February 10, 2013

The System Administrator

It wasn't until 1997 that I got my first computer. It wasn't my first touch with the machine though. There was this beautiful language called Logo which is now a childhood shrine. I remember when I was in class 3, our strict computer teacher Mr. Haque used to take us to computer lab and ask us to take off our shoes and socks and quietly follow him inside the lab. Computer labs had such enigmatic and charismatic aura about them with the carpets, curtains and exhaust fans running wild. While we sat on carpet looking at the machine(was it 286?) with utmost bewilderment, he told us that he is going to log in and show us how it works. At that point of time, I only knew that he has some special access to the computer and he practically controls it using his secret password. He was the administrator. The System Administrator! The man who owns the machine and knows how to make it work and turn and twist it in whatever way possible. The man who uses his cryptic knowledge to interact with the weird looking wafers inside the machine. Oh, what a privilege!

After a couple of years, I frequented a certain computer lab to play games like Dave and run DOS commands like dir. Every time I went there, I was greeted by simple yet shrewd looking men who used to log in the machine with the username Supervisor. As a curious kid who asked "What's this?" and "What's that?" to everyone around, I couldn't stop myself from asking about it. With genuine nonchalance and as a matter of fact, he told me that he was the System Administrator. I looked around at the 10 odd computers(was it 386?) and marveled at this man who knew how to operate and administer all of them at once. Well, he was The System Administrator. The interface between mankind and the world of bits and bytes(this piece of information was acquired much later). Human with the magic wand! It wasn't even remotely an obsession but I started respecting system administrators and secretly yet fervently wished to be like them. There came the winter of 1997 when first computer(was it 486?) landed up in my home. A certain fat engineer came to do the settings and instinctively I knew he belonged to hallowed family of system administrators. He set the BIOS password and told me what it is. The desire deep down inside got me enthralled and I asked him to give me the BIOS password. He paused abruptly and gave me a suspicious bone-chilling look and smirked "No kid, you'll damage the machine.". Knowing that I couldn't complain to my parents "Look, this guy is not giving me password but I want to be a system administrator", I resigned to fate and restricted myself to simple dos commands, Windows 3.1 and the 8-bit games. School got over and college started and my new college had various labs with lots of computers(was it Pentium I?). I did a recce of the labs and I knew there would be guys around who would be system administrators for those machines. It felt good. During the initial few classes of structured programming, a professor having domineering personality told us about the passwords that we would get to access Linux machines. He was the master, the creator, the god of the machines: the superior of system administrators. System administrators were typically lean, mean and thin guys who often ate samosas in the corner and didn't interact much with the masses. Four years of college where plenty of time was spent in labs, I had this slightly empty feeling of not playing the role of system administrator ever. The guy who set the BIOS password in 1997 was still insurmountable.

My first job was at Hewlett Packard, an IT company with lot of system administrators. I got my desk, my machine(was it Pentium II?) and usernames and passwords. Alas, none of them had administrator privilege and this felt like a fleeting dream. I didn't pay much heed to it afterwards and continued with my work. I used to write shell scripts and ftp on servers residing in US etc. and many times I had to request someone with the admin access and that was just routine. That was just routine until one fine day my manager called me inside conference room for a talk. He asked me calmly "Do you want to be a system administrator for those servers?". When you look back at the your life and the incidents that happened and were forgotten, certain moments stand out leaving indelible marks on life. Those moments had plethora of exuberance and unmatched excitement and gave tremendous satisfaction. This was one such moment. This was it. The calm atmosphere inside the conference room felt unreal and suddenly all the chairs, round table, white boards vanished and it was like I am standing in space and from a different galaxy my manager is mincing the words like a robot running on low battery "Do- you - want - to - be- a- system- adm..inis..trator..". I suddenly shifted back to reality and wanted to blurt out "What? You're asking me if I want to be a system administrator? Don't you know all my life I wanted to be one? Don't you..". I said yes exuberantly. Since that day, every time I saw my manager at the coffee machine, canteen, outside his meeting room, lift and practically anywhere and everywhere, I asked him "Hello. When are you making me system administrator?". I am sure he grew suspicious and wondered what is wrong with me but one fine day I got a system generated mail stating my administrator username, ozak. I heaved a sigh of relief and walked around the office quietly and triumphantly. I looked at the Linux workstations around, the bash prompt and it felt surreal. I was the system administrator. I never bothered about updating resume regularly but I made it a point to add 'Linux System Administrator' to it. It was a system administrator role limited to those machines but what the heck, I was the system administrator. Every time I typed su on the bash prompt, I was overjoyed. Like all variants of happiness, this too was ephemeral and the initial euphoria subdued after a few days however the feeling of contentment lingered. It was probably a normal human psyche to be in control of things but more importantly it was coupled with a love called technology.

