Load shedding, rolling blackouts, planned power cuts… what ever you wish to call them, they are inconvenient and in the heat, distressing. They happen here on a Wednesday, the day the factories have a holiday. The power is switched off and if you don’t have a generator (like us), you have to just sit and wait until it comes back.
I remember having power cuts as a child, very rarely, but if it was after the sun went down it was exciting. Lighting candles throughout the house and looking outside to see the other dark houses, sometimes people would gather in the street. During the Indian summer however, power cuts are not exciting, not one bit. Yesterday, the power went out in two hour intervals which allowed me to cool down but last Wednesday, the power was out for five and a half hours straight…
The fan just stopped, leaving me in an uncomfortable silence. I live with the fan on (day and night) and have become accustomed to its whirling, without the constant soft drone, I notice that the clock on the wall ticks ridiculously loudly. It has taken me about thirty seconds to become too hot. Both my laptop and my phone are drained of power and I have nearly finished my book. Hurry up electricity!!
I’ve finished reading my book, but because of the heat I am feeling drowsy. I am not really sure what happened at the end of the story, I will have to reread the last couple of chapters once the power comes back (The Devil and Miss Prym, Paulo Coelho). It has to come back soon. I have had to cover Alfonso with water to keep him cool, he looks really fed up and doesn’t want to play. Not sure whether it’s because I have covered him in water or because of the heat but he is grumpy!
I fell asleep in a hot haze, waking up I feel so sticky, strange and disorientated. What did people do before coolers and fans? When I look out of my bedroom window, I can see homes which still don’t have either. How do they cope with this heat? I feel so drowsy and light headed, please come back electricity, I will never take you for granted ever again…
I think it is best I have another shower to cool off.
The water from the cold tap was boiling hot, either the electricity or the rains need to come now! I’ve made a fan from folded newspaper, I remember making these at school when I was about ten or eleven. I didn’t have much use for this skill in England, glad I remembered it (it’s just folding a piece of paper lots of times, quite simple). I fan both Alfonso and myself, I should maybe start exercising more, it only took a couple of minutes before my arm started to really ache.
The ticking clock is really annoying me now, it is so loud! I have considered taking it down and taking out the batteries but then I won’t know the time (both the laptop and my phone have no battery) and I don’t think I have the energy to do it anyway.
I am going to have to go to sleep again, this heat is exhausting and I think I have just seen a mirage!!
I have just been woken up by the air conditioning unit beeping, the fan slowly starts to twirl once more. Finally, bliss.
Whilst writing this post, the power went out again…
It’s not just Wednesdays after all!
OMG!! Horrible! I remember those situations too. When I used to stay with my MIN in the house we had the same problem. Best option when the heat was unbereable was to leave the house and go to the mall. Thank God in our apartment here we have 24hrs power back up in the building. It only takes 5sec. for power to come back. That is big advantage of apartments 😀 But otherwise there are also many disadvantages compared to staying in a house. I don’t know when India will solve this problem. Not so soon I guess.
PS. Sorry about my English. I know I have to work to master it. My Indian husband’s cousin who was born and raised in USA and now is back to India keeps correcting me all the time 😀
Your English is great, don’t worry!
Sooo great you have back up, I bet you are so grateful for it now after having to deal with it yourself. The malls in Nagpur are sooooo far way from where I live but it is a good idea if there is a long one.
Once we move (to Pune, Bangalore or Hyderabad) there will be probably more places to spend ‘power out’ times 😀
I hope you are well! Lots of love xxx
As I am about to move to Taiwan, I hear crazy stories about typhoons and sub-sequential power cuts. It seems like sometimes the power can be off for up to a couple of days, depending on how intense the storm was. It usually happens during summer when the weather is filthy hot and humid and AC is needed the most. Since water distribution is electrically controlled in most buildings, during a power cut water is not available either.
I am frankly a bit scared!
Wow, Taiwan, that is so exciting!!
Oooo try to move to a place with a generator or buy and inverter (I don’t know what one of those is, but my husband is saying we will get one??).
We have a well outside our house so if the water goes, they turn on a pump with a generator! Sometimes that water is brown though
Best of luck in Taiwan, it will be an amazing experience! xxx
Sounds pretty tough, Lauren! You sound like you are having a hard time. I sympathize as I hate the humid heat! What do you do about food spoilage? Try to keep cool and collected and do meditative type things. Isn’t Monsoon season soon? Love, xxx ellen
Humid heat is horrible! Monsoon is really late but it rained last night so things are hopeful!
I don’t know about food spoilage, we only really have vegetables in the fridge and the milk we keep in a pan and boil every couple of hours (the Indian way of doing it!)
