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Light - Or The Absence Of It

Load shedding is a wonderful term.  I don't have any idea what it means.  I only know that it refers to power cuts where I live.  Out here in India, we experience power cuts quite frequently.  It can mean agony, depending on the season.  If it happens during the day in the summer season, it means the absence of cool air.  If it happens at night, whatever the season, it means the absence of light. Light is one of those things that you never miss until you lose it.  You're suddenly, often without warning, plunged into a black depth and you're desperately scrabbling for a torch, matches, candles, anything!  You inwardly thank Heaven if you've cooked your dinner and fed your kids before it happens.  It means tension for the parents of young children.  Searching for your children in the dark is not a good place to be.  Sensible people keep emergency lights ready and even emergency power systems are in place in many houses - some of us use inverters which are devices to store a spare supply of power in order to maintain an emergency light or fan to stave off wilting completely in the heat.  Others maintain large, noisy generators which sound like a small aeroplances - or maybe even large aeroplanes.  But sometimes the power cut goes on for too long and even these emergency power systems can burn out as we wait in agony for the pain to end and the power to return, for the light to come back,for the fans to start whirring again and yes, even for water to flow from the taps.... I remember once, during a summer power cut, I accidentally set my bed on fire.  The light went just after dinner.  We all went outside to sit in the dark.  It was somewhat cooler there and we wanted to wait for the light to return.  I searched desperately for my footwear, a pair of chappals (open sandals).  Scrabbling around with a candle in hand, I took a quick look under my bed.  Failing to find them, I went away.   Then a flare of light was noticed in my room.  I ran in and saw the bedsheet had caught fire. Yellow flames were leaping and licking the dark air. Luckily, I was able to smother the fire in a relatively short time. The bed escaped damage and only the bed covering, a light cotton sheet, was damaged so as to be rendered unusable. So well that ends well? Not quite. I rejoiced at the minimal damage. My mother-in-law, however, was furious over the fate of the bedsheet. When my children asked her why she would not talk to me, she told them to ask their mother why she had burnt a brand new bedsheet! As if I'd done it on purpose and not by accident! As I said, power cuts are a nuisance. I pray that they will be minimal, this year and every year. So let the light shine!

This post originally appeared on my blog Write Away.


  1. Absolutely no fault of yours, that wasn't very nice of your mother-in-law! It is amazing how much we take light and electricity in general for granted.

    CJ xx

  2. Well I guess that was a pretty predictable response from mother-in-law?

    As you know we also have frequent power and water cuts and it can be so inconvenient at times. More than once I've been in the shower, lathered up, when the water has trickled to a halt. Not much fun!

  3. I am fortunate to live in Pune where we have a system of Private Public participation which ensures that we get all the electricity we want but we pay a higher price per unit than any other place in Maharashtra. Without that we too had similar problems and outside Pune, people here too are forced to endure long hours of load shedding as it is called here too!

  4. You'd think that she'd be pleased that you'd put it out!
    I can remember when my children were small and we had lots of power cuts then because of striking. Not nice.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May


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