Friday, April 01, 2005

The Earthquake

(The earthquake in Indonesia, a few days ago, made me shudder. Another earthquake, another place, had made me shudder…)

My wingies later informed me that the tremors had lasted for precisely eleven seconds…

… The IPC was bustling with activity. Fidgety boys harried their fat books and thick reams of tute papers. Intent girls wore a lugubrious look. Two or, in some cases, three people sat in front of a computer. Some were furiously typing away, while some others were discussing animatedly, pointing viciously at their computer screens. Intent girls look mournful, I said to myself; people do not like computer screens. People do not like CP-I onlines.

Suddenly, I could not help observing a greater hustle than there had been before. And then I saw my monitor trembling. A piece of poor-humoured narcissism led me to speculate if my code was really that powerful. The computer had already crashed twice before, unable to execute my messy code. I laughed within myself and looked up. Unmistakably, people were running out in a panic that was greater than any a CP-I online could induce. Before I could bring myself to terms with the impending catastrophe, five seconds of tremor must have passed. When I finally gathered my composure, I made a dash for the door in an attempt to squirm out before I found chunks of the ceiling on my head. But I stopped midway: I had forgotten to save my C code! Between risking a life and risking a file, I decided, the latter was a proposition with graver consequences. I scrambled back to the VI editor in my computer. Getting the escape sequence of ‘:wq’ correct on the quintessential IPC 486 comp, on which people seldom risked pressing characters other than ‘p’, ‘i’, ‘n’ and ‘e’, took me around ten more seconds. When I finally rushed out (with a freer mind), I saw people trickling back in. The tremors had ceased to shake my monitor, well before I could manage to squeeze out of the building. When the fellows trudged back in, the disappointment writ on their faces suggested that they had been deprived of some excitement in their lives. More importantly, the look of resignation suggested that they had not been deprived of their CP-I online exam tomorrow. People did not, indeed, like CP-I onlines.

I smirked when I sat down heavily in front of the computer, wiping out beads of perspiration from my brow. I found myself unable to discern if I had to thank the Gods for the fortuity, or my computer: the VI screen flashed the prophetic status message, “Dileepan.c saved.”

Nevertheless, I thanked the Gods.



Blogger vivitsa said...

Real good account !!

I remember it was a sunday morning 9 30 or so.. Republic day, I had just woken up.. and I was cursing myself for one having one of those "borderline between sleep and wakefullness" kinda hallucinations .. when I saw people rushing out .. thats when I realised what was happening.. was quite exciting.. and the gravity of it didnt dawn on me until those hysteric home calls that the MB phone was inundated with .. (back in those times when cell phones didnt exist!!)

9:23 PM  
Blogger K. said...

And I was crashing as usual, I guess...As with any test/compre with any other day!!

In fact...did this really happen? Or is this memory so far back in my cerebrum that it is beyond the reach now?!

Or was I just crashing through the aftermath of it too with all the excitement etc ?!

7:31 AM  

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