Monday, April 10, 2006

Current Cut!

Last week on one of those usual afternoons, it happened! Power Cut!! With dirty clothes getting a last minute parole, rice and dal getting an extension to remain soaked, I realised I wouldn't even be able to boil water. The hardest part was explaining to my daughter that nothing would work till power was restored! Even though the power came back in a couple of hours, the scare it gave me was really something! Only once before had I experienced this power outage in this country but that time too it was for a few hours in the wee hours of the morning. But every winter, every storm, the fear of a power outage will be nagging in the back of my head.

Managing without electricity in India was not a big deal but here, it is a nightmare! I was thinking of those numerous days when our family have had candle light or torch light dinners, the times when I would have waited an eternity for my favourite show on TV and the electicity dept. 'punyawaan' would choose the very same day/time to get his evil satisfaction by cutting the power supply or the numerous days when a little swaying of the leaves along with a drizzle would make the TNEB go 'munn jagradhai muthanna' or those times when I would have planned to burn the mid-night oil for my mid-term exams and 'poof' gone the power supply or the many midnights in hot summer when out go the power and in come the mosquito population to have their December season equivalent with 'arusuvai unavu'!!

22 comments:

NaiKutti said...

coming to think of it that u literally can't do anything without electricity is quite scary... have a kutti gas adupu (like the small scale propane stoves which are usually used while people go for camping) and that might help u do some cooking :-) (aana, fire alarm might cause a problem)

current cuts during favorite TV shows -- its like murphys laws...:-)...

ttm said...

Towards end of '87, Ramayan occupied #1 on the TRP rating and was featuring the episode where Hanuman(Dara Singh) takes fire on his tail and sets Lanka ablaze. While we were lucky, some parts of the city suffered a massive outage and missed the 2nd half of the serial. In keeping with the turn the serial was taking, miscreants in frustration set fire to a EB office!

Who needed power cuts when the notorious DD was good enough to cry 'satellite link failure' and wimp out during several key sporting moments?

:: The Protector :: said...

we people used to it....btw congrats on your century... :P

Cheers!
:)

Munimma said...

I have a seen a few in this country, but the worst was in Orlando, during one of those biggie storms, when we lost power for 2 or 3 days. our friend and neighbor had a new born (days old), so you can imagine the troubles!

Back home, those were the norm, just like mom's regular fasts ;-)

Has to be me said...

Yup we are so used to being with power that we cant imagine doing w/o it! With all the technological advancements these days, we tend to wonder how we survived w/o them! Cell phone for instance...!

I said...

The dismissive "We are used to it" shows how inefficient things are in India.

lol @ candle light/torch light dinners and the "evil" TNEB guy. Is there anyone in TN that had'nt done that.

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Balaji said...

has happened only a couple of times so far but remember everything about those days! only then do u realize how dependent u r on electricity in this country :)

I said...

You are dependent on electricity in any country. But since the inconvenience is more frequent in the Third World, ur anger is kinda re-distributed more evenly and u don't feel that much pissed.

Me too said...

Karthik, a couple of years back I was serious about getting a propane gas stove but due to safety concerns and space problems didn't go ahead.

ttm, atleast DD's 'thadangalukku varundhugirom' meant nobody else would watch it!! :)

Vishnu, thanks.

Munimma, never really realised the graveness of 'lost power of 2-3 days' until it affected us.

has to be me, it's not just being used to it, there is no other way!

I, the amount of curses the the 'evil' TNEB guy got from me would tie with that of Pallavan bus service!!

Balaji, true!

The Talkative Man said...

During 'thadangalukku varundhugirom'/'Sorry for the break' DD would display the pic of a rat biting the wire with great pride!

During the French open final '92, Steffi graf and monica seles were battling out a 2-hour thriller 8-8 in the final set when DD chose to wimp out and got back to show us the prize distribution. During the 93 Davis Cup quarterfinal in France, we expected underdogs India to lose 5-0 but 20 year-old Leander played like a dream and took us to a spectacular 3-2 upset. The first day, we were watching in pleasant shock when Leander was whipping the french in front of 5 Indians and 20000 french fans. DD conked out and didnt show us the last 15min.(since the telecast was on DD2, we could get only 20-30min of the match on DD1 and even that was truncated)
3 yrs ago I was on the phone with an old friend and mentioned these 2 incidents. Immediately he exploded into a torrent of 'khatarnaak' tamil abuses for about half a minute. Then he laughed and said it felt really good to swear like that at the DD buggers even after a decade, when he was small he just didnt knew how to give a fitting response to the disappointment!

kuttichuvaru said...

well, lemme tell u my story... it was 2003, aug 14th.... the poor me is coming to the US for the first time for my MS, straight out of college in India.... my flight lands at 4:15 PM n BAM, the power goes off in 8 states!! remember the black-out in MI, OH n 8 states likewise in 2003.... it was then... we were made to sit in the flight itself for 3 hrs n then, with the slow immigration procedures further delayed by the blackout, came out of the airport at 1030 in the nite... n the poor souls tat had come to pick me up had left long bak with no hopes!!

howz tat for a first time entry into the US??

btw, this comment has prompted me for a detailed blogpost on this issue... will do it soon!! danks for tat!!

