I have forgotten what or how it feels like to have electricity, or power as we fondly call it, twenty four seven. It seems so long ago that the noiseless supply of power has been replaced by the loud sounds of generators roaring angrily at God-knows-who. I sometimes wonder whether our generator is hurling unprintable stuff at our neighbour’s generator telling it to shut up, while the other neighbour’s generator hums away in muffled sounds as if to say I don’t care, I’m just here to do my job. When the fuel is about to run out, it starts revving as if gasping for air, telling us it can barely breathe. we refuel it. The conversation picks up and goes on for hours until the power utility company decides to restore the longed-for, pure, bright lights; Power. I never thought I would appreciate the silence with which this power is supplied. It restores sanity. No noise, shouting or screaming from our generator and his foes.
Back then when this load-shedding misery started, I would get heavily bothered and highly disturbed to an extent that I would be rendered helpless, unable to carry on with my chores. It was as if my life was motorized by this power supplied by our sole utility company. I would just sit and wait depressed, sometimes falling asleep in the imposed darkness. When power would finally be restored, the feeling was almost sweet, jolting me back to life the way a paramedic would use a defibrillator “to deliver a therapeutic dose of electric current to the heart” (yes I googled that, let’s move on) and putting a spring in my step. The joy I felt was like sunshine after the rain, like waking up from a sleep so restful I could hug the whole world. They call it relief. I would be so relieved that I would dismiss the kids to watch television while I got on with chores. Then, it was just a few hours of load-shedding, with a bit of shut down for maintenance works.
Fast forward to now, I would trade these eight-hour power droughts for those few hours in darkness, knowing that power would be restored within a couple of hours. You see, I had somehow managed to get over myself and have fun with the kids singing and recording funny songs and messages in the dark (candle-light is not powerful enough light for me) while waiting for power to be restored. I have since graduated to going on with my life during power outages as if nothing has happened, thanks to our noisy member of the family, the generator, and his equally dangerous gas-fed sister, the gas stove. Still, nothing would take the place of power supplied by our utility company.
One day when all this is over, when we will experience unlimited power supply, I will remember to switch off lights in unused rooms, to switch off the radio in the kitchen and bedroom, and to turn off that adapter with multiple chargers plugged into it, when not in use. When that day comes I will be the one to tell the noisy generator to chill. Until then, I have resigned myself to listening to its screams and arguments with its noisy neighbours, without much ado.