How many times have you turned a deaf ear or grudgingly complied when your mother insisted you switch off the lights every time you left a room? O bother, what harm could come to the universe because a bulb that burnt a little longer than it was required? Well, we may have never hoped to see the day when the dire consequences of taking electricity for granted would come to haunt us and how!
Turning back time?
A few months back, the idea of turning back time would have been dismissed as a ludicrous fantasy. But for some time now, we have all known an uncanny sense of time travel into the past where machines were not extensions of men. For a generation heavily reliant on Benjamin Franklin's prized discovery, these extended power cuts have eaten into every facet of our lives disrupting everything right from the way chutney tastes at the breakfast table.
“Be it returning home through shadowy lanes, retiring early to bed or turning to conversations as our only form of entertainment, we seem to be living life on the reverse,” says English lecturer Stanley. Harking to a simpler time is in the reckoning. With no television and internet to fill up the leisure hours, the devotees of the idiot box are seeking other deities including the FM radio. You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from the younger generation that television soaps are no longer the major obsession at home on weekday nights.
“After a long time the conversations at home have started to revolve around our family other than some fictional family in a melodramatic TV soap,” says Mathews, a college student.
Conversations are indeed becoming the order of the day and families have stumbled upon time to talk to each other. “I never realised my grandmother was an ace storyteller till now. I've always dismissed what she had to say while I was watching television. Now she is my chief source of entertainment and information,” shares Mathews.
Time to step out
For those who prefer confinement, the need to step out to take a walk, chat to neighbours or spend time in the garden has never risen till now, admits Swamy. “I've actually started socialising more and made a lot of friends. I spend more time outdoors now.” Games and sports are fast finding favour as diversions with school and college students, with traditional sports like kabbadi making a comeback. “Most of us are so glued to the television that only when we have to do without it, we start looking around for alternatives. I noticed some of the good books I own that were left unread,” says Asma, an engineering student.
“One good thing that has come out of the power cuts is lesser scolding. I've never stepped into the kitchen until now. Now I can cook a simple meal and my mother is delighted,” chuckles Manju. Only the traditional method of grinding spices is more exacting over with grinders and mixers rendered non-functional.
Plans that always bore the mark of procrastination, hobbies cast by the way side and long pending to-do lists- this is the time to make hay while the sun shines. For once the lights are back, we may fall back into our old routine. But perhaps we will never ever take that humble light bulb for granted.