Electricity is everything. Unless you plug in, you can't play. No doubt, India is going ‘power-hungry', not just political power but even otherwise. There is no magic wand to bridge the current deficit, I mean, not the currency deficit in our budget but the power struggle that industries and individuals go through these days. After a long cursing of the reality, finally, I decided to better see the brighter side of darkness.

With the regular outage of one-hour-a-day in Tamil Nadu, we managed our lives pretty well. But the recent extended power cut has really ‘put us off'. First, the compulsive-obsessive laptops ran out of their battery soon. As the UPS beeped into silence, the inverter breathed its last. Suddenly, you have your children ‘looking at your face' instead of the Facebook. After the cessation of electronic bombardment of their retinas, surprisingly, we even found them sharing the dining table with us for lunch. There was a great inevitable quality family time together.

Since the younger child was bored to death as there was ‘no excitement', she asked for interesting anecdotes from our life-story. I struggled to access my failing hard disk and looked at my older generation for help. They happily recalled my childhood pranks and there was a quick generational bond, instead of the continuous streaming of movies of James Bond on TV. In fact, we talked for long, after long, long ago, so long ago, nobody can say how long ago, well beyond the lunch hour. School-day jokes and long-forgotten friends' stories came into play, on a rotational basis.

Next in line to pass time was the search for games. Chess, carrom, cards and board games brought us to the ground level and we had a merry ‘floor time.' Some days, we pulled out our long-cherished family albums and fondly recalled those great moments of tours and marriage occasions. At other times, there were our well-preserved love letters to read and recall the pre-marriage romance.

Old melody

On a power cut day, surprisingly, I even caught myself humming an old melody and got in touch with the ‘sound of my soul'. In fact, as children we often heard our parents singing happily, as they went about their daily chores. Except for a friendly transistor then, there was no blaring of electronic gadgets generating artificial sounds dominating our space. Now there is no singing, but only thinking.

With darkness around during power cuts, we had candlelight dinners and had a lot of fun playing ‘catch the moving shadows' on the walls. The family came very close not only due to the fright of darkness, but even as we bumped into one another negotiating ourselves inside our tiny flat. Lots of touching, pecking and love-hugs, which otherwise are a rarity.

With the matchbox flat going ‘air tight,' we opened the main door of our cell only to see and get to know our neighbours in detail. They were neither bank robbers nor bomb-makers, but a miserable middle class family just like us. We chatted for quite long enquiring into our lineage and got to know that we were even long-distance relatives in a round about way.

Children preferred to read stories (a long forgotten pleasure) sitting near the windows for sunlight. I was surprised to note the beautiful greenery through my otherwise curtain-clad windows and realised that ‘it was there for me, ALL THE TIME'. But I did not have the eyes. There was no time to stand and stare as I jumped down the stairs to rush to office. Happy leaves were waving beautifully in the air, without the burden of thought which we humans suffer from.

With eyes going blind, our other senses were accentuated. We heard the crows, mynas and squirrels in the neighbourhood, playing happily around, punctuated once a while with the barking of a lonely dog somewhere. Our son was strumming his guitar lost in singing and our daughter was indulging in painting, gardening and such other forgotten personal pleasures.

Now, we eagerly ‘look forward to' power cuts. They have made us more organised and sensible. We charge our mobiles at a particular time, look at our mail for a limited duration, and even keep the geyser on for a short while for the whole family to take bath in quick succession. The electricity bill is slim. There is compulsory conservation and more conversation in the family. We have come close to each other as we communicate lovingly. In the end I would say, like the TV soap ad, “Dark Achha Hai!”