A lazy Saturday morning, Mr. Pillai is intently reading Suketu Mehta's "Maximum City". The curtains are up but the sunlight is always blocked by an equally ugly building a few metres away. A tree between them doesn't help matters. It's 10.00 AM and it's already dark as if it's way past the sunset. To say it's raining incessantly since last night adds upto the misery.
Suketu Mehta's Maximum City is all about the 'Great Ruined Metropolis" called Bombay. A Bombayite at heart, Mr. Pillai smiles throughout the book reading about his daily encounters being penned so eloquently by an NRI. He feels proud of being a part of the city and is very immersed in reading the book when his mother turns on the light and he realizes that he was actually straining to read the book. The letters are clear now and Mr. Pillai stretches back to read the book in a more comfortable position. A couple of pages, and the lights go off! His Mother's relieved sigh is audible.
"Strange.." Wonders Mr. Pillai looking at his Mother's contented expression."Why would someone be so happy because of a powercut?" Isn't this the moment when everybody sighs swears. Usually, A dark mood dots the area which faces the power cut.
"Good God! I was able to finish off everything before the power cut. Yesterday, your dad did not get any breakfast as the power went off an hour before schedule."
" The indefatigable Mumbai spirit." thought Mr. Pillai.
"Mumbai Spirit, My Foot!!" Mr. Pillai corrected himself. " The city is going to the dogs and the politicos try to fool the people by celebrating the Mumbai spirit. Like we have any other choice!!"
His colleagues at office have to go through agonising 12 Hr powercuts. " Twelve Hours!" was his reaction when he heard it for the first time.
Later when he heard about the 16hr Powercuts in Akola, 40hrs in industrial belts, 12hrs seemed comparatively bearable and the 5hrs that he was subjected to looked like a luxury now.
The newspaper featured the states facing a power shortage with Maharashtra leading the way with an annual shortage 5200MW followed by Andhra Pradesh with 1000MW something , Karnataka, UP and Kerala. That meant Bangalore and Hyderabad had already seen their first powercuts in more than a decade. In fact, the Andhra Pradesh Government shamelessly managed to come up with an innovative "Power Free Weekends " Campaign.
And he was seething when he saw that the power consumption of his CM & the deputy CM alone was equivalent to the power consumption of an entire town!!
"If Gandhiji were alive today, he would've first stopped using electricity before exhorting others to cut down on power usage. Always led by example, the Great Man." thought Mr. Pillai.
As if reading his thoughts, the radio blared, "They don't make them like that anymore"