When the lights go off…

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It is a phenomenon most uncommon in a large part of the world and yet something that is not just common, but the norm in Kashmir.. You happen to be among the fortunate group of people who get electricity supplied right to your home.. and you tend to think you among those elite class (oh no. i am making this up, what could be elite about having electricity at home? )… anyways..
but the electricity would go off.. no warnings..(what is the point of having warnings… it just takes away all the adventure from the event(s))..
what happens when the electricity goes off?

.. well .. lets think its night..
you would be sitting in the hammam.. and “poof”,.. light goes off..
the first reponse..

and someone (if you happen to be the lucky ones).. starts searching for your mobile phone .. (now.. did the manufacturers of mobile technology ever fathom this important need of a mobile phone? )
anyways,.. with the mobile phone on.. in the tiny light that comes from that.. you start your journey amongst the perils.. (the perils could include a hot kanger, syun toor or anything depending on what your activities were at the moment…)

And then you rush towards the inverter to switch it on. To speak of inverters I thnk they are one of teh most amazing inventions for Kashmiri life style… When I came back to live in Kashmir after a gap of 10 years I realised what a novel innovation this is… how different life without electricity then and now is…

back then.. years back… the first thing you’d try to get your hands on when the electricity went was the matchstick.. most houses would have their stock of matchsticks, candlesticks, gas-lamps, laal-tayn or any other such light source….

I remember that white net like thing we used to buy to use with the gas lamps…it used to be a very fascinating process adn something that would require utmost skill to put that net stuff (called “mantal” for some weird reason) and burn it so that there is no hole in it and it glows bright.. some complex mechanism.. 🙂

and then came those batteries tht most houses ended up having.. with new wire connections in few most used rooms… many people brought new Black-White telivsion sets to be used with the battery… I remember we also brought one..

and we used to watch that “Krudd Singh’s” Chandrakaanta…

oh! the days without electricity…
sometimes i think of the good old days with electricity cuts and no inverters…. i get nostalgic….
those were the times when teh whole family would generally be forced to sit together without the idiotic box on…. and that used to be really some family time… all snuggled under the “kambal” and my mother narrating some story of the Prophet or his companions… or my Dad telling his ultimate one story.. “Phattu the Weaver…” or we all singing together.. “Lab pay aati hay dua…, or there was this song… “Aay maalik teray banday hum…” or my mother teaching us those… “Agar do Khuda hotay sansaar may”… and “Salaam uspar ki jis nay zakhm kha kar bhi duaayayn di..”

and then to think of it.. life used to be good when the lights went off…..

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