It is that time of the year when grandparents stop watching serials and parents cease to talk loudly. There is a ‘smashana mouna’ in every house of the street. One particular room will have the light burning longer than usual. ‘Boost / Complan / Bournvita’ is supplied continuously to the victim inside the room. Mother is awake along with the victim. Ok…you might have guessed it by now – the victim is none other than the boy or girl studying for the exams.
My son has his exams from next Monday. He and his mom are academically a very successful team. Both are preparing well for the exams. Power goes. I hear my wife ask me (without raising her head from the textbook) to get the emergency lamp from the shelf and switch it on. My son just then says: Appa, why can’t we get a UPS for our house. Why only for the Comp?
I tell him: Isn’t it a great feeling when power goes when you are studying during exams?
He gives me a weird look. Gen-Y, you see! (They are called so because most of their sentences starts with WHY!)
Cut to the time when I was studying. Exam season. Power cut around 7pm… just when we have started to study “Aadhi Maanav”. And you could hear joyous sounds from many houses! (Some poor souls were cursed to say ‘Two-one-za-Two’ till 20 when there was a powercut!) We all (blessed souls) used to gather on the road, under the electric pole (which acted as wickets), to continue our unfinished game of Cricket. “3 balls 4 to win”, Vijay tells. Gopi disputes. “4 balls 3 to win… the last ball was a wide when we went.” Harish is taking strike when Ravi shouts Harish was run out in the previous over. Power comes. We hear a mom shouting – Ravi, baaro! Each one is blaming one another for the delay… the game is unfinished still.
We go back to our homes shouting loudly that during the next power cut, there will be no more arguments – match will resume at 4 balls 3 to win. Power never goes. And most of us are forced to study that night. Some amongst us were very brilliant – in the sense they hardly came out to play, while some of us were very clever – we hardly went home to study!
Honestly, some of us loved it when power went, and indulged in simple pleasures like playing cricket, antakshari, chatting, hide and seek… The only time we didn’t want a power cut was when we were watching our favourite films / programs / Cricket match on Doordarshan!
Today’s kids hardly know the difference between having power and having no power as most houses have a UPS connection. In most apartments, there is just a flicker when power goes, within no time the lights are on.
During class tests, assignments, we had the audacity to tell the teacher the next morning that due to power cut, we could not study / complete the project, and even managed to get away with the excuse! The UPS has snatched away an important excuse from today’s kids.
I sometimes feel ours is the last generation that enjoyed the power cuts (how much I prayed for one during exams). Ours is the last generation to have seen a host of things: mainly Rukavat ke liye khed hai (Adachanegagi kshamisi), Over to Delhi (Ideega Dehalige) – on Doordarshan; Enne snana on Sunday; standing in a queue in front of Ration shop at 5 in the morning for Rice-Sugar-Kerosene every fortnight; Calling the beggars roaming in the night shouting ‘Kavala Thaayi’ to take the leftover food; seeing Amma-Ajji bargain with the Steel-Paatre Saamaan fellow in the afternoon over an old silk saree and a small steel tumbler; sitting on the lawns of an illuminated Vidhana Soudha on a Sunday evening and enjoying Garma Garam Kadlekai, going to the Bank just to read the various newspapers, pressing the flat toothpaste tube with a metal stick (kept to break a coconut) and trying to squeeze out some toothpaste, taking the transistor (with a thick cover with holes) to the bathroom so that we didn’t miss our favourite song… the list is endless!
We have seen the stingy side in our parents and grandparents who tried to value even a ‘Sabeena Powder Cover’, and we are seeing today’s ‘USE n THROW’ generation. The former overvalued everything, the latter undervalue everything…. perhaps the invaluable insight we can take is that give the value each one deserves – nothing more, nothing less!
Hope I post this before the power goes! The UPS is already beeping!