Lots of loveeee xxx
Before coolers and fans, Indians used bamboo hand held fans which could rotate at the handle giving the fan a circular movement. The rich used pieces of muslin sewn on a rectangular bamboo frame hung to the ceiling as fan. The frame was connected with rope and a pulley system. A servant sitting outside the door used to to pull the rope and move the frame. The movement had the same effect of that of a ceiling fan. Sure hard of the servants, I must say. The muslin were soaked in fragrant water to produce a waft of perfume throughout the room.
The Mughals ofcourse had water channels running through their palaces carrying hot and cold water to regulate temperatures during summer and winter. It is also said that there were double walls and water kept on circulating through the walls giving a cooling effect. When the first trains were introduced in India, the royal coaches had ice filled in the walls to give a comfortable ride to the royalty. Old houses have high ceilings and thick walls which keep the houses cool naturally. This is what I have read somewhere.
Hey Friend, thank you so much for that amazing information!!
Poor servants and clever Mughals!! Really interesting!
Thank you for sharing! ❤
I am an Indian (Marathi) and I have faced such situations before. Its very hard during power-cut. During summer, there are power-cuts of 6-8 hrs daily in tier II and tier III cities. The rich and the middle classes can somehow manage this difficult situation. However, the poor people especially the workers and farmers who have to work on site suffer the most. I feel very bad for them. A number of people die in summer because of this extreme heat.
I think a solution for this is the installation of Solar Panels on each house. With the great amount of heat being received almost throughout the year, a Solar Plant would work very efficiently. I hope the NDA government takes some initiative in this sector.
Yes, I feel so sorry for the workers when they still have to work outside even though it is 48oC. More than 11 people died in Nagpur because of working in the heat this summer.
Solar panels would be great for India because we have so much sun!! I really hope that someday this will become a reality!
Oh that sounds horrible! When I was in India for a summer I remember those horrible power cuts. The heat and the mosquitoes! My family had electric mosquito repentant thingys and they would go off with the power. I hope the monsoon comes soon 🙂
Hey Tina, I really want one of those mosquito things because now monsoon is coming, the mozzies will be returning!! Ouch! ❤
Oh noo.. it is hard to be in that situation. Most of the house holds in India doesn’t have the AC in general. I grew up without ac in our home.. power cut, water problem all things were normal back then.. also with rising temperatures it is hard now-a-days. Back in those days.. we had plants every where, the fresh breeze under the shadow of a plant was sufficient. With growing population and luxuries, increase in carbon foot prints, summer have become kind of unbearable. Winters were really cool at one point, I don’t see that anymore.. it’s like summer in winter.
Other alternative we tried to make things cool at home was – hang the jute that fits the window sill and sprinkle the water on it..and let the air pass through from outside that in turns cools it down. Eat lots of cucumbers / lime juice (one small lemon juice squeezed, add water and sugar.. add ice cubes if u have and consume it.. feels good) and that were helpful to keep body cool as well.
I guess we had lots of plants in our home and around and that made a difference.
I love love love houseplants and once we move into our own home, we will get some!!
Thank you so much for the tips! So useful, take care
Power outages were (and still are) my fav thing! Usually they were due to lightening storms so that really added to the ambience.. It was kind of the only time my entire family gathered together lit candles and would just talk for ages! And once the power would return just like that we would switch back to being our reclusive selves and return back to our respective corners of the house!
Cool! You should experience a 8 hr Power-Cut during summer in India when the temperatures are 45+ degrees. It will be a mind blowing experience! 🙂
That’s great, I love watching storms too!
Awww so sweet and lovely. Maybe you should trip the switch and force a power cut on your family if they are being to reclusive 😛 ❤
Haha good idea! But now I’m living with my in-laws so I have no problem with being in my own little bubble! Lol
Oh 😛 xxx
Load shedding is very common in Nepal as well. Every time I go there, I have to adjust the timetable around the time when there is power. I sometimes wonder how people manage to live like that but then that is the only choice they have. Sometime I feel bad that we take things for granted here and not realizing how good we have.
Yes, power cuts are really humbling and thing about those who live without electricity!!
I hope you are well! xxx
Nice one ,True Reality.
