Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Count your blessings

It was one such beautiful night that makes you think even a power cut is a blessing. Unable to bear the sultriness inside the house, I went outside and was awed by the golden half moon lighting the entire neighbourhood, making me wonder how much we miss this inexpensive everyday wonder. Strikingly there was not any star in the part of the sky I was looking at. The golden crescent was ruling unassumingly amidst high rising coconut trees and teakwood trees. Part of the branches and leaves were silhouetted and part fully visible. One has to see to believe the beauty. I don't have words to describe it.

This made me think of the ordeals people living in Tamilnadu, other than those blessed souls in 'Singara Chennai', are facing every day due to more than 10-12 hours of power cut daily. For Chennaiites its only two hours a day. And for us blessed souls living in God's own country it is a mere half an hour a day.

I happened to visit a relative in Tamilnadu recently. It was a Sunday afternoon. Everyone was at their lazybones's best. All the family members started having a friendly chat with me as I was there after quite some time. About an hour passed by. Suddenly all the members disbursed without saying a word. Though I was taken aback a little, I soon gathered myself and watched them one by one. The lady of the house went to the kitchen and started cooking using the induction stove. The gas cylinder was empty as they had already exhausted that year's qouta of six. The man started washing clothes in the washing machine. The teen aged daughter was busy grilling something in the micro wave oven. And her brother started fixing the vacuum cleaner. Even the grandma did her bit by grinding something in the mixer. It was as if someone had switched on a remote control to infuse life into the house and the people living there. An hour went by and all the activities ceased automatically again as if controlled by a remote control. Yes, you have guessed it right. They were fully utilising the quality time when the electricity board is kind enough to supply power to them.

As can be expected a heated discussion followed centered around the erratic power supply.
No other place on earth would have such long durations of power cut. I simply don't know why we have to pay power tariffs at all.”

But you have inverter which is being charged with the power supplied by the Board.”

We hardly get power for six hours a day and no inverter can supply power with that charge for eighteen hours.”

You should count your blessings. See how much work can be organised in a short time with proper planning. We saw that right now.”

The entire collective energy of the family is utilised for such planning and execution alone. What about the children's studies? What will they do in families who can't afford inverters?”
I don't think any house in Tamilnadu can afford to do without an inverter these days. Besides we have the legacy of great men and women excelled even by studying under street lights.”
Those were days when you required power only for lighting. Todays children are loaded with projects and homework using Internet. They come up with easy excuses for not scoring well in the class.”
"What about festival days and auspicious functions? Don't people take it as bad omen if lights go off halfway?"
"Not any more. Since that has become a routine now."
"Then that is a good sign too. People are coming out of their superstitions."

Even the farmers are affected as they don't get the power required to irrigate their fields.”
And think of the small shop keepers. Their sales are dwindling in spite of the festival season as people don't venture to go out in the dark. What will these retailers do to earn their living?”
May be they are having a taste of how their plight would be when the big names in retail trade grab their share of business with the entry of FDI in retail.”

Perhaps this is a part of the lobbying that is being talked about.”

Oh, no. This is only temporary. Things would improve once the Koodankulam plant starts commisioning.”

Then, is it lobbying for the plant?”

No further discussions on this line. Lest we might be booked under 66A.