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Load Shedding

April 7, 2021

A load shedding is something that power plants do to ease the stress on their energy source by temporarily shutting off electricity supply to certain regions for a short duration. Growing up in Kolkata in the early 2000s, I had to experience quite a few power outages every year before West Bengal had a power surplus and these load sheddings became a rare occurrence. As a child, these frequent power outages were almost like a call for adventure, as the lights would go out, I’d see my neighbourhood transform into a mysterious silhouette which was ever so slightly illuminated by the moonlight or a single battery-operated lantern kept on someone’s window sill. The world around me would suddenly become quiet and mysterious.

Darkness is a very strange thing; it morphs and distorts familiar shapes into unknown entities. Even when I was absolutely certain that I was alone, it always felt like something was watching me from the distant void of murky blackness. It’s very obvious that these things terrified me back then; pitch black darkness makes me nervous even now. But there was also another side to this unknown world devoid of light. Every evening when we’d lose power, I’d sit down with my mother by the window and look out into the world. I don’t remember all the conversations but I remember that stories were told; stories that made me happy. I’d look out through the window and wonder what the man with a single candle was doing as he sat on his table. There would be dogs barking in the distance and sometimes my eyes would catch sudden movement in the trees; wildly fantasizing about the mysterious creatures that the darkness could bring along with itself.

Even now, power outages change my perspective of the world completely whenever they happen. The most mundane tasks such as going to the loo turn into an adventure because who knows what mysteries lie in the dark! Even human relationships feel more intimate, the things that people say in the dark are very different from the things that they would usually tell you in the light. I’ve learnt way more about people at night than I ever did during the day. Perhaps it’s a primal instinct? We are mostly diurnal animals and the night is for rest and relaxation. I really enjoy these brief moments without electricity, it takes us away from everything else and brings us down to a simpler state without the complexities of modern life. Life without light and energy would almost be impossible for any of us. But I think that there is a gift to be received from the darkness, a gift that is almost impossible to describe. If you close your eyes and try to hear it, the night might just whisper something back and that will stay in your memory forever.

Nakshatra Roy, B. Des. Sem. 6, Animation and Motion Graphics, School of Communication Design, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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