to the Taj Mahal being the heights of it 😉 Now being back to Bangalore and having joined office, the routine work and added responsibilities have brought us back from the clouds. Still, everyday I wake up with a smile, knowing that I am with him. Good or bad, we are in it together and that’s exactly what we wanted for the rest of our lives.

Here’s a peek into the biggest day of my life! 🙂

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Until later 🙂

If you are living in a major city in India like Bangalore and have visited malls, you might have noticed that lucky draw coupons are offered to whoever enters the mall. A lot of us have at least once filled in those coupons with our name and phone number and handed them over. Have we ever realized that they give the coupons for everyone who enters the mall whether they buy anything or not. Sounds fishy?

If you did enter yourself in such a lucky draw, a few days or weeks later you would get a call from an unknown number declaring you as one of the prize winners in the lucky draw and that you could collect the prize by visiting some location that is mentioned. If you’re an unmarried person, you would be told that only a couple can come and collect the prize. You would even be suggested to send a couple who could be related to you or be your friends or anyone who would do it for you.

A lot of people would be put off by the “couple” requirement and possibly by the prize distribution location’s distance from your home. If you weren’t, you’d be promised thoroughly that there wouldn’t be any hidden clauses or conditions to collect the prize. To enlighten people faced with similar situations, here’s my experience in pursuing it further.

A few times I hadn’t trusted the whole lucky draw and “you have won a prize, no hidden clauses or conditions” thing and ignored it. But my mother, new to the city and its happenings, was always intrigued by this lucky draw prize thing and wanted to pursue it further and see what happens.

So recently when I got a similar call from an unknown caller proclaiming that my mother had won a prize and the same blah blah blah, I told my mother about it and asked her if she was interested in venturing out to collect the prize. She was very much interested and since the prize distribution location that they mentioned was not too far away from my place, I decided to join my parents.

After we reached the landmark near which the gift distribution location was supposed to be located, we found nothing at all. I called the “you’ve won a prize” messenger again and asked him about the location. He apologized and asked us to travel further and reach an another location a couple of kilometers away. Even at that time he didn’t give the exact details of the location. Since we were motivated to see it through to completion, we boarded a bus and went to the new location. Nope, nothing there anywhere in the vicinity of the place he had asked us to get down.

On calling him again, he gave instructions to walk in one particular direction till we come near a “Country Club Resort” and enquire the security guard at the resort who would show us the location. My radar smelled something fishy at the mention of “Country Club” but my parents were still imagining a building near the Country Club resort where the prizes would be distributed. We reached the Country Club resort and the guard asked us to go to the underground parking lot of the resort.

There was a small office operating there and I could see a few couples coming in and going out. I went in and asked the receptionist about the gift and a we were asked to wait. A few minutes later we were told that there would be a presentation for an hour’s time at the end of which we could collect our prize. My innocent parents were imagining some prize distribution ceremony that could be an hour long with a lot of guests and speakers. Kaboom! Back to reality! We were then taken into a room full of small round tables with chairs around them. There were couples seated in each of those tables talking to one “presenter” and there was blaring music.

We sat in one of those tables with one of those presenters, who told us about our prize – a kitchen item and a couple of sponsored items from Country Club. He told us that we would be getting our prizes at the end of his presentation on a promotional offer provided by Country Club and that we would be getting our prizes irrespective of whether we buy the product being sold. At that moment I realized what we we had gotten into. They had deliberately not revealed “Country Club” till the last moment as a lot of people would have backed off on hearing it.

The salesman asked us some questions to fill in a survey form. Then he kept talking on and on about the benefits of buying a Country Club resort membership under the promotional offer. Since I couldn’t hear him clearly due to the loud music, I kept nodding my head at regular intervals. My parents very much liked his style of presentation, but they never had any intention to go ahead with the offer. So the presenter redirected his focus towards me trying to impress me into buying it. The price was revealed only at the very end of the presentation after about 90 minutes of showcasing exotic holidays, excellent facilities, the convenience and value provided by the Country Club membership and it was a 6 digit figure. The salesman didn’t know that I wouldn’t splash so much money on luxury and entertainment when there are a lot of people with their basic needs unmet. Seeing that I hadn’t yielded he started advertising partial down payments and attractive monthly EMI.

As it was getting late into the night and well past my dinner time, we asked him to complete his presentation and give us the gift so that we could leave. That triggered the strategy of asking us to wait for a couple of minutes to generate the gift vouchers online and while we were waiting, the salesman started trying to convince us to buy. The cycle of being asked to wait a few more minutes for the gift voucher and facing the blatant canvassing continued for about half an hour. It could have continued further if all the other salesmen and their prospective customers weren’t done with their presentation and left the hall.

