My iPad and I

I am purging to the page every day for some weeks now and I regret I didn't start the exercise sooner. I feel lighter, much lighter after I have written, whereas when I splash my emotions on others and see on their faces what I've done, I feel heavy and hopeless.

iPad photo from the Apple site
They say it is better to write by hand, that the hand is an extension of the mind, that when you feel tactile paper when pencil rubs on it, thoughts flow, uninterrupted. I can now vouch that it is true. So, I bought a pencil by Montblanc paying a hefty sum for the best in its class, thinking “what the hell,” while paying for it, and I've been enjoying how it rests on the web between thumb and finger, a weight just right, and cool when I rub the rings round its cap on my skin when I pause while writing.

But I enjoy belonging to this age and I hate the manual search, which I need to do often, and I want to cut and paste and rewrite, and I need to edit quite a bit—English is not my mind's language. So, while I write into the Moleskine I'm often asking how I'll seek out the piece I'm writing when I want it sometime, whether I shouldn't be shifting back to the Mac for making notes and for serious writing.

But the laptop is a bother, it burns my lap, and in many public places it is unseemly to work on it, being conspicuous, and a bother to carry, though I use the MacBook Air from the time it was introduced. It is very thin but it is also very wide and it has a lid which you should keep open when you work on it.

The Articles app
It is two weeks since I began using the iPad, and my gratitude to Steve Jobs has doubled, tripled. My grief is that I'll not likely ever see this man who has made my life so much fun.

It is a simple device for one who works only on its outside. The screen is as large as it should be. The keyboard in landscape is comfortable and most applications have a thoughtfully enhanced user-interface in this mode. I use only the wi-fi option because the device is not launched in India, so it will not work on 3G, and I'm not willing to ask anyone to trim my SIM card and hack the hardware. The rubber cover that sells under the Apple brand props up the device neatly in landscape.

As pretty as it is, Notes communicates with the laptop only via mail, so I took a tip from Creativist: I write on Simplenote, which syncs without a hassle with Notational Velocity on the laptop, from which I take the plain text into Scrivener for final editing, and then I publish. My office notes and all other notes I write daily files also in Simplenote, which I transfer at the end of the day from Notational Velocity to MacJournal. I maintain two journals in MacJournal, one a Work Journal, another a Writer's Journal.

Calendar, address book, mail, none of them need a mention, they just look good while they do their job without ever calling for attention.

Keynote, Numbers, and Pages are applications I work on at the desk in the office, but I have them on the iPad and are good for light use, though among them I use Numbers the most, my spreadsheet work being always light. Evernote is a fine application, but I hope they include sub-folders soon, because it is difficult to store masses of gigabytes all in main folders, but the most fun is Dropbox into which I have moved my entire Documents folder on the Macbook Air, so they are all available to the iPad, whenever I connect.

Holding the device, feeling really like I'm holding a mere notebook in my hand, I feel again the spirit of my boyhood, the lingering excitement when I wore the compulsory new clothes for festivals. When I wake up I reach for the iPad and begin writing; at night, in bed, I tap into it a few words of happiness before I turn off the light—with a fervor I never experienced with a laptop.