Monday, 2 May 2011

All systems down!

Madras is struggling under the strain of massive power deficit. Actually the whole state is. Since the last week, every area in the city is being subjected to one hour of load shedding to save power "equally and fairly". The timings are put up for each locality and everyone just plans for it and deals with it. While this is the official status of things, the ground reality is worse.

At my place the power has been going at different times every day and for the past few days its been more than one hour. Working from home its starting to get really frustrating since I live in an old old house which has only a single phase power supply. This morning again we had a black-out bright and early and it didn't come back for half a day. Soon we were running short of water and couldn't pump up more for obvious reasons. 

As my neighbour downstairs and I went into panic mode taking turns to call the Electricity Board, we were both told that someone was on their way to check out the problem. I sat myself down at an upstairs window peering down our lane hoping for the EB guy to come and rescue us fast. There emerged a small blue 3-wheeler vehicle with some sort of winch/ hoist. Instead of going anywhere near the electrical mains this thing did a u-turn and stopped in the middle of the street. In another minute it became clear that this was not our EB's prompt service but something else altogether. As if no electricity and no water was not enough! Apparently our sewers were blocked too. A guy got out of the 3-wheeler (these mini vehicles are called kutti-yaanai locally, which translates to baby elephant! Did you know that?) and opened up a man-hole right behind it. A JCB type of jaw like contraption (as you can tell by now I'm not too good with this kind of trivia) then went up and down, back and forth between the depths of the man-hole and the back of the mini-pick up. Strangely, I didn't really see anything come out of the man-hole. And after about ten minutes of this the baby elephant sputtered away and my lights came back on. Funny how things work here!

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating. I did not know a baby elephant could restore power!