The great Thomas Alva Edison invented “The Bulb”, what he didn’t know was the magnanimity of his creation and it’s effects on the future generations.
Growing up in the various rural and urban areas and living many kinds of lives at the same time was a blessing. Almost everywhere at that time in India there was a commonly occurring phenomena called “Power failure”. Electric supply was ubiquitously cut spanning from a couple of hours to half a day, it was normal. It was a done thing everywhere I visited.
The first visit to Mumbai was almost like a cultural shock upon the observation of continuous electrical supply. It was a novel and unique fact about the place that boggled the mind; as such a possibility seemed like a dream.
Save the metros, even the big cities like Vadodara or the tiniest village like Singarsi; at everyplace the daily routine suffered hiccups owing to the loss of electricity. In Vadodara, the power would be gone for about a couple of hours at the most, only in extremely rare circumstances, was there a complete supply failure. Still remember, studying under a candle light.It was a strain on the eyes, though. It was an experience after all. Completely in contrast to Vadodara was Singarsi, where the power supply would be available exactly for 48 hours in a whole month. At first, life seemed impossible.Every evening all the lamps and lanterns would come to life. Especially the kitchens would be brightened up as much. Slowly slowly, days started passing by and the seemingly impossible life became possible. But, in the end, those two days of power supply was more than welcome as we caught up on the missed TV programs apart from the other good things to be enjoyed. Inspite of being in a secure defence campus, the mind wondered, “What must it be like for the civilians? For the ones whose lives are dependent on the procurement of basic necessities of life. “
The power failure was attributed to many political and geographical reasons. For eg, Farakka dam on the river Brahmaputra could solely serve the need of electricity of the entire state of West Bengal at that time, but for some reasons was under-utilised for political reasons. On the other hand, there were places where the local goons cut loose the newly installed electrical wires, stole them to sell in the black market. This caused massive power lapses. This wholly reflected on the mentality of the local people and lack of education.
Having studied under a candle light for many nights, I was told that I was better off as my father had to make do under a street lamp sometimes in his younger days. Makes one wonder how the children in the rural areas studied decades ago. On a serious note, how did the hospitals function under such circumstances in case of an emergency? It is a much better scene these days and we must all be grateful for the luxury given to us called the “uninterrupted power supply.”