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Northern India recently went through two black-outs and the power grid tripped.  I was wondering what it would be like to have gone through those power cuts. I guess how the power cut affected you would depend on who you were and where you lived. Here are my musings on the same.

  1. If you are a traveller in an electric train, you are stuck (happened to me once in Mumbai where were stuck for 2 hours at the same spot, far away from the station in the dark).
  2. If you were travelling on the road, you would get stuck in a traffic jam because the train travellers would come out on the street and traffic lights would go off – laws of the jungle take over where only the meanest survive.
  3. If you live in rural areas, you probably would not notice any difference – most rural areas have no power half the time anyway. This article from The Onion may be in humour but, sadly, it does reflect reality.
  4. If you were rich and lived in urban areas, you would probably have inverters and generators at home which you would put to use causing even more noise and pollution than normal.
  5. If you were living in West Bengal, the government would probably declare a public holiday as it did on July 31, 2012.
  6. If it were summer, you would melt in the heat because there would be no fans.
  7. If you were a TV show (news variety) anchor, you would froth at the mouth and shout out inanities, the louder and cruder the better.
  8. If you were a patient undergoing surgery in a small hospital, you would probably die since there would be no power back up (a cousin had to go through agony during a maxillofacial surgery a few years ago when the dentist did not have generator back up)
  9. If you were a school kid, you would enjoy the darkness and have fun yelling to your friends across the street.
  10. If you were a thug, you would have a great time in breaking into homes.
  11. If you were an politician belonging to the opposition, you would go ballistic about government ineffectiveness all the while forgetting the same thing happened when you were in power.
  12. If you were the minister in charge of power, you would probably point out that the USA had a worse failure a few years back. Then you would also get rewarded with a Home Ministry 2 days later. Government sources have denied any causality between the two events.

Interestingly 2 days after this crisis I was asked “Can India be seen as being or becoming a potential superpower in the face of the recent blackout and its myriad social and economic issues?”

I hope to answer that one in the next post. Watch this space.

Makarand

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