The first flash of monsoon drizzle has made a Neanderthal out of the Homosapien that I happen to be
Rajshekhar Pant | November 1, 2014
It has been raining continually for the last 48 hours; almost the same duration has elapsed since we had the last flicker of electricity and water. My laptop is completely drained of power. The BSNL network for over a week has been a rarest of the rare commodity, and in order to listen to an eluding, yet reassuring ‘hello’ from the other end, I have already exhausted the batteries of both my cells. Twenty-two road links around me are all blocked.
Well, I am not a pilgrim-cum-tourist stranded in some remote corner like the proverbially marooned Robinson Crusoe or Alexander Selkirk of- O Solitude! where are the charms…fame. Barely two kilometers away from the district headquarter, I am right at the heart of Nainital, in an old Victorian building; snuggled in my cozy study, equipped with all amenities (presently defunct though) that a middle class family is supposed to own.
In a casual leave from my office, I was scheduled to go to Haldwani for the pre-surgery checkups and medical tests of my wife. I am also concerned about the well being of my nonagenarian father living just twenty kilometers away at Bhimtal in our over a century old house. For the past two days I have not been able to contact my daughter shooting a documentary in some remote pocket of Indo-Gangetic plains. A prominent crack has emerged yester night in the right corner of the building where we have been living. I know that this old construction is in the region from where passes, what the geologists in their jargon prefer to call –the great Nainital fault. A poster from the disaster management cell — showing odd silhouettes — the way of saving oneself from earthquakes tells that we are in seismic zone 5.
The first flash of monsoon drizzle has made a Neanderthal out of the Homosapien that I happen to be. I recall a friend of mine, an executive engineer in electric safety department, telling me once that as per a standing rule power-break due to some line fault cannot be continued after certain hours and it is mandatory on the part of the electricity department to divert the supply-lines ensuring proper power supply.
In Nainital, where the supply keeps on eluding you even when it is blowing in summer afternoons, to expect the officials to go by rules during the monsoons is too much. That is after all the season when much of their skill and strength is drained in ensuring a regular supply to VIP settlements through the otherwise down-at-heel lines where the confusion is often made worst confounded through a multitude of illegal connections. A random survey conducted by me along with a friend of mine of the mobile towers in the region, a couple of years back also surfaces up in my mind randomly.
Most of the batteries and ACs from the majority of towers, as reported by the sub-staff there, were being used in the residences of the sahib log to keep their homes cool and invertors functional.
However, some more ‘technical reasons’ may better be accounted for the towers often becoming dysfunctional after the power is gone. And yes, in the regional press the custodians of the safety and security of the commoners have already been telling it repeatedly to keep the cell phones on and watch TV alerts regularly.
If one fails to do so, it is his fault.
Keeping my personal concerns aside, I try to focus on the predicaments of those inhabiting or traversing the lonely shores of Mandakini, Alaknanda and Bhagirathi. Taking a ‘calculated risk’ our CM has ‘opened the yatra-route.’ Our learned and visionary leaders, our seasoned bureaucrats have been keeping a hawk’s eye on “developments” in unfavourable weather all over. With a well pronounced concern for people like you and me, they undoubtedly have an unflinching faith on the special status of this devbhoomi – god’s own land, which he logically is obliged to protect.
I gradually proceed to a corner of the inner room with folded hands. Seated wherein, in a corner, and hung against the wall is an entire hierarchy of gods and goddesses. In the flickering light of an earthen lamp, a line from Tishani Doshi flashes in my mind’s eye. Looking for the great metaphors of existence in nature she writes, “take care of small things and the big things will fall into place.”
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