God these power cuts are nasty, I don’t miss them one bit in Mumbai. The longest I had was in Bangalore….18 hours! I was preggo, DH was off to the airport to pick up relatives that planned to stay overnight, I was all out cooking a dal Makhani, a storm started, bam no current, after a few hours we suspected a tree did knock down a line somewhere, but it didn’t make it better, sweating bullets sucks, sweating bullets at night while pregnant massively sucks because you are already getting so little of that freaking thing called sleep in your last few weeks that you don’t need more triggers to keep you up at night. The next morning the water tank was empty, the pump could not work without power and we gave up, going out to a restaurant to have breakfast all sticky and smelly from the night from hell. Turned out it was indeed a tree that cut that power, and they took the whole morning to fix the problem. Load shedding were never more than 2 hours at a time in Bangalore when I was living there.
My gosh, I cannot imagine being pregnant in a power/water cut!! Poor you, and for 18 hours and without your hubs!!
So glad that you don’t have to suffer them in Mumbai. I have heard that Bangalore has some water problems sometimes!
That really was a night from hell! Glad they are in the past!
Lots of love xxx
It happens in most of the parts in India! Whatever the reason it is for, load shedding makes life hell! I’ve been there and I had called up Mom and cried. I just couldn’t bear the heat! 🙂
It make it hot like hell haha!
I called my husband crying the first time it happened, a couple weeks ago! Its a real problem! xxx
Lauren,I stay in Nagpur and there are no current cuts! Maybe we are in very different parts?I was horrified to read your power cut woes……I say ….run …as fast as you can, to Pune, Pune climate is heavenly 🙂
Yes, we must be in different areas, it happens every Wednesday here! Haha, we are possibly moving to Pune, Bangalore or Hyderabad…not sure which yet!!
I hope you are well!! Lauren
I have my daughter married to a Canadian. I know the terbulations such a marriage involves. I wish Lauren best of luck to pull though it. My daughter’s marriage has survived 34 years though but at a lot of emotional costs to her.
Thank you so much Gurdipsingh for your wishes!
Best wishes to you and your family!! 😀
Today read an article about you in Times of India,Bangalore:)
Very interesting & nice story.
Wishing you good luck for your wonderful journey in India!
Kind regards from the garden city,
Thank you so much, Pradeep!!
Read ur article in times of india in Mangalore.loved it all the best for ur future in India . I hope India and Indians treat u well with all the dignity and respect u deserve 🙂
Thank you so much, Sneha!! Take care!! x
Read your article in Times today. I genuinely wish you well and much courage too.
So much sacrifice is not easy. I hope your stay in India is pleasant
Since you come from England, may I ask which football club do you support? And do you follow cricket by any chance?
P.S -You look resplendent in Indian attire
Hey A, thanks for connecting and kind words!
I don’t follow either cricket or football. Sorry!
Lauren i too got interested in your story after reading it in STOI. Presently I am in Bangalore and feel quite comfortable in my PG and never s/w fan. The temperature is around 25-27^oC which a temp range suggested to be maintained to save power. But my other roommates always put the fans on. I am from Bihar where its hot and humid these days. I got a chance to work in Indian desert for five years and would often visit my village in summers and would always feel comfortable without electricity though it didn’t mean water woos too. And then I went to northeast of India where the climate is quite comfortable round the year. And whenever I visited my village in summer I always felt uncomfortable. So it may take some time before you get used to all these. During my school days I had read the story of a firangi wife who married an Indian when “electricity” was a word in Indian dictionaries and the kitchen utensils were kept on floor and the foreign bahu would often kick the utensils (which was a short of disrespect for the food others would eat). There were no phones etc those days. It was a real struggle to adjust to such an alien life. Once she took a voyage to England never to return. Not even the wrench of being away from own children. Wishing you all the best.
Thank you for your comment! Wow, so you must be pretty immune to the heat now. That is great. I have heard that the climate in Bangalore is divine.
Oh dear, she left her own children in India to never return. Well I would never do that.
Thank you so much again. Take care
Yeah thats a horrible problem India is facing. Recently I wrote about it. 🙂
It is horrible!!! Not so bad now the rains have FINALLY come! 😀
God, the power cuts….UGH. Our family in Hyderabad is suffering big time over it! The other day one of our family members had not had power for 6 hours, it is unbelievable.
I don’t think I wold mind it that much, except for the fan of course. The humidity is just too much. The power cuts in the winter I can deal with, but definitely not in the Summer.
The worst is when you are working on something and it cuts right out without a chance to save your work. Especially as a writer, I prefer to write on my computer, although I can write it in my notebook, it is easier to edit and construct on the CPU.
I think though, that power cuts give us a nice opportunity to unplug from the digital world. I remember I used to love using the power cuts as a time to rest or read one of my books.
Yes! The power cuts are fine when it’s cool but the heat and humidity, awful!
I hope the power cuts have stopped in Hyderabad now, the rains must be there by now so it will be a relief! Phew. I have never loved rain so much! 😀
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