Thursday, November the 13th, 2003

Yet Another Blackout

So here’s the thing. You come all wide eyed and excited (or unmoved and uninterested) to a “First World” country from a “Third World” country assuming certain things will be different in certain ways. For instance, you’d assume power cuts are now a thing of the past. But that’s, sadly, not true. First, I had the pleasure of experiencing the Great Blackout of 2003 and last evening again, we lost power around 6-7? and it returned at some 5 in the morning.

This is stupid. Even Madras doesn’t lose power so often or for so long. Or for that matter, even fluctuate so much that your TV spontaneously fails.

I should have been wild and irritated (and all panicky? to mirror how people here respond) but so wasn’t. I was just getting ready to do some work and was beginning to get agitated because I didn’t want to do it. I then decided to update my blog/reduce the pile of unanswered email, but I was lazy and that began annoying me as well. And then it happened. Extreme fluctuation for a few seconds and then total darkness. Well, not total, because the moon was insanely bright, and pretty.

It just felt so peaceful. Tore into some useless devices, like clocks, and stole batteries for my torch. I spent a good deal of the evening just walking round a quiet, unlit, peaceful town. It felt awesome. Met and spoke to all sorts of random people (I assume also doing the same thing) as I passed them. People do leave their homes and interact when TV or whatever isn’t coming on. As I had expected, all the streets were slowly beginning to clog with traffic as the signals were out. And there was police everywhere regulating traffic and all that.

But it was the moon that was the prettiest. It’s not everyday you get to see it without all other lights and things getting in the way. I decided to get back home and come back with my camera. Tried a bit, but shooting an object so far away is not easy without the right equipment, and all I ended up with were sucky blurry things. Will figure out how to do it, and what I need, in time.

It was insanely windy. Forecasts predicted 60 miles per hour (~ 100 Kmph!) gusts. Perfect evening for a walk around town. What people do to feel the wind in their hair. Some buy fancy convertibles. Some wait for days where the wind’s gusty and take a walk.

(Earlier in the day, I had gone for this talk in the math department. It was interesting and informative. It’s just, mathematicians are funny people :). You should see 4-5 mathematicians running around trying to get a projector to work with a laptop. Complete with comments like, oh, “so we can’t get the picture centered on the screen”, “let’s just move the building”.)

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