The Ringside View

My attempts at writing have always been stacked up in old diaries and scraps of yellowing paper.Time,neglect and phylum insecta however, always ensured that the gibberish i scrawled, never would see the prying gaze of an alien eye.Years later, i still scribble once in a while - this time in word documents stored in some obscure folder somewhere in the innards of my C drive.I am unearthing some of them and opening them up for the interested.To get what i call - The Ringside view.

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Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Bullet point (Flashback series)

It was the year 2001. The dot com bubble had busted. And even men with unambiguous sexualities were handed down slips in pink. Companies with a skewed sense of humour even played Aerosmith’s ‘Pink is my favourite colour’ as they handed it down. Protagonist, rookie programmer is sitting hunched over his desktop, concentration writ all over. Such were the times. Big Brother CEO had appeared over video conference the previous day and announced dourly ‘We need to save every penny ((read) there shall be no toilet paper in the loo from tomorrow); we need to increase productivity ((read) kiss your kids goodbye, you might not see them in a while); and employee performance will be tied in with health of the company ((read) Damn, we’re fucked!!!)

He stared hard. The debugger danced through the lines of code in harmony for a long time. And then, somewhere in the innards of a for loop, it careened out of control. The exception on the screen looked as unfriendly as the CEO in the video conference screen. Protagonist, rookie programmer, rubs his brow. Breathes hard. God knows what the code means. God knows what the error means. If only he had bothered to read that ‘Be a Java god man in 21 days’ book from the library. Or better still, if only he had chosen a better career. Tensed and quivering, he reaches down and restarts the machine. The blanking; the restart; the stupid Windows start-up music. He runs the code; and voila, it works. The golden tenet of software programming had worked again. The one that is handed down from one generation to the other but mentioned not once in any book on computer science – when in doubt, restart the computer.

Code compilation. Production roll-out. And imagine. Bits of data figuratively skimming through the lines of code. Transactions happening. Flags turning from 0 to 1. More transactions happening.

In distant somewhere a grumpy customer clicks a button and the whole damn thing does what it’s expected to do. And in distant somewhere in the corporate coffers, a penny is saved. And another. And another, until it is a million USD.

In 2008 a bullet point on the erstwhile rookie programmer’s resume summarizes it all – ‘’Successfully initiated and executed system improvements to re-engineer process methodologies of a critical system to realize cost savings of up to 1 million US dollars’.

Wow, what profoundness.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Jeff9 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 22, 2009 8:00 PM  
Blogger Shubhraa said...

Nice. Love the way you concluded it. The bullet point was finally a point making sense.

June 10, 2009 3:37 AM  
Blogger Preeth said...

I should know. It's semi auto biographical ;)

June 10, 2009 4:29 AM  

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