Satoma Asadgamaya

In Memory

Migrated Datasets


Saturday, February 26, 2005

Mental Baba and VT2A375D

It's eight in the morning and Mental Baba is blissfully asleep in his cosy little bed, flitting from one psycho-temporal dimension to another. His inter-dimensional sojourn is, however, shockingly interrupted by the audacious ringing of the phone. Mental Baba gets up with a snarl and looks at the screen. "Hell Calling".

Mental Baba is not amused. He's been a superhero during his time with a motto that went somewhat like this - "You abend, I amend." But he's left those days behind. He's cuts Hell off and goes back to his snug pillow. Beep. Beep. What the blazes? Is it too much to ask for some sleep as well? Mental Baba, furious, whips his hand across to the accursed phone and reads the message. "375D abended. Baba, please come over. Please." Damnation. If there's one thing that the idiotically soft Mental Baba cannot ignore, that is a direct and personal request.

So Mental Baba gallantly rolls out of bed and prompty rolls into Hell, superhero uniform (*) and all.

It's 8.25 am by the time Mental Baba sets foot on the battleground A2D073. He glares at the kid and asks him, "What do we have here?"

"215D abended. The cycle's halted."

Mental Baba blows at his legendary fingers and growls, "Sit back and watch." He logs into the Sys D mainframe and runs his practised eye over the error logs of the wayward job VT2A375D. STEP050. RC=920. Baba snaps into attention.This is something weird. He's seen pretty much everything but this...this is weird. It's been a while since he's been challenged. He dives into the program code with gusto. It is war now.

This is no ordinary abend. IMS call failure. IMS - a hierarchical database - the mother of all inscrutable databases and the mainstay of LISA (Ludicrously Inefficient and Stupid Application). When the LISA production cycle stops, so do the heartbeats of top brass. Mental Baba smiles grimly as he realises the implications. Ratings and allowances are of no relevance to him. But proving a point is. And this is the opportunity that he's been waiting for. If he got it right, he could get them on their knees. He could probably go to Hell stark naked(+) and they wouldn't dare to murmur.

Firing on all cyclinders, Mental Baba assumes control over VT2SYS1. He keeps writing and modifying pieces of IMS code, submitting and analysing his jobs. It's a painstaking process. And it's already 10.30 am. The PL's in, her face ashen and drawn. She knows that this may mean big trouble. But she can't do a thing about it. Only Mental Baba and Codeguru are equipped to handle the treacherous IMS. Codeguru's sound asleep some thousands of miles away, in a place where Thomas Alva Edison once worked his magic. Mental Baba's working his. He is as cool as a cucumber.

6.00 am EST. 4.30 pm IST. The deadline. If the LISA cycle is not done by then, all hell will break loose in Hell. And what more, there are downstream jobs waiting in the queue. They need about 2 hours. That makes it 2.30 pm. VT2A375D to be fixed within 4 hours. It's a race against time. One that Mental Baba has never lost. He intends to keep his record clean.

11.00 am. No breakfast. No bath. But he's hot on the trail like a bloodhound.

11.10 am. He's got it! S322 is the offending segment. A pointer to a logical child is missing. He scorches through a new pointer replace program. RC=0. Great going. With a smile on his face, he submits VT2A375D in VT2SYS1. He sits back and cracks his knuckles. He cannot believe it. RC=920. But how? Beads of perspiration appear on Mental Baba's face. Perhaps it was just bad air-conditioning. He growls, "Go, wake Codeguru up."

12.05 am. Codeguru's been logged in a while. He just sends a terse one-liner. "I'm stumped."

It's crazy. It's unbelievable. The abend is shifting from twin to twin (occurrences of a segment). Mental Baba repairs the pointer to a twin and the next twin goes down in a heap. It's like all the road signs of a well known place have been changed. The system is throwing everthing that it's got. And it's a lot.

Mental Baba submits a pointer check utility against the production database. And then it hits him like a bucket of cold water. Six million pointer errors in P10. Holy craparoni! This is nasty business. He refreshes VT2SYS1 with the previous day's backups and runs the utility again. Zero errors. What happened overnight? Mental Baba is close. He throws something up to test his hypothesis. "Use of accessor id ADM0205 suspended."

It's 1.30 pm. It's the last stretch in the war and his only weapon is taken from him. He could use other weapons but he's just about had enough. He tanks.

He can hear the Damn Man saying, "And I thought you were an IMS king." Mental Baba shrugs his shoulders and fades into shadow.

* : Crumpled full-sleeved shirt and wrinkled trousers and dirty black shoes.

+ : An absurd company policy on 'formal' dressing

Management Class : Meandering thoughts of a fickle mind

mental baba 3:41 AM
baba ka katora |