Monday, April 14, 2014

'L' is for Load-shedding

Ah, load-sheddings.
What on earth is that, did I hear you say?
When I was growing up in Calcutta there used to be electricity crises. These were termed as "load-sheddings" as in the time it took the utility company time to 'shed' the excess 'load' and could last from anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours or more. Load sheddings were the norm in the 70s and 80s in Calcutta. Rare were the days when you had unlimited electricity supply all day AND night. And load-sheddings were especially common in summer. So every household was equipped to deal with power-cuts, we had our kerosene lanterns, candlesticks, hand-held fans etc all handy and on the ready. Generators were rare and inverters unheard of. Many an evening was spent with the whole family at the dining table in a room lit by candles and lamps. Each of us would do our own thing and candlelit dinners held no fascination for us.
But the best evenings were when we had no studies and the whole family would converge to the verandah on a hot summer night. A fresh breeze would blow and we could talk or exchange stories or play word games. And if an ice-cream seller would pass, my Dad would shout out and ask him to stop and we all would gorge on as much as we wanted to....

Now we have generators and machines that kick on as soon as the power goes out so you don't feel the shift. In any case, power-failure is rare. One call to the electric company will ensure technicians get on the job right away..... my daughters have never slept on the terrace or shot the breeze in the dark with me. And ice-creams? You do not gorge on those, you drive to the swanky ice-cream parlor round the corner and chose from umpteen flavors and toppings!
Ah, progress!


  1. You forgot to mention one thing - swatting at the mosquitoes! :) Or was that just a Kerala thing?

  2. I also remember long summer evenings without studies and gathering with neighbours for long addas..

  3. Yes, Devika. Sorry I forgot the mosquitoes! Yes, we had them too. And thanks Soma, good memories... Life was so much more relaxed!