Monday, October 18, 2010

Bengaluru Days - Brighter side of Darkness

On retirement from the navy in 1995 we bid good bye to Delhi and came to settle down permanently in Bangalore. Delhi in a way spoils all its residents with cheap petrol, milk, electricity and many other benefits. We stayed in Daula Kuan in South Delhi and as a result we had never experienced any power cuts, fluctuation, blackouts etc.We led a very sheltered life full of power and light.

On arrival in Bangalore we realised that power cuts were a natural phenomenon and it spared no one – we became powerless. Not a single day passed without a cut. There were days when the electricity went off three to four times in a day. Either scheduled or otherwise these cuts had a huge impact on all of us. There was very little one could do to overcome these cuts other than sit back and suffer. That’s when I decided to see the power cuts from a different perspective and I said to my self let us be positive and see what the benefits of power cuts are – is there any ‘Brighter side of Darkness’.

The first visible sign of positivity was seeing the whole family wake up at 6AM to beat the scheduled power cut, commencing at 7AM every alternate day. Within the hour a lot had to be achieved – shave, press clothes, hot bath, check mail and what have you. At least the family woke up early for fifteen days. My 17 year old ‘Prince of Wales’ was a habitual late riser and it was very gratifying when he asked me one morning “Baba what it that bright orange circular thing coming up in the sky”. Thanks to Karnataka Power Corporation we got to see sunrise too.

I used to look forward to 2 PM - that’s when we had the second power cut. Peace and tranquillity used to descend on the whole house like gust of cool breeze in a desert.Baba Sigal, Madonna, Grave Diggers, Bone Rattlers and the whole ruddy gang were forced to clamp down. Within ten minutes of ending the relentless high decibel audio war, all the acoustic attributes of the victim’s ear would be restored. I could even hear the rustle of the dry leaves from the garden.

KPC also helped restore Indianess in our youth of that time. Two minutes into Santa Barbara or Bold and the Beautiful the unscheduled power cut used to cut off CC and Gina in the middle of their very important conversation, much to the dismay of my adolescent daughter and mother dear.

The benefits continued to affect every facet of our lives. We had an old fridge which required a lot of care and looking after. Whilst in Delhi the LOH had not clearly demarcated responsibilities regarding upkeep and maintenance of our refrigerator. At times it was impossible to remove the ice tray as nobody bothered to defrost for weeks together. In Delhi it’s impossible to passage from evening to night without the sparkle of the ice cubes in ones glass. In Bangalore this acute problem was solved for ever. The fridge was defrosted automatically two to three times a day without fail. LOH repeated hints to buy a frost free fridge fell on deaf ears. Who needed all this when you had KPC working for you. Cheers we had plenty of ice.

There were other lesser benefits too. One day the LOH, very reluctantly wore an old sari for a party. She was a bundle of nerves as we entered the host’s house. I was very worried about the outcome of this terrible and unacceptable social situation - LOH being caught wearing an old sari. As we entered the party scene, the lights went off and on came the candles. No one in the party could make out the sari was old. A certain disaster was averted by KPC with utmost √©lan.

Candles replaced the electric bulb and the whole atmosphere used to be romantic and helped bonding. The whole family was forced to sit together in a room and sing songs, exchange notes, crack jokes and generally enjoy the togetherness in semi darkness. With one flick of a switch the KPC had brought scores of families closer and ensured more of QT.

Finally – As I have said elsewhere, pouring of drinks in ones glass is a fine art. It requires a lot of concentration, determination and sleight of hand to pour the right measure. Under the constant gaze of the LOH this task becomes even more difficult and pouring a large one is almost impossible. To exit from these unfavourable conditions one requires divine intervention – That’s when KPC used to resemble the almighty GOD. Suddenly the lights would go off.

Please tell me, can anybody make out the difference between a large and a small peg in total darkness. Who wants light?

Even to this day my observations still hold good. As I publish this in Oct 2010 Bangalore has 4 to 6 hours power cut.

Incidently, In 1906, Bangalore became the first city in India to have electricity, powered by the hydroelectric plant situated in Shivanasamudra.


  1. Hahah, sir, Delhi has its shares of power cuts too! It used to be a different city back in 95, now its crowded, busy, buzzing 24 hours, and too much stress!

  2. Sorry to hear there is power cut in Delhi too.