Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Monday, March 12, 2007

A dark tale!

For the first time since Sri and I have been in the US (Sri has been off/on here for more than 5 years and I have been here almost 2 years now), we faced a power outage!! This miracle, errr, catastrophe happened on Friday the 9th March 2007 evening :-D. We were watching yet another of the many telugu movies we watch now and then and boom!! Everything went dark literally! The strangest coincidence was that just that morning, I was telling my mom about how disadvantageous a power cut could be here in US!

Well, the candles which until now had just been used for decoration/aromatic purposes, suddenly were thrust into a "real" use and I must say, they lived upto the expectation :-D. I ventured out and saw that there was darkness all the way in all the blocks towards our right, but towards our left, there was light after a couple of blocks. It was nice to see the night sky without the ever-present illumination of the street-lights. I pestered Sri into taking me on a drive for a quest to the end of darkness. Well, what I meant was to find out the other end to the power outage. So we drove around the dimensions of where the power cut had happened and to our surprise we found that even Sri's office had the power cut and the factory next to it had about 3 fire-engines around. We could only guess that it may have been the reason for the outage as such.

Power outage is certainly not a common occurence here in US. In India, its a day-to-day experience. And that makes me go into a flash back mode as usual :-D. In our house, before the invasion of the all-powerful invertor that is, if a power outage happened at evenings, we always used sit outside and talk. Talk a lot, sometimes sing old hindi songs and even later, Darsh would bring his accoustic guitar out and we'd have a nice time singing soft english songs :). It was so pleasurable. But it was a different story altogether if the current didn't come back within the sleep time. Especially during summers. It'd be too hot + mosquitoes would have a field day during the night and sleep would become impossible ;-).

Here in US, the windows are almost always closed and there are hardly any mosquitoes in the cities. So no problem there. Its not summer yet and its still pretty cold. We took out a couple of blankets for that. But the major problem is not any of these. In the US, atleast in our house, everything, every damn thing works on electricity. No electricity means no cooking (we have an electric cooking range), no hot water, food might get spoiled ('cause no fridge), house is too hot/cold (no air conditioning) and the garage door won't even open as its automated!! Thankfully we had eaten something in the evening, so we were not really hungry. And since the power outage hadn't spread to the whole town, we could still go out and eat. But imagine situations like the recent tornadoes and heavy snowfall power outages. There's no way to even cook and eat unless you have a gas connection (its costly and some people do have that, but not many). There's no way to boil water!!

What I mean is that people who seldom face a power outage are hardly prepared for it. Hardly any shops own generators here unlike in India where even a kaakana angadi is prepared with some candles/emergency lights. While in India, every building that towers more than 2 stories, has an elevator and subsequently a generator (though using it or not depends on "other" conditions ;-) :-D), here though there are multi-storied buildings, hardly any of them have generators (This became a major problem in New Orleans, Katrina incident). Hardly anybody is prepared for such an event. Even us who have braved many power-cuts in India, were hardly ready. I mean, yes the power-cut wasn't wide-spread, but had it been, we could have probably survived (with raw food) for a day or two, thats it! Later we'd probably have had to drive around to a different place which had power and stay there until power would be restored here. I guess people take things for granted sometimes and some places ;-).

So we talked for sometime regarding anything and everything and called the electricity company several times, only to hear an automated message saying "There is a power outage affecting about 1300 customers in North Lexington. Our resources are working on it currently and hope to restore it soon". After about 3 hours of this "dark"ness, during which Sri even saw a shooting star, boo hoo I missed it :(, we decided to end the day and go to sleep. We still were wondering how we'd face the next day if the electricity decided not to show up, when the lights came back! It was "fun" only because it lasted only for 3 hours :).

The next day I found out that the power outage had been caused by a raccoon of all things!! Thats the reason we have a saying in Kannada saying "Moorthi chikkadaadaru Keerthi doddadu" meaning that "Though an idol might be small, its fame maybe big". Holds good for the raccoon which kept 1300 people in darkness for 3 full hours! :-D.


R2K retorted...

: )

Deeps retorted...

R2K, you caught the post when I still in editing mode. I think I added another para after that. Still glad that you liked it :).

Chickoo retorted...

True illi power cut agode kadime alva? Adre aste govinda,it feels as though life comes to a stand still. Remember in Bangalore we used to face powercuts twice or even thrice a day and it used to be called load shedding or god knows what, but still it was fun.


Thanu retorted...

We had an ice storm few years ago and we had warnings so we filled our propane tanks... cooked on our BBQ grill... but at nite as it got really really really cold that we had to go spend the nite at friend's place.

Deeps retorted...

Deepa, kadime alla, ilwe illa. Yeah, it was fun in Bangalore maybe because we were prepared for it.

Thanu, oh you had warnings, that way you are prepared. But there are some instances where no warnings are given, like this raccoon case ;-).

soumya retorted...

Hey Deeps,

Very loooooong time since I commented on ur blog..I've had a couple incidents of the same kind..In fact, I've a blog post(yet to be published) written about it..After reading ur post, I feel I'll be saying almost the same things..
Glad that ur power cut lasted only so long..Otherwise, it is not so fun, specially in the cold..

Usha retorted...

You can even enjoy it if it is a one off thing. Oh, it is summe and I am dreading the power cuts on hot evenings.

Deeps retorted...

Soum, err, looks like I made you lose a post. I still think you should go ahead and post it. It'll be nice to hear another point of view :).

Usha, one-off thing and only for 3 hours. In India we keep expecting the power to go anytime, but here its totally unexpected.

Orchid retorted...

Yes, when things go wrong I feel this country is totally unprepared, be it a small issue like a power outage or a bigger issue like Hurricane Katrina despite all the emergency management systems in place...makes you wonder, doesn't it ?

Deeps retorted...

Orchid, yeah its almost scary..

Harish Suryanarayana retorted...

Being a Power Systems Guy , let me assure you that soon , you will be robbed of those precious power cut moments in the near future. In fact , my project is on it. [:)]