By Gulrukh Tausif
Last Sunday, after a hectic lunch I decided to have an afternoon siesta. It was Mother’s Day after all and mothers are entitled to some rest and recreation too, right? But as soon as I entered my room, the air conditioner switched off abruptly as if mocking my intentions.
Howls of protest erupted from the living room where my older son was watching the highlights of Test match between Pakistan and West Indies and from my kids’ room where the younger one was setting up new records on some online game.
I firmly told them to occupy themselves in mundane activities such as reading a book or taking a bath and resolutely went on to have my siesta. I switched on the UPS powered fan which seemed to protest and reproach me for making it work in the intense summer heat.
I turned a deaf ear to the fan’s heavy ‘gheen gheen’ sound as its blades reluctantly went round and round in an attempt to circulate the air in the room. The room seemed to be getting hotter by the minute. Somehow, an old song sung by Rahim Shah started playing in my mind over and over and I wondered if the lyricist had written it as an ode to the electricity.
Pehale toh kabhi kabhi ghum tha
Abb toh har pal hi teri yaad rulaati hai
Pehale toh kabhi kabhi ghum tha Magar yeh dard-e-judaayi hai har gharri abb Main tujhase kaise kahu yeh bataNa maar daale teri bewafaayi mujhako Ho bata de mujhako bewafa yehMain teri raah mein kab tak khada rahunga –
The mattress then decided to tell me how the kneaded atta felt when it was slapped on the tawa before it became the roti. It exuded so much heat that I decided to get up and indulge in a more profitable activity such as writing this blog.
But as I typed these words, I felt that we focus too much on the negative side of the whole load shedding business. I fact, there are many advantages to not having light in the house. And I don’t mean lower electricity bills because load shedding does not seem to make an iota of a difference to the number of watts and kilowatts we seem to use on a monthly basis.
I meant benefits of a different kind. Aren’t women always complaining that their husbands do not take them out for candlelight dinners? Now thanks to load shedding, you can have candlelit dinner every day in the privacy of your own homes. This is much easier on the pocket and more beneficial for the health too as the food is home cooked by you!
Similarly, load shedding can help you develop your torso muscles. For this you need a few children and a hand held fan. A lazy husband could do as well. Every time, the light goes, wave this fan to and fro in the vicinity of your children. After a few days of constant practice, you will notice that your arms are getting toned without having paid any hefty gym fees or visiting a fancy fitness centre.
Load shedding also helps us with our religious and spiritual enhancement. Don’t we say “Shukr hai” every time electricity decides to make an appearance? Between hours of power supply and hours of power absence, we are in a state of either heartfelt gratitude or enforced patience. In time, we become paragons of virtue and moral excellence because gratitude and patience are both great virtues.
Load shedding can help us start a journey towards our cultural heritage. For example, we might be tempted to discover how lanterns work, how water was kept cool in matkas in our grandparents time and the beneficial effects of namkeen lassi, gannay ka rus and aloo bukharay ka sherbet which our younger generation has replaced with fizzy and energy drinks.
Load shedding can also have a great effect on our children’s academic performance. Many children open their books nowadays only when the TV and computer are switched off and there is no battery in their tablets, ipads and smart phones. Just imagine how terrible their grades would be if they could watch TV endlessly or play computer games all the time or if their smart gadgets had 100% battery 24/7.
Load shedding forces us to sit together. We talk to each other and have meals together which frankly is becoming a rarity nowadays. As there is no electricity, we can’t watch political talk shows at night so our blood pressure remains normal. Sometimes we are forced to miss morning shows as well. We can’t see what the latest wedding customs are. Hence we are spared from wondering if our Nikaah is valid because we did not follow such ridiculous customs during our wedding. We cannot see how fancy the jewellery and bridal clothes are supposed to be or how heavily made up the mock brides are, otherwise we would have a fit of depression because our wedding ceremony was simple with minimum of fuss.
So load shedding has lots of benefits and advantages. It makes you richer, healthier and more spiritual. It strengthens family bonds, improves your child’s academics and by missing most of the stuff aired on television, you remain free from envy and jealousy. What more can you ask for really!
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Story first published: 19th May 2017