Friday, April 08, 2011

How to survive Chennai summer when there is no electricity

The way electricity supply works in Chennai these days is, the hotter it gets, the lesser the electricity available. Thus, when the fans and ACs are working hard to cool you off, electricity to the said devices is shut off. I suppose this is the government's way of building our character. After all, if we can survive the Chennai heat without electricity, then we must be able to handle almost all types of adverse situations, no? See, our government does so much for our welfare. Does yours do that?

Anyways, back to the point. This morning I was busy working when all the lights and fans went out leaving an eerie silence behind. That is, till the generator at the bank next door started up. Yup, we had had a power shut down. I frantically rifled through the newspaper again. I had read that parts of our neighborhood was having "maintenance" shut down but not our specific area. Oh, by the way, what once used to be called as "power-cuts" or "load-shedding", now has a new fancy name: maintenance. Though one's mind keenly wonders how certain areas of Chennai need this maintenance shut down *every* week. Exactly what is being maintained? The body-heat level of the concerned citizens?

Anyhoo - a second glance at the paper revealed that our entire neighborhood had been snuck in under some other area's power-cut schedule. Great - so we were not going to have electricity at home till 6.00pm.

Due to various reasons, I had to stay put at home. I survived. How can you do the same?

1. Live in a house which has at least one floor above it (and hence whose roof does not get direct sunlight). If not this, the house should at least be surrounded by trees. If neither of the above conditions are true, tough luck. The rest of the points will not help you. On the brighter side, you will get a bird's eye view of chennai as you evaporate. (Alternately, hit one of the closed air-conditioned malls for the day.)

2. This is a no-brainer - be dressed in cool cotton clothes.

3. Do not move unless absolutely necessary. If at all you have to move, finish whatever you need to do and then come back and sit down quietly till you stop sweating. Permitted sweat-free activities include reading a book, listening to music and fanning yourself.

4. Under no circumstance should you go into the kitchen and light the stove. If this means surviving on water-melon and yogurt from the non-functioning refrigerator for lunch, so be it.

5. Do not make the mistake of bathing. Contrary to what you think, a bath will make you sweat even more profusely, rendering it an absolute waste of time and water.

6. Drink plenty of water. Follow the directions in step 3 to come back to sweat-free status once you have made the trip to fetch the water. Or, be smart and make one trip to get a few bottles of water to keep beside you.

7. If you need to talk on the phone, keep the conversation to neutral topics. Any kind of excitement increases your heart rate and thus your sweating tendencies.

8. Do not go outside the house even if it is only for a few minutes. Once you have gotten some sun on you, coming back to sweat-free status without a fan or AC is very hard.

9. Do not drink hot beverages of any kind. Even if a cup of tea is the only thing that will take you through the noon slump. Chew gum instead or if you have been doing all the things outlined in the above eight points, you can even be lucky enough to sneak in a quick nap (no blankets).

10. Most important of all, do not focus on the missing electricity. This will just cause anger and irritation and that will, you know, cause sweat.

Ta da, now you can grin about a job well done when the turning of the fan alerts you the return of electricity to your home!

Mercifully, thus far, my neighborhood has not had a lot of prolonged outages - this is the first one for the year. The comming summer months will see me keeping my fingers crossed tight. Amen!

* Picture courtesy here.

7 comments:

SK said...

Arch
Liked this post very much, this read like your old posts from three-four years back :--))
Do keep writing.

Saumya said...

Amen....I heard the UPS systems are pretty good there.

Anita said...

I think I must go with the option you provided in Point 1 - cut your losses and go to a mall or a movie. It seems torturous to sit the whole day without air conditioning.

Archana said...

SK - thanks :-)

Saumya - ya, we are investing in one soon. Looks like the EB employees are taking bets these days to see which area employee manages to keep the power off for the longest time,

Sindu - I actually managed, can you believe it!!

Sudarshan said...

I googled for "how to beat he chennai heat" and I hit on your blog. Made a nice read... very humorous, but tell me.... how to beat the chennai heat ? :-((

Suresh Kanna said...

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Submit your blog in zeole.com/chennai . This is a one time submission.This would automatically submit a preview of your future blog posts in Chennai, with a link back to your blog.

Enjoy more traffic from Chennai :-)

Air conditioning Franklin Indiana said...

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