You know there is something seriously wrong with a country when instead of being horrified at the prospect of 12 hour daily power cuts, the population is grateful it gets any electricity at all. And the announcement of longer hours load shedding isn’t considered all that bothersome. At least it’s “scheduled” for a change.
If you are one of those unfortunate people who, besides living in Pakistan in the summer, don’t have Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) or your generator just died on you after a long hard day’s generating, congratulations. You just signed yourself up for an hour or two of uninterrupted blistering heat, suffocating darkness and ranting siblings; all courtesy of WAPDA.
When Japan has self-flushing toilets, we don’t have enough electricity to light bulbs 24/7. And you haven’t really lived in Pakistan unless you have had the power go out on you smack in the middle of an important task. Whether it’s by ruining a 3-hour, painfully long, movie buffering or cutting short an all-nighter, WAPDA and KESC have this way of getting one at the oddest of times.
And then there’s this whole sick symphony thing to it. That little swish sound the fan makes as it comes to a halt; a few moments of blessed silence as all electronics in the house die. And then the neighbor’s cursed generator whirs to life, contributing copiously to the noise pollution of the area, not to mention the air one. And the tirades some people tend to launch into at times like these are more annoying than the whole load shedding phenomenon itself.
According to reports, load shedding is also the cause of many recent cases of anxiety and insomnia. So the next time a jumpy and irritable, sleep deprived zombie drives straight into your car; blame WAPDA instead of questioning the efficiency of the country’s driving test.
The fact that it’s kind of difficult to fathom why Pakistan is facing a shortfall in power makes the whole thing harder to digest. The country has a long coast with high wind velocity perfect for turning wind turbines. Most of the areas have 250-300 sunny days a year; enough for efficient solar power generation. There’s biogas and mass in unbelievable amounts, plastered as the cakes are on every convenient wall in rural areas. And there has got to be more to the deficit than faulty transmission lines, power theft and fuel prices.
But then, complaining never did anything for anybody. And it won’t make a bit of a difference if you go out and burn a couple of tires. Unless the toxic fumes from that can power a Nuclear Power Station; then it might be worth the time and effort. Instead, why not take a nice walk outside? You can escape the heat and work off those pounds gained from discussing how “kharaab” the “halaat” are over that plate of pakoras. Or you can just take a cold shower; though that might not be so advisable due to the fact that water isn’t exactly that plentiful around here. And also because half the time the water is scalding hot.
Mercury and electricity supply have an inversely proportional relation here. When the first rises, the second inevitably falls. But the tariff is forever ascending; no outside influences can ever change that. So yes, we are paying more for less than ever. And yes, we’re expected to be happy about it. The tire burning routines don’t sound so bad now, do they?
The best possible respite from this daily occurrence of load shedding might be the one suggested inadvertently by the creator of this site: try landing yourself a place at the Presidential Palace. You might have to spend a couple of years in prison to qualify for the post though. Preferably on blackmail and money laundering charges; to prove you’re worthy of running the country.