Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Powercut

Sujith was on the laptop sprawled across the bed with the music going on full blast through the 5.1 woofer system arranged systematically to produce the most effective reverb effect. His fingers moved like lightning as he operated his two favorite gadgets, the laptop and the cell phone with amazing dexterity.

He was juggling three tabs on his laptop each them dedicated to yahoo messenger, orkut, facebook, gtalk and twitter. In the other hand he had his Apple iphone in which he was chatting with three of his friends.

Sujith’s father, Rana, was on the phone, debating with his friend about the latest dirty work that happened in their company and the bribes that the boss had to offer to hush up the entire affair. They were blaming the boss for his carelessness and at the same time appreciating the ease with which money could solve all the problems.

Sujith’s mother, Shailaja, was busy watching her daily soap opera and was acidly cursing the bad husband who tortured his pregnant wife and the wily aunt who was happy to ruin the mood of anyone who came in her way. She was also crying for the lead lady who kept crying all though the episode for some great tragedy befell her every five episodes.

Sujith’s grandfather, Shinde were sitting in drawing hall, reading the newspaper and blaming the government for its inefficient methods of working, pointing out that every politician in the world was corrupt and was suggesting a hundred methods which could be implemented to improve the system.

Sujith’s grandmother, Lilavathi sat in another corner of the drawing hall, goading on the landline to another old lady about a hundred things which included, a rich in-laws heavy necklace set, the latest gossip in the family, who is getting married, how much dowry they got/giving and so on.

Sujith’s sister, Reshma was in her room, talking to her friend about the latest designer wear in town, the latest love pair in their class, the latest guys who were hitting on them, their merits and demerits.

As everyone was in their own orbit, lost in their own world, each blissfully unaware of the other person’s existence, a sudden calamity jolted them out of their world. The power went out in the entire grid, enveloping the entire locality into darkness. At the same time, the cell phone towers went offline, all at once, without any warning.

Everyone walked into the main hall, feeling for the walls and searching for the potential obstacles. They were angry with the officials for being so negligent about the basic needs of the people.

Rana worked on the landline with a torch in one hand and a stabbing the numbers with the other. He made calls to the local power station to find out what went wrong. They said that some main transformer at some main power station failed and they were making ‘all possible efforts’ to get the power back before midnight.

‘Bloody idiots, they said midnight which surely means that they are going to take till next morning.’ Rana growled.

‘This is what happens when you have an inefficient government in power.’ Shinde muttered in an undertone.

‘But why did the cell phones go down? Both of my SIM’s are not picking up any signal’ said Sujith, shaking his phone and trying different things like changing the settings and switching it on/off several times.

‘Now, I have to watch the re-telecast in the morning to find out if Ekta finds out that her husband is cheating on her on not. This is so putting off.’, Groaned Shailaja.

As they all settled down in the sofas of the drawing hall, they observed that the room was filled with the bright night sky.

‘Hey, did anyone notice? It is a full moon day today’, said Reshma excitedly pointing out into the sky.

Everyone turned into the direction of her hand and noticed the full moon shining brightly in the clear January sky.

‘Why don’t we take the chairs and sit on the porch?’ Sujith suggested, finally giving up on his cell phone.

‘That is a good idea, Sujith will get the chairs and Reshma, you arrange the food that your mother made for snacks.’ suggested Rana.

All of them set into motion, setting up chairs, bringing out rugs and blankets which would make them comfortable in the cold night. As the snacks came, everyone settled down in their chairs, munching the delicious food, looking up at the beauty of the sky, basking and soaking in the moon light and for a couple of minutes, lost in awe.

‘This reminds me of my childhood’ Shinde remarked, bringing everyone back into the world.

‘We used to sit like this in the moonlight and used to play several games which were our modes of entertainment back in the days when we had no television sets, internet or cell phones’ he remarked.

‘What kind of games?’ the brother and sister asked, curious.

‘Oh, we used to sing songs, play mime and the most interesting game was where we make
different animals with shadows. The persons who used to make the most complicated animal shapes were made to compete with each other and the person who made the best moves won the competition.’ Said Shinde, and effortlessly produced the shapes of a hooting fox, a soaring eagle, a grazing cow and a barking dog.

Sujith and Reshma, by now very fascinated, abandoned their chairs and jumped to their grandfather’s side, each trying to make their own animal with their grandfather’s guidance.

Soon, Sujith’s shadow snake and Reshma’s shadow Eagle were having a raging war on the expansive front wall, complete with the sound effects.

Their parents were giving them battle strategies, awarding points for a hit, cheering an intelligent move and booing the bad one. After sometime, the battle was over and everyone was smiling.

‘Let’s play something else now.’ Reshma shouted, excited.

‘How about we play mime?’ Rana suggested.

‘That would work awesome.’ The kids cheered.

The father and the kids made one team as the mother and the grandparents made another team. Everyone was cheering and laughing as Lilavathi tried to depict a battle scene to make her team understand the name of an epic movie.

The kids roared with laughter as their always serious father tried to imitate the cat walk of the lead lady from a recent film. They fought over the points and argued about the extra time taken by each person to finish the act.

As their noise reached peak levels, the curious neighbors started coming out to see what was going on.

‘What’s up Rana ji, you seem to have a party going on here.’ Said his neighbor Bhaskar, as he walked into the porch of Rana’s house.

‘Oh hello Bhaskar ji, yeah, we are having a little mime competition going on here, why don’t you join in?’ Said Rana, with a big smile.

Bhaskar, after watching for some time, caught up with the contagious enthusiasm and joined in with his family and kids, and they were having a whole new competition which reached a fever pitch with a lot of cheering and booing. For that moment, all differences in age were forgotten and everyone was having their share of fun.

Soon, they were joined by the other people living nearby and they shifted their picnic spot to the center of the road on their lane. Meantime, the ladies called them for dinner.

‘Why go back into the houses? We are having so much fun out here. If all of us put in a little effort we can arrange the dinner here itself.’ Suggested Ali, who was another resident of that locality.

Everyone consented to the idea and soon, the next fifteen minutes were filled with wild activity as the ladies got the dishes out, and the children ran inside and outside fixing the necessary items.

The dinner was a huge success, with everyone talking, laughing, and hollering at each other’s jokes. The computers, televisions, cell phones and politics were forgotten for those two hours. Everyone present there found happiness in each other’s company.

As they were finished the dinner, everyone was talking about locking up the houses and making camp beds in the local park in their lane. The uncles were discussing effective methods to move the stuff into the park when the power came back on and the cell phones got revived.

Slowly, the calls started coming in and soon, the people found excuses to exclude themselves from the camping program. Soon, the people were back in their own orbits, doing what they normally do with the full moon night all forgotten in the glow of the electric bulbs.


BEHARA said...

tats great..............

Rachana Raghavan said...

I think in these technology haunted days, we need to feel satisfied just by writing or reading about the beauty of being together and having fun... :(
Good Narration as alwayz... :)

varsha said...

So true! It's sad that technology is now controlling us and we are no longer controlling technology :(

Anudeep said...

as always..very nicely written nd also u picked up a very nice situation too :)..ust a suggestion for all your stories..there would be a elaborated and a bit dry start..try making the starts more interesting from next story onwards..make it more grandoise..;)

Sri Harsha said...

Thank you for your suggestions and encouragement guys.. :)