Morning news today had two dismal items that brought back old memories.
The first is about the spread of a disease nurtured by assorted Senas in Bombay: thrashing the "outsiders". Ten such assaulted by Telengana activists -- among other things, not quite the recipe to build support for Telengana. But where does this end, anyway? Do we keep drawing our boundaries closer and closer to home, keep snarling at anyone outside them as "outsiders"?
OK, so I look forward to the time when we'll assault our neighbours from across the landing for being so bold as to actually be our neighbours. Thank you, Senas and Telengana activists and whoever else across the country believes in this stuff.
But the reason this brought back memories is that I once worked at that BHEL facility, doing "Practice School" as part of my college curriculum. Six months of fascinating microprocessor programming among some sharp people indeed. (Where are you now, Mr Suryanarayana?)
The second item is about the small plane that was flown into a building housing IRS offices in Austin. The man responsible, Joseph Stack, seems to have been one more of that peculiar breed: people so disgruntled at what they perceive as injustice and mistreatment from the world at large that they set out to kill complete innocents.
But the reason this item brought back memories is that I once worked in a company housed in that same building. When it was first set up in the early 1980s, MCC was housed in this very Echelon building and a couple of neighbouring ones, one of which was called Kaleido (see the reference here).
MCC's Software Technology Program hired me in early 1986, and I spent two years in a very nice office on the top floor of Kaleido, staring at the Austin landscape through enormous plate glass windows, and working in any time off from the staring. No but seriously, I'm pretty proud of something four of us built there, PlaneText, in some senses a precursor of the Web itself. (See reference GDLT86 here).
But PlaneText aside, one of my clearest memories from my time in that office is sitting in my chair and watching small birds fly into the plate glass and fall to the ground outside, stunned. Yesterday there may have been someone in similar office in next-door Echelon, watching a small plane fly into that plate glass. Something inside me shivers at the thought.