The couples who had agreed to buy the membership card were taken inside a special room in the office and given prizes and possibly some additional goodies. We were just asked to go out to the parking area and they just dumped the prizes – a gift wrapped box and a couple of vouchers, in our hands and we left the place.

I told my parents that the people behind these “lucky draws” had used the “lucky draw” and the greed of the people to try and win more customers for their product. By following a “gift coupon for everyone” approach, they collected the contact details of thousands of people to canvass them into buying the club membership.

In case you’re still awake and not bored after reading this far and want to know what the gifts were, here are the details. We got a box containing 6 ice cream glass bowls from an unbranded local maker, a voucher for our family to enjoy the facilities at a Country Club resort on a weekday within a month’s time and a free accommodation in 3-5 star hotels on during our holiday tours provided we pay the minimal taxes of about Rs.4000, valid a for a year. The voucher was not signed by a person of authority as required and that made it invalid and useless.

So did we really get free gifts? Nope. We had invested our time and effort and showed a lot of patience in sitting through the “presentation” and also unintentionally gave our names and mobile number to them. Fair enough. Nothing in this world is free. So just think twice before you reveal your personal details in the hope (greed?) of winning a prize without spending a single rupee.

One of the most important lessons that I learnt this year – never put your health at stake no matter what. No, don’t do it even if you are absolutely sure that you will emerge unscathed. I did exactly that at the beginning of this year and now I am wondering if I will ever recover from that. Yeah, I had a lofty sense of righteousness about standing up for something good, blissfully blind to failure and its consequences – the known and unknown. I messed it up pretty bad shattering my health and mind to pieces. After having that near-death experience even without knowing it was one, my daily life was filled with problems hitherto unknown. While my body was recovering from a sudden and serious ailment at its own pace, my mind totally lost it. I was so scared of death and even more of life. I wondered everyday if there will be a tomorrow that I will wake up to. I lost interest in life, for it just seemed an inevitable procession to death. All the emotions – love, hate, affection, anger, happiness no longer made any sense to me. That my body was giving me a different problem every other day or once every few days didn’t help either. I felt really disturbed at having lost all the sense of ignorance and suddenly I was groping thin air trying to find out the purpose of life when it was this futile and meaningless. The people around me were rambling on and on just about what they wanted and there weren’t any comforting shoulders or enlightened minds whose help I could use. Suddenly, it became next to impossible to get interested or involve myself in anything. Even the things that I loved seemed to be nothing more than a vague memory from a distant past. I always had a morbid fear that something was horribly wrong with my body and doctors always seemed to miss finding that out and helping me. I had frequent panic attacks as a result. Hearing about violence, death of even unknown people still affects me very badly and gives me nightmares.

So how did I get out of such a messy state? What makes you think that I got out of it? I have learnt to accept and live with these things. That has eliminated most of the panic. Whatever is remnant, keeps me honest and helps me live life to the fullest. Yeah, health improving a bit has helped reduce the paranoia as well. There have been people who have done their bit to help me and I’m indebted to them.

My father came and lived with me while my health was recovering. He helped me to be very disciplined with my life style as that was of utmost importance at that time. Once my father went back, I learnt to cook on my own and managed to cook for about 6 months, though not for every time in a day. In the initial days, I did try to cook all the time, though gradually it reduced and went through barren periods in between. Starting from just following the procedure to prepare food, I tried out new things and learnt a fair bit about cooking which should keep me in good stead in the future.

Organizing an online treasure hunt contest at office by designing the event, website and conducting it successfully after an initial faux pas helped me get a lot of my confidence back. Visits to my alma mater for server and network administration work and for FStival made me feel as normal and happy as possible. Gradually towards the end of the year, I was back to near normalcy learning about a lot of new stuff and fiddling with them. One regret I have though is that I haven’t been able to contribute anything in terms of writing code or contributing to free software projects. I intend to change that in 2013.

Ever since my beloved Nokia N79 phone slipped out of my hands and fell into the toilet of a running train, I wanted to buy a good smartphone. With the Android boom happening these days, it was just an impulsive buy away. Though I bought my parents a Samsung Galaxy Y last year, I didn’t feel satisfied with a such phone. My mind always craved for a high-end latest smartphone. While Samsung Galaxy S3 captured my imagination and I was always on the verge of buying it, my mind kept reminding me that it wasn’t worth its steep price. The next best phone, Google Galaxy Nexus was at least 10K cheaper, though Samsung decided not to release the phone in India to push S3 as its leading phone. I bought my Galaxy Nexus from eBay India in the last week of August. Galaxy Nexus was a flagship Android phone and provided the pure Android experience straight from the hands of Google, which meant that it will always get updates directly from Google, far ahead of better phones. In the worst case, the phone manufacturer might arbitrarily decide to stop providing software updates to a phone after it is reasonably old, in order to push the newer models. I got my phone within 2 days of ordering and my initial experience was very hesitant, partly because I had never used such a big and powerful phone. I already had a bad history with expensive phones losing them soon after buying them. This phone cost twice as much as my most expensive phone till date. I kept using it only at home, too scared to take it outside. Since I don’t own a vehicle and travel by public transport, I was scared of losing the phone. But with time, I got used to handling it and have been taking it with me wherever I go. But the sad part is, when it rains, I am more worried about my phone getting wet than about me getting drenched. 🙂

