Some time back I was planning my day at home. The usual stuff - cooking, pump water, washing and getting some writing done in between. I was half way through my breakfast ritual the lights went off.
Now with no electricity my whole plan for the day was off gear. Do I wait for the electricity to put clothes to wash ? Or do I have my beauty bath and get down to writing? And what if the light comes back ? Do I interrupt my artistic labours and deal with the washing machine?
So I did what any sane person from Karol Bagh would do. I called BSES.
Because that what I used to do there. And they would tell me when the electricity would come back and you could plan your day.
Nowadays you have a centralized number to make things easier. But actually it becomes more difficult. They never seem to pick up.
So I go to meet my neighbours who have been staying in the village longer. They are amused that I am even calling up BSES. Their policy is to wait till the light comes back. I try that.
Now it is an hour and I am not able to decide whether to write, bathe or wash. So I call the toll free number again. When they answer your phone after 6 minutes and 35 seconds they act surprised:
"There is no complaint from your side." My side?
"Am telling you we do not have electricity for two hours" (I exaggerate because I know what is coming next)
"Is this Aya Nagar under Jaunapur village? Yes sir, there has been no electricity for the last half hour"
"So when will the electricity come back?"
"There is technical breakdown. This might take an hour and 40 minutes"
Just with that one piece of information my day till lunch is decided. No bathing, no washing. Just writing.
But how long can a guy write without hearing the whirring of the washing machine in the background? I am used to that rythym. That is my mojo. I patiently wait for two hours to pass.
Before I hit lunch, I decide to give it a try again. I give my complaint number. Punching sound.
"Yes sir?" (He can see my complaint but he pretends that he does not understand)
"I spoke to you in the morning."
"And you have not got electricity back ?"
"No" (Why would I call you then?)
Silence. I can hear some fiddling.
"Sir, there is BIIIIG technical problem. This will take two more hours"
Now my day is totally gone haywire. I decide to take out the clothes from the machine and put them back in the laundry basket. There is nothing more humiliating than doing that. The empty washing machine seems to be mocking me.
At five I call one more time.
"Sir we do not know how long it will take. Please ask your local office"
"Can you give me there number"
"I do not have that."
Silence. He does not have that number?
" Can I help you with anything else, sir?"
I finally get the number to the local guy. I call.
"I am calling from the village and I have not had electricity since the morning."
"How long will it take"
"We do not know"
"What do you mean?"
"Two cows got electrocuted last night."
"And we are checking all the lines where the leakage is. We cannot tell you when the light will be restored."
The line went dead.
I had never heard that kind of an excuse ever for electricity breakdown.
As I sat waiting in the dark I smiled. Maybe I could use that on a client someday.
I could not finish the film edit because two cows got electrocuted and the electricity was not restored for 24 hours.
Better than saying the computer crashed.