(MY COLUMN IN THE BANGALORE MIRROR TODAY)
“Electricity is actually made up of extremely tiny particles called electrons, that you cannot see with the naked eye unless you have been drinking.” Dave Barry
Well, it’s finally official. Karnataka will now have regular load shedding – two hours a day in Bangalore, four hours a day in “other urban areas” and twelve hours a day in “rural” areas. And there’s no need to gasp in outrage about that twelve-hour bit. After all, what does a farmer need electricity for? To watch his paddy grows?
Besides, I have a more important point to make and this realization dawned upon me one relaxed, peaceful day just two weeks ago when we had had no power for almost ten hours. (I mean, we never said there wouldn’t be any “unscheduled” load shedding, did we now?) As I sat renewing my acquaintance with my navel, (navel gazing was a popular pastime during the Dark Ages and led to the invention of the toothpick and other such marvels that altered the course of human history) I thought to myself - there has to be a cosmic explanation for this.
It has to be beyond the one that we consume more electricity than we make. (Please don’t ask silly questions like “when are we going to make enough?” That’s like asking how many pink salwar kameez outfits does Mayawati own. Nobody knows. Even though our CM did recently say that we hope to end the power shortage in 3 years. But if you notice, he didn’t say three years from what date. So it could be 3 years from 2028, 2076, 2145 etc., etc.)
And beyond the one that there isn’t enough water in the hydel resevoirs. An explanation that held water (pun intended) earlier this year, when the monsoon had failed so miserably that we barely had water to drink. (We’re just a week away from dying of thirst, the newspapers screamed). But that was then. Now we have so much water – especially when we factor in our CM’s recent crying jags- that we’re ready to re-enact Noah and the Flood. Except that there’s a strong rumour going around that there will be room on the Ark for just one politician and not two. (For those who skipped their Bible study classes, God asked Noah to stock two of each kind of animal - one male and one female – so that after the flood, they could reproduce and multiply their kind.)
It has to be beyond the “technical snags” in the thermal power stations and their dwindling stocks of churimuri. (It is a little known fact that neither water nor coal will yield a single watt of electricity if a judicious amount of churimuri is not mixed into it.) Or the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) beating up Mumbai roadside romeos for eve-teasing in Hindi instead of Marathi. It had to be beyond the fight that apparently broke out in the BJP high command as to which sweet dish Reddy-garu and Yeddyurappa-avaru should so lovingly spoon into each other’s mouths before they kissed and made up.
And then it hit me, much in the manner of the apple that plopped on Newton’s unsuspecting head.
We were all being weaned off our terrible, crippling addiction for that nasty, disgusting thing called electricity! With same loving but unrelenting firmness with which our mothers weaned us off …well, a lot of things too numerous to count including sucking our thumbs and picking our noses.
So that soon a day will come in the not so distant future, when they will come crawling and grovelling to our doorsteps offering us free, unlimited electricity. Every person taking a new electricity connection will be rewarded with a lifetime unlimited supply of free puliogare and gobi manchuri and 8-nights-41-days’exotic holiday in the Reddy mines. It will be then, in that moment of glory that we will blithely spurn them. Because by then, a new kind of power will running everything.
Generated by the only thing that is abundantly, freely and perennially available. (Even as we speak, there are reports of an invention that will harness the bloodsucking talents of the mosquito for blood banks.)
The news just out is the Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation Limited, Mysore, has received an award for excellence in Field Inspection and Technical Assistance Services. We applaud heartily, but for those of you who aren’t quite sure what that means, “Technical Assistance Services” is helping you to find the candles during the 10-hour load shedding when even your inverter gives up.
And “Field inspection”?
Ah. Hold on while I call up “Technical Assistance Services”.