Sunday, February 20, 2011

Learning about “Bijili Pani” – Water Electricity

Ashvin learnt about electricity by coming to India. I remember the first time (for him) the power went putting the TV off. He cried. Ankit explained that the electricity was gone and a generator would bring it back. It was too many big words in a dark room. Now he shouts “power is gone”, “electric is out” without blinking an eye.

Today the water in our house was off for six hours. This happened an hour before we were expecting some guests. Having occasional water or electricity outages in not unheard of in Indian but we live in a community with 24x7 water supply and it was a first for us. I felt a little like Ashvin did when the lights went off. A little scared and a little lost.

Then I called our supermarket and for three dollars (Rs150) we had 12 liters of bottled water delivered. Lalitha procured three bucketsful of water to wash up dishes in. We had almost everything under control – everything except the flushes. You could eat and drink but kinda had to avoid the loo.

Electricity and Water – if you are lucky you don’t think of it much till your TV and flush stops working. No wonder politicians in India win on basis of promising “bijili pani” – water and electricity.


Growing up in India lack of 24hr water and electricity supply was an expected part of life -

• My parents had a nursing home thus had to supply 24hr water and electricity to the patients via a generator and water pump. Every now and then we would notice that the power supply got weak. My mother would wait for a power outage once it was dark in the evening and then have the generator powered off all of a sudden. There would be a few people on watch and notice all the shops/shacks in the neighborhood that lost power too. This would let us know who was tapping power from our generator.

• We thought Ranchi (a town bigger than the one I grew up in) was so ‘awesome’ in power management not cause they had more hours of power than my town but because they published the timings when you’d have power in the newspaper. They load balanced the power across different pockets in town and published the timings in the newspaper.

• Backup power and water is (and should be your) biggest criteria when looking for a place to live in in India.

• Read as a FB status (Prashant Gaurav) - Dear Electricity Board : I WILL BURN YOU ******** TO THE GROUND IF THE POWER GOES WHILE THERE IS A WORLD CUP MATCH IN PROGRESS.

1 comment:

  1. I think the Electricity Board is smart to pull off the power in early mornings, so they dont dare do it while the cricket match is ON.
    Last year, there used to be so much random power cuts in Mysore (almost 15 hours of 24, there would be no power ) that, if there was no cut on a random day - I would fear that they would keep in dark for the next 2 days - Like a revenge sorta thing! I had become so skeptical!