Sunday, July 5, 2015

Power-Cut Epiphanies

   A couple of nights back, the power unexpectedly shut down at around 11.00 pm much to the exasperation of my parents and with an hour in passing, myself too. I am generally the sort of person who spends long hours on the terrace just staring at the moon, content in solitude and away from the blaring noise of the television; happy with a cup of tea and some music. Hence, the power cut didn't quite matter to me as much as it irritated my parents as they both had work the next day and this power-cut was cutting in on their beauty sleep. (I've no permanent day job, I'm a freelance artist and architect and I'm not bound by fixed working hours)

   Madras in June is no easy deal. It's hot, humid and gets you sweating even in the middle of the night. I had my parents join me on the terrace in sometime; my father circling around and looking at whether the power had come back on by peeping from the parapet, restlessly. (Appa, I know you're reading this. You got to slow down and sit down, really!) My mother on the other hand, conveniently sat down without any ado and I quickly settled down next to her. With some time in the passing, it was just me and my mother on the terrace as my father had gone back downstairs again. By then my phone had entirely run out of charge and resigned to the whims of the fellows at the Electricity Board, I spread out a scarf and we both laid down on the terrace, simply with nothing to do but stare at the sky.

    It was a full moon night and quite radiant all around. The light from the moon was good enough for us to see each other, the washing lines flying above our heads and the swaying tree tops. As it has been so with the weather in the last week or two, there were dense grey clouds hovering about, ready to drizzle away with the slightest coaxing.The clouds were different shades of grey and there was one even with a deep hint of red hue. The breeze was to a minimum and attended to our perspiration at its own pace.By then, we'd grown comfortable to being out there under the open skies and had begun to point out to the shapes of the clouds and what we thought we saw.Dogs, ghosts, a lady sitting... it was as if we'd unfurled our inner children from our hearts. You'd be surprised how clouds, the moon and the sky can shift the direction of a light conversation into the heavy thinking zone. Soon, we began speaking about lot of random things. Work, my future studies to come, life, her past, my present, the lives of my friends... and I realised how long it's been since we actually got to do that. It was truly brilliant to bask in the moonlight and have midnight conversations with my mother in an age where technology seems to eat up most of our time, with or without our own knowledge. We only ended up going downstairs after about two hours when it did, indeed start drizzling and I had to prod my mother to get up. (Let's go once it starts raining heavily, she said.) 

   In the meager hours we have outside of work, much of our time goes in watching television, the everyday serial and soap operas, text messages and Whatsapp groups, laptops and anything plugged to electricity. Some days, my father wouldn't have time because he'd be tending to the washing machine or my mom would be watching something online as she cooked away or I'd be glued to the laptop randomly browsing my time away. In a world this fast pacing, we've reached the stage where it takes something as external as the EB department to put us together with no other option than to talk, to interact and get back to the roots of what we are. I still remember those times when there were mandatory power cuts in Tamilnadu everyday. We had our work planned around it and in a way, I grew rather accustomed and appreciative of those two hours a day.We actually did things outside of technology. But I believe now, that we're back to square one. It's time to set the ball rolling one more time, with attempts from our side.

   This is no great flowery post with fancy words or any poetry but a simple reminder to all of you and myself that we need to keep technology at an arm's length from our personal lives. There is so much to talk about and love. When a phone is out of the picture, you wouldn't be thinking of how nice a shot of the moon would be as an Instagram post but rather be enjoying the beauty of the night itself. I urge you all to let go of your phones, IPads, televisions and computers for some time everyday and do other things you used to indulge in as a child... reading, painting or this real-life interaction called talking with others.

Get back to real social life, my friends.



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