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Mustered Musings

"The years teach much that the days never know." -- Emerson

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Tragic lesson from the Beslan school

Children make it different. The terror that stalks the classrooms of besieged Middle School 1 in Beslan, North Ossetia, is highly disturbing.
Who in these torrid days of random, global violence has not become accustomed, even inured, to the suicide bombings in Iraq or a host of other troublespots? Yet who, anywhere in the world, is not touched, angered or frightened - or all three - by the thought of young kids traumatised by masked killers wearing bomb-belts?

When the victims are children, the sort of horror on show in Beslan, real or threatened, represents the adult world's ultimate betrayal of innocence, its final failure to nurture and protect. Here is a shared disgrace, borne of a universal grief. Here is an international crying shame, beseeching an urgent remedy.

My heart goes all out for the people of Beslan ...

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Past few months have been problem ridden with no immediate solutions in sight. I still seem to be strolling in complete darkness. At times it becomes quite frustating. On early morning of Sunday the 22nd we had a fire in our server room. It all started with the split unit of the air conditioner which burnt itself down on the computer table and the chair underneath taking down some of the box files from the adjacent rack with it. It all piled up into a burning stack and the room filled with smoke. The fire detector did not detect it till the room got completly filled with smoke. By that time all plastic covers of computers and other AC units got melted and wires caught fire. While power to adjacent rooms got disrupted, power supply to the affected room did not trip at all. Not a single MCB tripped ! And on top of that, the centralised CO2 gas release system failed to work. It took a lot of effort on part of office staff to control it with the help of fire extinguishers. When fire brigade arrived they did not have any gas based extinguisher to fight electrical fire. Despite my repeated requests, without wasting any time they soaked all the machines with water.

The three of us, myself, Ranojoy and Madhu spent days and and nights at office to replicate the complete setup and put everything online with the support of Abhay and Deep. It still is all a big mess with no end to our sleepless nights in sight.

Is it a concidence that accidents happen in my department whenever I am not around? It is at least the fourth time it has happened. By the way, I was attending training sessions and was not attending office for about 5 days. On the day the fire incident took place, I again was to attend the concluding session of the training but had to miss it for obvious reasons.

"...When we long for life without...difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure." -- Peter Marshall