student reactions.

In Aug 2008, the CSA network was completely down for 7 days and was intermittent for around 15 days. The reason was more manual than technical — but let’s not go into it. Currently, over the weekend, the network was intermittent, i.e. it used to work for 4.5 min and then used to go down for 5 min. Yes, it was well timed and consistent. Therefore, bhOndOO’s work on the machine was divided into the chunks of 4.5 min distributed over the time-line separated by 5 min. bhOndOO remembered the old days of punched cards when programmers used to get one-hour slot in a week to execute their programmes on mainframes.

While bhOndOO was seated in front of his non-functional machine in Computing Lab, thinking what to do, students came to the lab and tried logging in. bhOndOO, out of the helpful thought of reducing their efforts, told a few of them that the logins were not working. Here are some typical reactions:

  • S1 listens to bhOndOO, sighs, “Oh!” and leaves the lab.
  • S2 listens to bhOndOO, sighs, “Damn it! I had to write an important mail.”, curses IISc in general, CSA in particular, and leaves.
  • S3 ignores bhOndOO and tries logging in to 2 machines twice each, confirms that it is not working, and leaves the lab.
  • S4 ignores bhOndOO, tries logging in to a machine, and it fails. He then types his password carefully and it fails again. He then speedily types some random characters and presses enter, the login fails again. He then bangs the keyboard twice and leaves the lab.
  • S5 complains, “How will I finish my assignment? I will miss the deadline. This is ridiculous!”, looks hopelessly at bhOndOO, as if he is the culprit, and leaves.
  • S6 shouts, “But why is it not working? This is the most crappy thing I have ever seen in IISc. No wonder India is lagging behind.” (bhOndOO raises eyebrows and keeps silent).
  • S7 shouts, “Then why don’t you do something?”. bhOndOO makes a face suggesting what could a poor soul like him do in this situation. S7 continues, “Has anyone complained to the Chairman? Is anyone at least looking into it? We don’t even know when it will be fixed. This is so insane!”, bangs his fist on a CPU, utters some bad words, and leaves.
  • S8 thinks for a while, and then calmly says, “We should start a signature campaign.”.
  • S9 suggests, “Shall we complain to the Director about it?”. bhOndOO turns to him. S9 continues, “If that also doesn’t work, we will inform the HRD ministry. They are above Director.”. bhOndOO doesn’t know how to react, he keeps looking at him. “If nothing is done even then, then we will go for press!”. bhOndOO utters, “Please go ahead.”.
  • S10 exclaims, “Oh! Cool!”, and leaves the lab.

bhOndOO stopped telling junta of the non-working machines after this.


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