After spending a very long time in deliberation, I got myself a server on the internet. It hosts my website and Keirthana’s and an owncloud instance – just for me to try out. I am sharing this server with Bala anna, who named it ‘Knuth’ 🙂 and would be hosting his site on it as well.

My parents opted for voluntary retirement from the service in Indian Railways some time in the middle of the year and have moved in with me at Bangalore last month. That has helped me greatly to lead a better and comfortable life. My gratitude to them as always.

I managed to attend a couple of Bangpypers’ meetings and also PyCon India 2012 which happened in Bangalore. As always, Bala anna participated with me.

Right now I’m at Trichy for the year-end vacation, penning down this post in bits and pieces whenever I have been blessed with electricity supply at home. If I have to blurt out truth plainly, I would have to say that 2012 is by far the worst year of my life, but as always there is a silver lining. I’ve had some really happy moments scattered in between the tough ones during the course of this life-changing year. And all I keep saying to myself is “This will pass. Tough times do not last, tough people do”.  Hoping for a great life ahead and wishing everyone the same.

Human mind is an amazing blend of myriad patterns of thoughts, memories and knowledge made possible by the intricate circuitry of neurons and synapses (Too many adjectives? Can’t help it 🙂 ). It is a photographic film that captures everything it is exposed to and never forgets a single thing. People call it the sub-conscious mind and it is infinitely capable.

Human mind

 

Right from my young age, I have been very good at grasping new things swiftly and learning from them. The role of the sub-conscious mind in that is immense. It automatically connects the dots and relates to the things that I already know. The kind of results that it can produce can be awesome. I was a consistent topper at school but beyond academics there was very little that I was good at. Some how by the twist of fate, I got into quizzing and boy didn’t I love it! What aided me was my ability to  observe and recollect a lot of things in minute detail impulsively.

Quiz

 

In a quiz contest that I participated with Shankar Ganesh, there was a question which probed for the name of the renowned musician Pandit Ravi Shankar’s daughter who was also a musician. My mind suddenly popped a name ‘Anoushka’ out of nowhere with a huge surge of confidence. I was totally startled because I felt that there was absolutely no way mind could have even guessed an answer for that question. I had read and heard about Pandit Ravi Shankar but had no idea about his family or his children. What made it scarier was that it turned out to be the correct answer. I guess my mind should have picked it up from somewhere without me being aware of it.

I have been blessed to have many such eureka moments throughout my life which have helped me immensely. I have learnt from experience that our mind, conscious and sub-conscious, has most of the knowledge and wisdom that we would need in our life. A lot of times, all we need to do is to look inside and egg our mind to find answers. The time it might take to accomplish it might vary drastically from an instant to a very long time, but the success rate is very high.

Wouldn’t it be smart to condition our mind to focus a bit more on important things in our life? It could help reduce the non-useful things getting into our mind’s chronicles, which is capable of capturing even our negative emotions, experiences and thoughts as much as the positive ones. This would inevitably condition our mind to a lot of avoidable stereotypes and patterns. Whenever we have to respond to a situation, our mind compares it to a previous experience which will most likely influence our response. Instead of responding to a situation on its merit (à la the inimitable Ravi Shastri 🙂 ), we end up reinforcing the conditioning our mind has gone through umpteen times. We need to find ways to stop being a Pavlov’s dog. Letting go of negative emotions and hurt we might have clung to for a long time will definitely help. (Despite all this gyan, how much ever I try, I end up responding the same pathetic way whenever my girl friend talks about most other guys. 😉 😛 (evil grin) )

While this might not be a panacea for all problems, let alone mine, understanding our mind better and being aware of its potential will help us a long way in living a life that we dream of living. Now is the time to stop dreaming and start living! Cheers!

Update: My friend Srikrishnan pointed me to excellent literature on this subject – http://www.eagleman.com/incognito and some excerpts from the book “Incognito – The secret lives of the brain” written by David Eagleman, a renowned neuro-scientist, at http://amiquote.tumblr.com/post/4686955288/david-eagleman-on-the-conscious-mind-what-freud . Warning – mind-blowing insights in store 🙂

My HP Pavilion dv9704tx laptop’s hinge snapped recently and hence the lid couldn’t be closed without the back-cover and the bezel ripping themselves out from the broken hinge mechanism. Given my emotional attachment to my laptop, I was totally scared and panic-stricken. My previous experience with laptop repair still haunted me. My initial response to such situations would always make me look for instant solutions and since it was a Sunday, I had to wait at least a day to even take it to a HP service center.