The guy who set the BIOS password in 1997 and refused to share, hello, I too have admin privileges now.

September 21, 2011

Letters II

Dear Blogger-in-me,

It's our first meet this year. Lost thoughts need translation in you.

Stay intruding,

Dear Last-5-years,

A roller-coaster swivels in a fixed path at least. You turned me upside down in whichever way you wanted. I got you though.

Stay vigorous,

Dear Gurgaon,

I know you were forced to become a city. Be home to the visitors. Settle the dust. I can feel it everywhere.

Stay reasonably priced,

Dear SMS,

You're so good when you arrive when I want you to. So annoying when you're bombarded to everyone. 

Stay chiming,

Dear Age,

Grow proportionately with necessary ingredients. Enough said.

Stay monotonically increasing(until I want),

Dear Biryani/Haleem,

I missed you this Eid. Not just Eid, I miss you often.

Stay served,

Dear Maid,

Be regular and bring some variety in the food. It's not a jail's kitchen, remember.

Stay regular,

Dear Quakes,

I see you coming often. Choose well.

Stay unmoved,

Dear Twitter,

How much philosophical crap can you tolerate? #fail

Stay propagating,

Dear King,

Your enthusiasm towards life is an inspiration.

Stay happy,

Dear Friends-who-got-married,

Looks like you all got a good deal. Reappear. Resurface.

Stay content,

Dear Nagging Problems,

The attenuation is just at the right level. Certains things are approaching.

Stay diminishing,

Dear West Delhi,

I miss your brimming markets, kebabs and culture. Shall we meet soon?

Stay Punjabi-ish.

Dear Filter Coffee,

The aroma and richness is often missing. Drink you more.

Stay refreshing,

Dear Rel,

Meet, Converge and keep your vices away.

Stay tuned,

Dear Perl,

You make it so simpler. You're so fast.

Stay matching,

Dear Friends-who-did-MBA,

Use public transport sometimes.

Stay climbing,

December 31, 2010


Dear Kerala,

Miss your weather, greenery, hills and the beaches and lot more. Make yourself happen once more.

Stay slanted,


Dear Blogger,

How many times I have promised you that you’ll get to see me more often? Thought translation in words is what I need.

Stay active,


Dear Facebook,

You’re a part of life that I don’t really need. Get some more entertaining apps next year, Okay?

Stay up,


Dear Mumbai,

Not your fault but let me stay away from you. We will meet on trips and tours.

Stay chaotic,


Dear Delhi,

Keep chucking IDD. You’re place to be, where I want to be. Translate few things to real plane.

Stay Glittering,


Dear BM,

Really enjoyed the late-night intense chats on society, politics and career. Of course, we can’t convince each other. J

Stay irreverent,


Dear IIMK,

What two years of pleasant peaceful stay you gave me! Plus lot of things to talk about, hope you get more sensible people to walk on you. :)

Stay rainy,


Dear Winters,

You’re back after a decade in my life. I liked your presence.

Stay frozen,


Dear Nights,

Why don’t you let me sleep?

Stay dark,

Dear Bike,

I wish certain other things were as faithful as you. Sorry for not putting oil when you needed it.

Stay speeding,


Dear K F,

Thanks for everything.

Stay chirpy.


Dear Samsung,

Make better phones. Better touch phones.

Stay ringing,


Dear Student Life,

You’re missed. I don’t know if this is the end of you. You rocked.

Stay in memories,


Dear Work life,

You’re good but you need to get better. Don’t stay forever.

Stay chilled,


Dear J G,

I trust you. Thanks for the good times.

Stay delighted,


Dear Idea,

Your network is missed often. Somehow you’re always associated with easier phase of life.

