Making the most of a power cut

Making the most of a power cut

Rishabh Kochhar

Summer brings with it some of the best fruits that nature has to offer — mangoes, juicy litchis, sweet musk melons and bright red strawberries that I love making daiquiris with.

But summers also bring along load-shedding, making the days, and often nights, hard to bear. These last few weeks have been particularly hard because of unprecedented power cuts across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. So when the lights went out the other day as I picked up a book, my mind drifted off to a weekend trip to New York a couple of years ago, when a power cut ruined my plans of painting the town red.

Power cuts in the US are not very frequent, so when the electricity decided to take some time off, I wasn’t amused. I had plans to meet friends and family, gorge on some cheesecake, and stuff myself with some banana pudding from my favourite Magnolia Bakery.

Instead, the power cut crippled the city’s public transport and I found myself spending a small fortune to travel across the city in a cab. As I sat in despair, I recalled an old idiom that my mother always quoted whenever things weren’t going my way: “What cannot be cured must be endured.”

I was reminded of an episode of the hit TV show Friends where the entire city of New York goes under a blackout. I realised that instead of cursing my luck at encountering a blackout, this was a chance for me to relive a moment from one of my favourite shows.

I looked at Times Square in a rare new light, with twilight giving way to a Saturday night. I relished a fresh hot dog from a street vendor, amused at the panic and chaos all around me, soaking in a new-found ethos of the city that never sleeps. But the best part was the chance I got to enjoy a rare, candle-light dinner of New York’s best ramen with my family and nephews, where we decided to enjoy our conversations in the absence of Wi-fi.

I read somewhere that life is not about what happens to us, but how we respond to things. Indeed, when I look back at my trip, all I have are fond memories from the sudden blackout. On the same day, I also got a chance to photograph the Manhattanhenge — a twice-a-year occurrence when the rising sun or the setting sun is aligned with the east-west streets of the main street grid of Manhattan. The sun shines majestically, golden-orange in colour, flanked by the enormous skyscrapers, leaving tourists and locals awestruck.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I do not have tales of power cuts from other cities that I can regale myself with when there is a power cut next time closer home in Chandigarh. But I plan to make the most of it by immersing myself in books and this time, I am ready with my Kindle!

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