Vantage point

Friday, May 10, 2002

10th May 2002

So my log wont be a daily affair, so what? It'll just be updated when I feel I have something substantial to write.

The weather in Pune is like that promising young cricketer who starts off very hot in the early stages of his career, matching strokes with the best in business. But then a few innings into it, he loses his fizz and is like one of the has-beens. April end saw Pune vying with the hottest cities in the country, with the mercury routinely in the 40s. The highs of Delhi, Bikaner, Patna, and other hot spots in the country (obviously Ahmedabad too) were at the same level as Pune. Not that it is matter of pride, this sweltering heat, but when relatives from the north mail you about the 'scorching heat', you can say 'I know' to them.

However, like a couple of promising 40s is all a young upstart can take, so too is the case with Pune weather. Clouds start accumulating and then one evening when you are on the Law College Hill, they burst open soaking you to the skin. This literally puts a dampener on the heat and Pune heads back to the 35s, with your northie pals saying 'you puneites are lucky, man'. The shower does little more than wash the bike and water the plants. Next day, blue skies are back, but the temperature is discernably low.

If there is someone who is well and truly overjoyed by these untimely rains, it is the Maharashtra State Electricity Board(MSEB) people. It gives them a reason to switch the power off. Black cloud? they say, let us shed the load a bit. I have never really understood the profound significance of the rain with electricity. Why does one random shower have to make em turn the switch off? Haven't they heard of a little something called the monsoon? It lasts for 4 months. There is no 4 month long power cut then. So rains can't be having a damaging effect on infrastructure. Then why do it? But anyway, there it is!! Clouds gather, lightnings sizzle and PHUTTT you are plunged into darkness. You wait for a few moments, hoping that it is just a temporary whim of the guy at MSEB. They do that sometimes, just cut the supply for 40 seconds. That too when you are operating the computer. You are writing a long long email to a friend after a long time. You finish writing it, and just before you click the 'send' button, PHUTTT. Its OK, you console yourself, it is in the better interest of the state. They need to have these hour long load shedding breaks to keep the electric wolf from the door. An hour later, the power will be back and you can write the mail then. 40 seconds up, 'beep' the computer starts booting. The lights are ON, the power is back. Exactly what did this break achieve?

But what we experienced the other day was not this 'commercial break' but a full fledged rain delay of 3 hours. It is these times when you start getting re-acquainted with the radio. Because face it, all conditions being equal, TV beats radio hollow. No one's gonna listen to the radio, mirchi or non-mirchi if there is a good sitcom on, or if Enrique is making out with Anna Kournikova on the TV (screen I mean). But during a power cut, the radio gets back at the TV. It sits there smugly, with its low power circuits that can be operated on 2 small batteries. "Hey lets listen to the radio" someone says and everyone gathers around the tiny box. Mom and Dad get all nostalgic about Amin Sayani and Radio Ceylon, and how those were the days etc. This is a periodic event which happens during every midsummer-rain-induced power cut. The same old down-the-memory-lane trip(e). You are cursing those MSEB guys for putting you through all this yet again. The radio, happy at being the centre of attention for once, keeps playing some godforsaken tunes.

Two hours pass and even your "brought-up-on-radio-and-religious-movies" parents get bored of the ancient equipment. Mom starts griping about the Ekta Kapoor blunder she is missing. And that is what the MSEB guys with its secret mics in the fuse of every home hear. They gotta have their dose of the K-soaps too. VOILA. The lights are back. The TV can fucntion, the computer can be operated and the fan too is whirring. The weather is cooler thanks to the shower. The radio can be opearted on electricity too. The what? the radio. the what? The radio, yaar. Oh radio, who cares, put it behing the couch. The TV smirks at its aged cousin and starts beaming the stuff.

The evening of the radio is over......