Oh, no... The climb to the third floor was killing me! The lift was not working. Our security uncle said there had been a power cut. My legs hurt. We had our inter-house football matches at school today. I was tired and famished.
After much huffing and puffing, I reached home. My dad opened the door. "Pa, the lift is not working. I had to climb up the stairs!” I said, as I dropped my heavy bag with a "thud" on the floor. "Hmmm… power cut. Go, freshen up and come. I’ve made some sandwiches for you,” my dad answered, gorging on the cheesy sandwiches. “It’s so hot, Pa... no air conditioner... I feel like I am in an oven!” I yelled, frustrated.
My dad looked at me calmly and I knew what that look meant—end of conversation. “Take your sandwiches and the glass of mosambi juice. Sit in the balcony, beta. It’s cooler there,” dad said, calmly. Absentmindedly, I picked up the TV remote and sank into our plush sofa only to be reminded about the power cut.
I went to the balcony. A tough day at school and things at home made it worse. Dad told me that there’s going to be load shedding for four hours for the next three days in our area. No TV, no air conditioner and I hadn't charged my cell phone or laptop . . . I was feeling lost!
Wait a minute, why wasn't anybody switching on the generator? I got up to remind the security uncle to switch it on.
"Varun! Would you like to join me for a jog in the park? It’s quite reezy out there," Pa asked. I generally preferred to be left with my gadgets in my cozy airconditioned room, working on my Class 9 projects and homework. But Pa was different. He was a fitness freak. I thought his idea of a jog seemed better than staying cooped up in our apartment in the concrete jungle without electricity.
Dad was an excellent conversationist, especially when it came to the things related to his childhood. ''In our time, we never had an air conditioner. After school, we would play cricket with the neighbourhood kids and reach home just in time to finish our homework, have dinner and sleep!”
I listened to him as he continued nostalgically. We jogged through narrow lanes, we tried to outpace each other, we spoke about Hindi films and then we stopped by to have chai at a local tea shop. I wiped the sweat trickling down my face. It was’nt as breezy in the outdoors as Pa had promised!
Pa seemed to have read my thoughts. “Varun, do you know the total electricity demand of our city per day?” he asked.
I nodded my head disinterestedly. “Seven thousand MW approximately," he continued. "Generally, good rains during the monsoons result in sufficient inflow of water to the reservoirs that generate hydel power. This year, we did not have enough rains. Also, such scanty rainfall results in the reduction of wind energy.”
“Yes Pa, we do study about all of this—hydel power, thermal power, wind power, solar power and all of that,” I said.
"Also our consumption has increased over the years," Pa said, sipping his chai. "We have so many gadgets and enjoy many more luxuries today! Sometimes I wonder whether our city has enough power to satisfy its hunger. In the past few months, we have seen more frequent scheduled power cuts.
” Demand versus supply. I was reminded of those words. I remembered how often we had forgotten to switch off the lights and fans in our classrooms when not in use.
As we walked back home, Pa continued, “We must conserve electricity, and follow measures like turning off the refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerators account for 20 per cent of household electricity use. Also, turning off TV and other entertainment devices and something as simple as switching off the main power button when not in use could save both energy and money!
” My dad beamed with pride when I said that replacing regular light bulbs with LEDs could save a lot of power. “Those are wise words from my teenager! I’ll change the light bulbs in our house," he said, patting me. “Do you know beta, I iron all our clothes at one time. This also saves electricity! And when I see streetlights left on, I make sure to inform the authorities.
” Hmm . . . we had reached home. Electricity was back. I was relieved that I need’nt use the candle to do my homework.
I walked swiftly to open the windows to cool down our house instead of blasting the air conditioner. “Dad, let’s have dinner in the balcony today!” I said, proudly.