I said...

The idea of having a "national TV" in a country with different cultures is almost as stupid as having a "national langage". The central government had that much control over our lives. It could stipulate at what times regional programs could be aired. At other times, we had to watch whatever was aired on DD. Very few programs like 'The world this week' were good.

DD-1 was so full of crap, forerevr and always. I remember that the thadangalukku varindhigirom message was accompanied by a robotic heavy instrumental music. Gosh, I hated that.

After the 'second channel' came to Madras, things kinda got better. And briefly in 1992-93 the Metro channel was fabulous. Countdowns (Priya, locking her fingers together and shouting 'aindhavadhu edathai piditha paadal' stands out), new videos, new sitcoms like Madhu-Cheenu..

And then they were suddenly cut short by the orders of the entertainment ministry. Saala Indhi vaale. Junoon was pushed down our throats. When sensible people refused to watch that crap, it got dubbed into Tamil. 'junoon tamil' was the greatest disservice done to the language of Tamil in modern times. Shockingly people in Madras watched even that coz there was nothing better. It was so popular that it was transferred to the 'first channel'/national DD.

Till the advent of cable televiesion in India, there was one less motivation for me to live. I mean what's life without good TV? Even now DD spews out the same trash, it's almost like MS Subhalakshmi- one dimensional, repetitive and uninspiring.

Finally cable TV saved us from the evil clutches of DD. And DD hasnt changed at all. Horrible coverage of events, govt censored news and repetitive programs..it just continues. Can't someone just bomb all DD stations.

Me said...

chk this out...

I said...

The gas-stove is also available!

Deepa said...

Mid-term ku midnight oil ah? Wow!
TTM, lol....the rat biting was so funny. I agree with you. In spite of all that I liked DD then coz of "Ek Chidiya anek Chidiya" kind of stuff.

TTM said...

Looking at the Bellsouth service vans on the road, I wonder what kind of facilities the TNEB(or ??EB) had those days. We're talking about 80s when urbanization was miniscule, technology primitive, so all that expansion/maintenance stuff that TNEB undertook did warranty those powercuts. Looking at the inconveniences that the avg US-dweller goes through in the event of a power-cut, I get the feeling that the difficulties Indians face were really really marginal(mosquitoes aside). Or we got so much used to it that we ended up developing efficient coping mechanisms! The indian powercut eats into your wants but the US powercut cuts into your needs.

Having a service provided in lousy fashion is a different issue as in case of DD! I've been to this income tax office in Mumbai where the lift operator told us lifts were for ascending only and made us walk down 8 floors!

I(AAT?) has a pre-conceived mindset and his rant is understandable ;) DD had some really good Hindi serials and enjoyed good re-runs on Sony and Home TV later around 97-99. Madras had its share of crap too - those Tues 740 dramas where Delhi Ganesh played hero, comedian, supporting actor and every possible role. Ultimately everything has its share of the sublime and the inane and it's the viewer's attitude that determines its likeability.

ttm said...

Rt-click and Save As:
Ek Chidiya
Balloon

Films Division has all the DD videos of last 30 years.

Me too said...

ttm, I'm sure you would've heard 'Manasukkul ukkandhu' from 'Kalyana Agadhigal' and I faintly remember seeing the making of the song on DD when KB made sure the lyricist add 'thadangalukku varutham sonnen'! My family would fondly refer to abruptly truncated programmes as 'menniya pudichitanga'!!

KC, what is with you and dramatic events? I'm speechless!!

I, totally agree about 'Junoon Tamil'! But I somehow liked the Friday-Oliyum OLiyum, Saturday-'Indhi' Cinema, Sunday-Tamil Cinema, Monday-kutcheri, Tues-drama schedule than the Cinema overload now.
Gas-stoves? where?

me, everybody has a story-a?

Deepa, mid-annavukku mid-anna... kandukadeenga! Me too used to love those DD cartoon tidbits

ttm, yes, we are so used to expecting hitches that it still takes me a while to understand that simple/easy instructions would work!

Neo said...

Im a movie freak...seeing this post I can only remember a movie called "Trigger Effect" *ing Elizabeth Shue and I dont remember the guy..the movie was a flopper but it was a good thought process about what all can happen when "nothing" works.

Su said...

When I think of powercuts in India, I think of dripping wax, mosquitoes and my grandmom asking us to say " rama rama" a 100 times before the power came back again.