My mother says I cuss people a lot for no reason, it is for this reason that she does not visit my blog for she fears that I would use a lot of expletives in it. Good for me I say, because then our dinner table conversations would revolve around the grammatical errors and the poor sentence constructions that I make. She being a school teacher, it is quite hard for me to get away without being corrected whenever I speak a sentence. Ask my father if you think I am exaggerating, she even lets the MS-Word autocorrect function know that the sentence changes it suggests are incorrect. But going back to the point, yes I cuss people a lot behind their back.
Cricketers, lecturers, math teachers, old schoolmates, friends, politicians, colleagues, that father who drops his daughter to the bus stop, parents(not mine), toddlers, traffic, weather, sky, sun, junkyard dogs–quite a few have been at the receiving end of my acid tongue. But there are times when the recipients of my expletives have redeemed themselves at some point and have made me take back my words. My math teacher was gracious enough to award me grace marks that helped me pass an exam once, lecturers have pushed back their assignment dates, friends have given back to me what they borrowed etc etc. its instances like these that have made me say “Maybe I was wrong, he is a nice person and I am the asshole”. But I can’t able to say the same about TNEB (did you see that ma? I said “Can’t able to”, ha!)
TNEB or the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board also known as Thiruttu Nai Echakalai Bastards (Loosely translated to “Sly dog spitworthy bastards” in English) is that government body which in their previous birth had probably been working under Hitler, their dedication in making your lives miserable can even make Hitler’s Schutzstaffel (SS) get an inferiority complex. With the state’s electricity board already under a debt of more than 40,000 crore the only way the woman at the helm could think of resolving this situation was by stopping people from using more electricity, in other words causing a power cut. It was not your normal one- hour powercuts, which is considered a very normal daily routine like cleaning your bowels, it was infact your MotherEpic-blast-your-brains-through-wall 10-hour powercut. Not one, not two, but TEN!
Like clockwork and with a mechanical precision the day begins with a powercut that begins at 9 am and goes till 12pm, then they let you enjoy an uninterrupted power supply till 3pm. Just when you feel you need an afternoon siesta the nice folks at TNEB shut it off at 3pm. At that time of the day when Chennai feels as hot as Satan’s anus, the TNEB urges you to bring out all your survival instincts by a 3-hour powercut that goes till 6 pm. Once the power returns you would feel that maybe now you won’t be subjected to anymore torture, but hold on, you are living in Tamil Nadu–“Torture” is its middle name. You return from work hoping to have a nice time at home with your loved ones watching t.v, sipping cold beer or a cup of tea, that is what a normal life means. With a powercut at 7:30 pm you might as well change your definition of a “normal life”. It’s not that bad though, a forty-five minutes powercut it is that’s all. You can spend those forty-five minutes coming up with various expletives using George Carlin’s combination of seven words– shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. By the time the power is back on at 8:15 pm you would have come up with quite a few permutations and combinations. It’s 10 pm and you might be excused for thinking that you might atleast have a good night’s sleep, but nooooo! That’s not what the state thinks! They let you know by another power cut, this time a half-hour powercut between 10pm and 10:30pm. Very considerate of them.
You know those expletives you had thought up of a while ago, you can practice by putting them to use in a proper sentence now.
TNEB is like that nagging wife whom we have no other option but to live with. Initially it was all hate as I cursed them and their families and thought of the ways in which I would torture them. Maybe I would abduct their mothers, put them in a cell filled with liquid oxygen and tell my trusted aide Rawbert whilst smoking a Cuban cigar:
“Rawbert! Is ko liquid oxygen me daal do. Liquid ise jeene nahi dega, aur oxygen ise marne nahi dega.”
But as days went by I got sick and tired of thinking up of ways to torture them, I finally gave into that routine of sweating through my ass. I felt maybe they had a method in this madness, maybe they were making us ready for something bigger. Maybe the apocalypse. Nevertheless the TNEB has made me appreciate all those things which I had taken for granted, it has also made me differentiate between the things we need and the ones we don’t need.
1. One of the mottos of TNEB is “Be Prepared!”, they are that drillmaster from “Full Metal Jacket” whom we never had. They let you sweat it out without having to move a muscle, they let you know that life is not all about sitting at your home watching some soap opera, making idlies, or drinking fresh filter coffee whenever you want. What would you do once the world ends? There would be no electricity for sure after that! These guys are making us ready for life after 2012. I have already mastered living my life without TV and computer, they even feel like an unwanted necessity. Next on my training schedule is to make fire without using matchbox and learn to wring a chicken with my bare hands, I am on my way to being a caveman.
2. Making the rural areas pay for electricity consumed by the industrial sector kind of works in my favor, now when I go to work I insist my bosses to pile me up with more work. My willingness to stay at work for the air condition and the unlimited coffee helps people believe that I am too dedicated towards my work. Give me a pillow and I might spend my nights there, with Youtube videos that never take time to buffer and high speed internet there is no reason why work shouldn’t feel like home.
3. I was always accused of spending too little time with my family and more time with imaginary characters in the telly. Now with television and computer out of the equation I have been spending some quality time with my parents much to their annoyance. I have come to know a lot about my parents during the conversations we had, I came to know about their nature of work, the amount of money in their banks, the EMIs they are paying, and more importantly the kind of retirement home they prefer.
My city dwelling friends often chide me for living in a rural area that lacks basic amenities and ask me why I have never moved out into the city. Apart from my ineptness in taking care of myself, I also gave them the reason that living in places with people a spitting distance away from you takes away your freedom to break wind loudly and walk around your home in your underwear (a habit I have developed thanks to TNEB).
So, come to Chennai prepare yourself for the apocalypse, forget what electricity is, lose your weight by living in a nature that offers you free sauna, learn more swear words. Live rugged.