Stay connected,


Dear Diary,

Let’s be friends again.

See you everyday,


Dear Thoughts,

Stay streamlined. Stay random.Stay quixotic.



Dear Micro-finance,

Stop looting people in the name of philanthropy. Your bubble will burst soon.

Stay controlled,


Dear 2010,

Never come back. You pleased and displeased x2.



September 23, 2010

Old scribbles

Just went through my pages on some of the old sites, I had registered and forgot like Myspace, WAYN etc.

Something I wrote back on Myspace then:

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Current mood:
http://x.myspacecdn.com/images/blog/moods/iBrads/amused.gif amused

Financial year coming to an end.

Waiting for April 11.

Waiting for April 30.

Will call tomorrow.

11:13 PM


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Friday, June 29, 2007


Current mood:
http://x.myspacecdn.com/images/blog/moods/iBrads/cold.gif cold

Half of this year is almost over!


4:36 PM


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Friday, March 09, 2007


Bus Conductors!!
Current mood:
http://x.myspacecdn.com/images/blog/moods/iBrads/curious.gif curious

I always wonder how bus conductors manage to be so sharp! The way they shout continuously, push and pull people and collect tickets, it seems that they have unrelenting source of energy. How do they manage to remember who all have already taken tickets in over-crowded buses? Just to check, once I took ticket and moved to another section of crowd that had just boarded in the bus. The conductor came and gave tickets to everyone and simply ignored my physical presence!! And mind you, the bus was crowded to full with 20+ people checking in and out at every stop. Hail Conductors!!


11:42 AM


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Something I wrote on WAYN in 2003...

amod's Favorites

Type of music
November Rain
Not specified yet
keep quiet.
Place to party
Place to relax
Place to holiday
Wildlife Sanctuary
Calculus - IA Maron

August 25, 2010


General asshats
Circle I Limbo

The Pope
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind

Parents who bring squalling brats to R-rated movies
Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow

Circle IV Rolling Weights

Bill Gates
Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled

River Styx

Religious People
Circle VI Buried for Eternity

River Phlegyas

Barack Obama
Circle VII Burning Sands

Narendra Modi
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement

George Bush
Circle IX Frozen in Ice

Design your own hell

March 3, 2010

Last Class

I had my last regular class as a regular student on 15th Feb, 2010 5:30-6:30 PM at the Auditorium. It was Strategic Marketing class by Prof Chandradeep Mitra. The class was about discussing the strategy by which Indian coffee was made popular in international markets. It was a combined class for both the sections. I sat with Virapandy ,may be in third or fourth row from the start. I had a class too next day at 9 AM but I had to bunk that for some unavoidable reason. Technically, I bunked my last class but I don’t like to construe it this way. I had to bunk it, not a choice, so my last class would remain the same 15th Feb class. There was a video shown in the class which was a short film made to promote Indian Coffee. I quite liked it asked the professor for a copy of it. He didn’t disappoint me.

Class before it begins

Class Ends and People walk away

I clicked pictures. Lately this is the thing which is giving me most satisfaction- capturing moments.Now that I will longer remain a student, I will go out in the open world and find out the things that give most satisfaction.

December 11, 2009

Unanswered Questions

It's funny that I like to do things when I know exactly what little I can get. It's even more funnier that when I don't know what I will get, I still get on to do it and I get what I don't really expect. I know that I know a little of this world and by far I've been a pawn that has been ably supported. What lies ahead is question meant for strategists, forecasters, planners and the likes. Funnily enough, I like to be classified among them even though I'm at best a speculator. I seek answers all the time. I'm generally not really happy with things happening around or the way they happen or the way they are portrayed. I've little authority over the proceedings but I can obviously fight with myself for not being able to change or at least reason it out. The cliched peace of mind has been lacking perennially. With just few months of study remaining, I got to find more of what I can. Library is the place to be and books are the things to aid. Society and all of the existential trash will continue to haunt. History is not meant for archaeologists only but for everyone who treads on the same ground. Pure capitalism leads to pure hedonism, something that should be abstained from. After all, we're only ordinary men. Like fishes in a bowl, trying to jump to a bigger bowl and why? That's another question.