Blog post dedicated to my friend M Henri Day from Stockholm, Sweden. Today I learnt that he’s no more and passed away in the first week of December last year. He one of my few good friends from college days. We both were so called “power posters or top contributors” as Google named us in their different forums. I was one of top contributors in Google Apps (Gsuite / Google Workplace) and he was …..well to be honest I don’t even recall that now after 11 years about which specific Google product he was active on. I think it was Google bookmarks, Picasa and few other things. We were super active in those forums for no specific reason but because it was just fun helping people around. Plus that was the time I learnt how DNS works and was very excited to talk about it with everyone. I was out of school and didn’t perform well & got into a college which was ok. To be true college was less fun and life in Radaur was harsh but somehow I developed the taste of the life there. I documented part of that life in some old posts here and here.
So in a way these groups were a good exit from harsh life back then. It become more fun in 2011 when Google announced Top Contributor summit & invited top contributors from all these forums to their HQ in Mountain View. That was fun and must say a trip I still remember in great detail. We had a direct channel with Google on testing products, passing feedback etc. Henri did not travel there as he was old plus he travelled very extensively before 1990s. He once told how he travelled from Iran, Pakistan and entered India by foot decades ago. So I missed opportunity of meeting him there. As time proceeded, I got opportunities first as consultant on projects here & there and later as full time job. Things moved on. While both of us were less active on the forums after that, we stayed in regular touch.
Henri was a retired psychiatrist and was great at discussing things. We communicated often via Gtalk/Gmail chat / Google hangouts and emails running via 2G tethering from my cell phone back then (his end was Bahnhof running on Stokab fiber on 250Mbps! :) ). I would often tell him about challenges at college, excitement of possible developments in terms of internships, projects & jobs and he used to encourage me in trying various things. His help was immense by keeping up the excitement levels around the “possibilities” at that time. In hindsight now I think that is what is most one needs when at smaller college with low exposure to the world and a overall sad ecosystem. Once in a class in first semester a lecturer told us on how he went to Bangalore in hope of job, couldn’t get it and was “kicked back”. I remember asking Henri “If he cannot get a job, what’s the point of me being here” and his long reply explaining “who knows what the hell lecturer did and if he actually was at right place or not”. The variety of our discussion was endless.
He would often mention about challenges he was having with Linux as he used to promote Linux on low end re-cycled desktops for old age people around Stockholm. As time proceeded, so did our discussions. He was getting old, I was getting busy with my job. I recently sent him multiple emails and chat messages. After not hearing back, today I called his landline number & his partner told that he passed away. It feels bad and a huge loss of a great friend who helped a lot. I hope he rests in peace. 😟