From ‘Batti Bandh’ to Batti Gone!!

In my second year of college, I was a part of a campaign called ‘Batti Bandh’. We put up slogans and held talks, spreading awareness on the importance of conserving electricity. And a part of this was also the event of switching off all power points for an hour on a certain day. This event slowly spread across Mumbai and the issue did get a lot of attention.

And now in the village, we have electricity supply for a maximum of eight hours everyday. And if the weather’s bad (by that I mean strong wind, excessive heat) that too is given a skip!
News of someones field getting all burnt up due to a spark leakage from a faulty wiring and acres of standing grain getting burnt to the ground is common, just as power theft and overloading is!!

It is ironic how (within the same country) I have moved from one place where people were requested to turn off power supply for an hour once every year to the place where people plead for as little as eight hours of electricity everyday!!

There is a desperate shortage of electricity here….or the power dept. is a major supporter of Batti Bandh!

*Batti- Hindi for Electricity
Bandh- to turn off.

A Ride Like Many Other…

Here, I have described just one of the many trips I took while in UP. Each venture out of the school, for even little things like internet connection (it was at a three hour drive, mind you) would turn out to be an adventure.  Political rallies, detour at regular intervals are a part of daily commuting.

Frustration personified…

It’s spooky, the driver’s hungry, there are basically just potholes-one after another that makes- (what they call) the road! The dry, parched fields on either side and large wide shrubs and bushes growing wildly, entering the open car window.  The moon’s high up in the sky, the sound of wolves in some distant field. Flashes of torchlight every few minutes…

And then just as you turn a corner, there! Dim lights, blaring Bhojpuri songs and random people sitting together in groups- smoking or talking loudly. They are the people who want to defy the village custom of sleeping early, and so this is their city adaptation of the market place. The village kids going to these markets call them “bumbai!” Totally bumbed me! LOL.

And here’s a funny part… We are returning home, my dad and I. It’s 8.30 pm, conditions as mentioned above. I have traveled this part quite a few times lately. Now concentrate on the part ‘the driver’s hungry’…. So as we turn from the loud, annoying Bhojpuri music to take the road home deep in a village. The driver takes another road cut through the fields.

Dad inquired and  he says this road is better, with fewer bumps. Turns out, totally the opposite! After passing through the fields, and a canal and fighting quite hard to keep as still as possible to avoid tumbling over, we reach a house that belonged to the cook who would have food ready for our hungry driver on his way home. So all this for reminding the cook he’d be there in half an hour for his dinner. The cook barely looked up from the mobile phone(?!) he was talking on, but simply nodded, as another bump…