August 02, 2012

Visiting India - "Blackout of the Century"! Yet, it Didn't Mean Much to Many Indians!

Yes,  I was in New Delhi during the 'blackouts' that occurred on two consecutive days this week and left 10% of the world's population without electricty! The world labels it the 'biggest blackout in World History'; yet, there were some in New Delhi who were oblivious of this catastrophic shut down, and then there were some who did not let out a cry or even a whimper, but simply sufferred it as if it were their due. Here are some first hand reactions to the blackout:

An entrepeneur in NOIDA who employs over 500 workers in her garment factory that exports to Europe and USA. "Oh there was (a blackout)? I didn't know.  We have generators that keep the factory running, and I have a generator at my residence. You react to this way too seriously."

A roadside tea stall owner in East Delhi:
"Madam, this happens everyday. You feel it, but I have not even a fan here, so I'm ok with it. It's business as usual. The 'bijli' will come...eventually; don't worry."

A housewife in a middle class residential neighborhood:
" This is inhuman; how can they do this.  Our inverter worked for the first three hours, but it is now discharged so there isn't even a fan to save us! Don't the 'netas' realize this heat and humidity will kill us.  In addition, now there is no water to wash and clean around the house because I can't operate the pump to draw water from the ground well...The food in the 'fridge' will go bad too! This is the second time this week I will miss an episode of my favorite 'serial' "Bade Achhe Lagte Hain". "

A South Delhi resident who runs a profitable advertising agency:
" This is how it is.  You shouldn't visit india over the summer. Why do you?  Besides you are staying in East Delhi. Everything there feels exponentially worse, even this blackout."

A senior citizen living in a high rise apartment in Patpargunj where all utilities are maintained by an agency:
" So long as I can watch today's Sri Lanka vs India one day Cricket match on TV the electricity outage doesn't bother me! The generator came right on, and we have had our fans working in all the four rooms, and the fridge is working too, so it isn't bad! I'm glad we moved into this apartment complex after retirement."
A middle aged businessman driving a Honda SUV  in Gurgaon on way to T3 terminal of the Indira Gandhi Airport :
" Electricity outage means the traffic lights won't work; not that people really care about following traffic regulations. Looks like this one is an extended outage; the metros will stop working and the traffic on the streets will burgeon like you can't imagine. Let's hope you don't miss your flight! Auto rickshaws and cabs will make a killing today."

A 'kaamwaali' who cleans people's houses for less than $5/- a month (per house):
"Nobody slept last night! The mosquitoes ate us up, and the stench from the nearby drain was very strong because there was no fan to dispel it. The baby (her granddaughter) didn't stop crying, so my son got angry and beat up his wife.  It was an awful night; I'm glad to come to work where there are fans. How much does a generator cost madam?"

A 55 year old Greater Kailash resident who runs a business from home and takes at least two vacations a year with her family:
" If you live in Delhi, you have to get used to this.  Besides, we don't really feel it.  What's the generator for?  We have a medium sized generator which we plan to replace for a bigger one this year; can't afford to take a chance! Delhiites need to look at the Mumbai model; I worked there for 5 years and there were no electricity outages there! I guess it's further away from the corrupt politics of energy management, hehe."

A tenth grade student studying in a private school in NOIDA:
"I will hangout at my friend's; his house has a generator not an invertor. Besides now I don't have to study for tomorrow because school may be out due to this outage; thank goodness we don't have generators in school. Though lately some of the richer schools have installed generators on their campus, so those students will not be as lucky."

Apathy? Tolerance? Neglect? Ignorance? Numbness? Insensitivity? Disillusionment? Victimization?


How do we know said...

all of the above. :-)

Georg said...

As far as I could find out when I was there 28 years ago, the people there are used to the fact that absolutely nothing works always.

They don't expect impeccability with the only exception for the gods.


Asad Ali said...


This is really nice post.

Thanks Writter