The Y2K Bug

The whole of 1999 was spent in anticipation and trepidation. Everybody was to be affected by this strange bug and the whole world waited with bated breath. The fast approaching Y2K was going to be a very memorable event.

On the one hand the IT companies fed the frenzy to get rid of the ill effects of the unseen computer bug. On the other hand the media very sportingly fuelled the hype about the bug. They published interviews with software professionals of all hues and kinds'one eyed fellows, two eyed, three eyed, fellows with two feet, four feet, no feet'.get the idea?'..all of them. They all became instant experts and expressed (according to their own physical characteristics) varying interpretations of the Y2K bug. Explanations and interpretations flew crisscross in all directions and so did rumors of every kind. No one person was able or willing to put forth the exact effects of the fast approaching bug.

If these experts were to be believed then'.Nuclear bombs were supposed to explode and destroy the world. The telephone and the electricity systems were to go phut!!. Airplanes in flight were going to fall out of mid air. Dams were to break and flood the surroundings. All the credits in the bank accounts were to vanish and depositors were to become paupers. Everybody was busy withdrawing money from his or her bank accounts. What would have they done with the money so drawn if some of the nuclear bombs were to explode they did not bother to ask themselves. The anxiety culminated into unimaginable levels. 

The InfoTech companies played on these fears and were experiencing levels of demands never seen before. Billions of dollars were poured in by all entities to remove the bug. The CEOs of these companies were enjoying heights of ecstasy no wife or lover could give them. Dollars, Pounds and all forms of international currencies flowed into their coffers. Their financial worth crossed the ozone layer and was soon seeking the sun like a digital sunflower. 

The whirlpool at NASDAQ sucked in investors of all kinds and shapes. The "suckers" of the world congregated there. One eyed, two eyed, three eyed? NO! In fact they had no eyes at all'they were all blind!

The Governments of all the countries in the world jumped into the already frenzied whirlpool and made it murkier. They ordered everybody to become Y2K compliant. 

Condoms too were to become Y2K compliant! 

Millennium Babies were planned so as to be born exactly at midnight. How can that be done I wondered? Poor me thought it was the good 'ol "Oopperwalla" who gave us our babies. Must have been the bug in my head which generated such false ideas!

'.And what about such millennium babies I also pondered. Were they to become Y2K compliant too? Any way, I reasoned, nowadays Y2K or not babies born in such high tech delivery rooms that they often come "cordless" (without the umbilical cord). 

My neighbor, Bandya the wastrel, was judicious enough to quickly learn some programming. He was snapped up by a French firm to help them get rid of the bug. Till then the only bug the fellow had ever removed in his lifetime was lice from his own overgrown hair. He became our building's contribution to the whirlpool. 

To add to all this confusion and anxiety, out of nowhere came another form of Y2K bug and it too assumed alarming proportions. The New Millennium Party Bug!! Everybody wanted to celebrate. Millennium was a once in a lifetime event. They did not want to miss it. They too poured money like "water" into the whirlpool. Each one outdid the other with his or her choice of the venue for celebrating the new millennium.

This bug got into everybody's calculators too (earlier than expected) and their calculations went wrong, because mathematically speaking 2000 was the end of a millennium and 2001 the beginning of a new millennium. The hype began a year earlier than expected. 

All sorts of package tour were on offer. Some obscure village in New Zealand was supposed to be the first place where the sun would shine the first rays of the new millennium. People who could afford to spend headed off to the, by now, a famous village. They conveniently forgot about the danger of exploding nuclear bombs and other dangers of Y2K. What a whirlpool this one was.

The Y2K bug as well as the celebrations for the millennium year was on every lip. 

A friend, also a highly respected professional rang me up to find out whether he can switch on the computers on the 1st of January 2000. He had been warned that his computers might explode and hurt everybody in the office. He sounded very worried and cursed the day he had bought a computer. A few minutes later his partner rang up with the same query. To add to all this confusion, their secretary Lata rang me up. She was in tears and suddenly showed tendencies never seen before. She became philosophical about life and death. 

The bug also hit Gangaram my peon. Some wise crack warned him against doing sex with his wife on the eve of 2000. They warned him that once he started doing sex with her his organ might go on expanding and cause great harm to her and of course him. He took no chances and sent his wife to his distant village much earlier. Later he appeared very worried and distracted for most of 1999.

Finally nothing really came out Y2K. It came and went without any event though all the airports wore a deserted look at midnight of New Year's Eve. The waters calmed down like all whirlpools eventually do. 

But poor Gangaram spent the first night of 2000 holding onto his precious family jewel lest it would grow uncontrolled like a celestial worm. 

The image reminds me of the poor Gangarams of the world who got caught in the Y2K whirlpool.  


More by :  Satish Nair

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