On the Anvil


Friday, March 7, 2008


"Yep.I am burning the midnight oil. Figuratively and literally."
It was my cousin informing me over the phone about his exam preparations. Given that it was a question of doing well in his XII std, an important juncture in any Indian teen's academic timeline, it made sense. Say fishes taking to water!
Figuratively was understandable. If studies be a cricket match, exam time is well.........the slog overs. The couple of hours on the night leading up to the exam are just the right time to go full throttle with respect to the run.....sorry run-after-knowledge rate. It’s about the time when our brains which until then weren’t willing to accommodate something as petty as a peanut, become benevolent enough to play host to a blue whale. That calls for a nocturnal academic vigil. Doesn’t it?
But Literally?
That's when my cousin decided to explain. The power supply had been pretty much erratic during daytime but more so in the nights in his part of the world. Given the exam backdrop, the criticality of the need for current under these circumstances was escalated to the concerned department in manners condign. Voices were raised. Suggestions were made. Complaints were lodged. But all met with that greatest of human alibi for inaction - passing the buck. The end result was that the students were put to untold sufferings. Students’ pain was the shopkeepers gain though. Candles seemed to fly off their shelves as if having taken wings. That was the note on which the call with my cousin ended that day.
Three days later I got a call again from him. In a tone dripping with cheer he exclaimed:
“You know what. I think the efforts to gain a regular power supply have finally yielded positive results. From yesterday to the whole of the night leading up to this morning there hasn’t been a power outage!!!”
He was happy and I was happy for him too.
Next day he called me up yet again. Gone the cheer in his voice this time.
“I only wish ministers turned up daily in my locality and addressed gatherings.”
Asked to elaborate, he replied:
“Well….curse my hope. It was the minister addressing a meeting the other day. That should explain for the regularity of power supply. So much for him being the minister for power.”
Instantly, it reminded me of a recent visit to a tier-II Indian city. When neighboring localities were subjected to sufficiently long power outages lasting for hours together on a daily basis, there was this one locality that I found immune to power outages. It was blessed with power - 24 X 7. There was no need for gensets, inverters or for that matter candles here, it seemed. The cause strode into my consciousness when I summoned my commonsense. No prizes here for the right guesses. The colony housed the residences of a lot of political as well as official bigwigs and big shots. Getting my words tangential to my thoughts, I tried keeping my cousin’s spirits on par explaining that things would work out for the better. That it was all a matter of time. But his reply, laced with puns was a perfect read of his circumstance I thought:
“Well………currently only the powerful receive the power, receive the current. What about us, the currently powerless? We don’t have power…….. figuratively and literally.”
Given this shocking situation, we do need real leaders and officials. Electrifying leaders and officials that is. What say ya?

1 comment:

J.Kamesh said...

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