HP Pavilion dv9704tx

The next day I bunked my office in the morning to take my laptop to a HP-authorized service center. I was expecting that the service engineer there would unscrew the hinge mechanism to check the broken part and show me the same. Reality isn’t that sweet, is it? The service engineer looked at my laptop like a curious child would look at a new object given to it, lifting it up and down, bending to look at it from different angles and declared that the panel, hinge and bezel need to be replaced. Since I was still not out of my panic, I didn’t dare question him or even ask him to open up my laptop and show me the broken part. Then he took my laptop inside to some room to confirm the parts are to be replaced. I was feeling more nervous every second and I feared that they might steal parts from my laptop and replace them with old or faulty ones (When the mind is panic-stricken, there is no limit to the pessimism it can indulge in 🙂 ). After a few minutes, the service engineer returned with my laptop and told me that I would be emailed the quotation for the replacement parts and that once the parts were ordered and delivered, the laptop could be fixed in a few hours. With some solution visible, I returned home with my laptop.

The dreaded email came the next noon. It had a quotation for replacing the complete LCD panel, rounded off to 19 grand inclusive of all service charges and taxes! I was totally shocked to see such a huge figure with which I could almost buy a cheap, new laptop or netbook. I decided to dig in and try finding some details about the spare parts for my laptop from the HP PartSurfer website. I found out the details of the correct replacement parts, noted them down and called the service center to ask about their quotation for replacing the whole LCD display kit just to fix the broken hinge. When I confronted them with hard facts, they were unsettled and kept giving ambiguous and contradicting answers. So I gave them the part details and asked them to give me a quotation for only those parts. They asked for a day’s time to do that.

The promised response never came and I kept calling the service center again and again. The answers got more ambiguous and non-committal with every call. After calling repeatedly for 2 days, I was told that the details for one of the parts was unavailable and hence I would have to replace the whole display kit. The murky thing there was that the part that they were asking me to buy was just the LCD display and my laptop’s LCD display was working absolutely fine. I tried to reason out with them in vain explaining that my laptop had just a broken mechanical part and that they were trying to order a replacement for some other electronic part which was working fine. The more I talked the more senseless their replies became. So I just ended the conversation abruptly out of frustration.

A friend at office had suggested taking my laptop to a non-authorized center and getting it repaired. The long-winded, futile arguments with the HP service center prompted me to see the problem from a different perspective. My laptop was more than 3 years old and out of warranty. I had spent more than 70K on my laptop already including the cost price and the previous repair. I didn’t want to spend more and more on an old laptop and make it even more indispensable.

The same friend recommended a laptop service center near my home and I decided to give it a try. A few days later, I took my laptop there with my fingers crossed. As soon as I explained the problem to the service engineer there, he immediately unscrewed the laptop hinge and display and showed me exactly what was broken. It was the left side of the hinge and he told me that it he would get it replaced and repaired in a couple of days’ time. The confident “I know what I am doing” attitude of the service engineer drastically calmed my nerves and I left my laptop with him for the repair. Two days later I got my laptop back and it cost me just 2.3 grand! Compare it with the 19 grand it would have cost me if I had got my laptop repaired at the authorized service center! Even that may not have been enough because I was asked to buy the wrong replacement part.

This incident made me think about the money lost by a lot of ignorant, unsuspecting people in getting their laptops repaired. It assumes even greater propositions considering how often laptops encounter hardware problems these days. I am tempted to believe that all this is an organized racket with the so-called authorized service centers and the authorizing manufacturers being partners-in-crime. What makes it even more atrocious is the fact that not all the service engineers in such “authorized service centers” are technically equipped.

The lessons I learnt from this experience that I would like to share with everyone:
1. When buying a new laptop, it is better to pay a bit more to get extended warranty due to the tendency of laptops to run into hardware problems just after the expiration of the regular warranty period.
2. Always check and verify the cost and the details of the repair before committing to it. The manufacturer’s website and Google could give you detailed information.
3. When the laptop is in warranty, take it to a service center where you could get it repaired for free on most occasions. If it threatens to burn a hole into your purse, just pause for a moment, analyze the alternatives before making any decision.
3. Once the laptop is out of warranty, it makes no sense to spend a lot on it. So do not hesitate to get it repaired at unauthorized service centers using parts not from the laptop’s manufacturer. It is better take it to a service center which some acquaintance recommended. It will save you a lot of money and will most likely not impact the laptop’s lifetime.