Monday, October 27, 2008

An "Excel"lent Diwali

A snapshot of an MS Excel Database on Nov 8th 11 pm

Jones Smith -Sysopman -#21345
Adam Fletcher -Sysopemp -#16764
William Ben -CorpVPman -#11256

5 mins later...

)($%^*&# #$^^$%^$%^^ !@@$@#$#@4
&^!@()^&&& %$&(()!!@@@@@@@@@ $%^^&^&^&^&
%&(())$#@@!! #$^^&^^%^^^% ^^^%^^&%^^&

What was the Database for?

It contained access rights of a client company for all employees, ranging from a clerk to the Vice President.

What happens if the Database is messed up like this?

All incoming business transactions get disapproved since approval flow is stopped.

Does that mean the company loses money?

Exactly, a few thousand dollars for every 5 hours of approval flow stoppage.

Oops! Who made this blunder?

The Database Admin of course!

Who was he?

Yours truly.

At 12 pm, when the entire city of Chennai was celebrating the death of Narkasura, a new avatar of Narakasura in the form of my client manager from Ohio was firing my

As all client managers, this one was a bimbo too. All he knew was to login and approve. He did not know the technical aspects of the system. Well neither did I.

Till 3 am, I was trying to comprehend where the DB backup could have been stored. If I find it, I can "roll back" the DB. At 4 am, I realized the manager was pinging me and I had dozed off at my desk. He had sent an email asking me to come again during the day and restore the system. Went home, slept and returned at 11 am to find the DB restored by an Indian in Ohio office. With a few $$$$$ gone down the drain, I was mothered by my Project Lead here. All this happened in Bye-Bye.

Today, my heart goes out to everyone who is working and not enjoying Diwali. The ones I pity the most are the BPO employees. I have worked on a BPO job in Bye-Bye and also in a BPO company before that. 3 of my friends who are working in BPOs share their experiences.

a) Whenever I pinged this guy to say hi, I get this in return:

Hello and Good morning Sir. Thank you for calling Citibank Customer Service. My name is Lenin. How may I help you? :)

b) Muraleedhar Sadhasivam baptized himself as Mark Stephens and carries a non Indian, non American accent when he speaks non English.

c) Jacob's regular customer is a Filipino called Han Phuck (Pronounced Han Fuck). Since it's a rule to address customers with their second names only, Jacob always says "Hello Mr. Fuck how can I help you?"

Working for a BPO is a whole new way of life with untimely shifts, midnight cab drops, a whole account line marofying the only chick on the floor, suttas and tea every half hour. I'm glad I experienced it even though it was for a very short period.

Readers who are working or have worked for BPOs can share their experiences :) Wishing you all a happy and a prosperous Diwali.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Quitting 88mm for one last time

I didn't quit when my friends or cousins pleaded. Dismissed the occasional cough and ignored the frequent scoff. In fact, even the only person for whom I might have quit smoking, couldn't get me to quit the habit. I'd rather smoke away my worries than worry about my smoking. And then it happened.

Jeevodaya, a place that does hospice for cancer patients was an hour away. Accompanying around 10 colleagues, 3 of whom smoke, I had no idea what I was going to witness. On my way, I felt I wanted to smoke as many cigarettes as possible, for the fear that I may quit after this visit and that it will be the last I'll see of one of my best buddies-the ciggy.

The folks at Jeevodaya told me that cancer patients with Severity 1 and 2 usually get "treatment" in hospitals and those who fall under Severity 3 or 4 do not get treatment as there is none. Jeevodaya gives "hospice" to these people; people who were told that they have, hardly a month to live.

Hospice involves dressing the wounds. Cancer cells replicate and multiply in crazy numbers and dig up the skin and flesh out of a person. Hence, the sisters there, clean these wounds and alleviate the pain to an extent. Hospice basically is about care and prayer. Social service blokes come and talk to them, organize games and entertain them. Money is all secondary here. The reasons are obvious.

It's a delicate situation to be in, trust me. I'm sorry to say, you can literally see death written all over their faces, but your job is to make them smile and forget the misery they're undergoing. Cancer patients here were either addicted to smoking or "Gutkha". Women from villages who have a lot of "Paan", not knowing that it's dangerous also end up here.

Smokerman(not taking names here), a 30 year old guy was lying in bed, waiting for youngsters like me. He wanted to pass on a good message and a horrible warning before he breathed his last. They told me he had 2 weeks to live. But he looked fine, just a small piece of bandage on his neck. Throat cancer due to smoking, I was told. Hearing this, an organ in my body found a lump in itself, my throat.

A week later, he had metres of bandage around his neck, to cover the hollow part. Yes, the cancer cells required merely 7 days to dig out his entire flesh around the throat area. His vocal chord had been bitten off my the termite like cancer cells. He could not talk. With immense pain, he shook his hands and signaled "No Smoking boys, dont do it".

If you thought this was a difficult sight to watch, I must tell you it comes second. His mom who was hale and healthy, wept buckets sitting next to his bed, screaming that she is watching her son die every second.

A week later, Smokerman's bed was occupied by another lady. He was gone. Gone for good, but not before experiencing a tortuous 3 weeks. Every time he coughed, it must have been like a knife stabbing his throat. It was worse, every time he watched his mom watch him.

As much as I hate my sentimental posts, I feel obliged to pass on a good message :)

Remember, there is no cure for cancer. But cancer cures something...smoking.

Just keeping up the promise I made at the end of this post.