This isn’t about the 1958 movie about the sinking of the Titanic. Nothing quite so dramatic, but something that reminded me of times long past and an occurrence as recent as last night.
The temperature yesterday must have been close to the 40C mark. Around 7.30pm large parts of Pune had a power outage that lasted till 3am this morning. The fans went off duty around 10pm leaving us with endless tossings and turnings on sheets that felt like they had electric blankets under them. You know the type used to fight the cold in the mountains. In between the t and ts we took turns pacing up and down the hallway, aided by the fading light of a rarely-used torch, replaced by the light of that great disruptor – the mobile phone.
The pre-pre dawn darkness brought some relief when the fans suddenly, miraculously, came to life. But not before I had sprinkled water on my bed several times – a form of bedwetting one could say.
Between the long bouts of sleeplessness, I drifted to the years in the early 70s when the power situation in Calcutta was as problematic; studying by candlelight to meet an assignment deadline, creeping unwillingly through mosquito nets (they stifled you even more) to avoid getting bitten by those monstrous mosquitoes, floating off for a few hours of restless sleep, rudely awoken by the shrill alarm of the clock.
Youth gives you a certain resilience, Age a certain acceptance.
The long night reminded me to spare a thought for the poor who endure this night after night – drifting from a stifling, hot, wind-less night to a hotter day.
All this, while we await with bated breath the arrival of the Bullet Train and the Smart City.