Friday 13 March 2020

My Tryst with #Loadshedding - Is it New or Lifelong?

Hi Friends, 

As far as I remember during my childhood, I have never heard of this word Loadshedding until I came to Johannesburg, South Africa in 2013. In India, I grew up amongst long and untimely electricity cuts in my town. At least here in South Africa, we have the timetable and smartphone apps telling us when the electricity will be switched off in which particular area.

During my childhood in India, I grew up in a city named Sirsa in Haryana. The summers were full of light cut-outs as and when felt necessary by the State Electricity Boards and then we used to call the department using the wired telephone. The number used to be busy and when we got the answer it used to be told to everyone around in the colony. Earlier, I used to study with the candles lit but then it increased the overall temperature of the already hot room during summers. To add the spicing to the environment, mosquitoes keep biting you disturbing your concentration to study making the overall experience torturous. Preparation of food by my mom was not a problem as in India we used to have LPG stoves installed which can be lit by a lighter or match stick to make tea, coffee or any desserts any time of the day without electricity.

When I was in high school because of strict study timelines and board exams, my father bought us the rechargeable lights with small tube lights in a carrying case. It used to give enough power to last for at least 2-3 hours of continuous light to eat dinner or study afterward. The mobile phones during that time didn't exist as we used to have those wired telephone lines which didn't need any kind of electricity at all. Either it's connected and working or the wire is broken inside your home somewhere or at the pole nearby.

As I was doing my engineering, I used to stay in a PG outside the hostel and there I used to have my room tube light linked to Inverters and faced no problem even in the night other than the fan not being connected and mosquitoes singing at the top of their lungs. One of my college mates used to be so jealous and eventually became my friend and roommates in search of light to study. His search for great opportunities has made him a great man in the IT industry now.
My Tryst with #Loadshedding - Is it New or Lifelong?
Once I went to my friend's sister's marriage ceremony and they used to live in a village of UP state. It was my first time staying overnight in any village whatsoever. I came across the fact that the light only comes from 11pm to 2am in the night or something close to 3-4 hours during the entire day way back in 2003. At that time people used to have Nokia mobile phones which could last long with a single charge and there was no concept of power banks etc. I was the one who invested in a Samsung phone rather than Nokia at that time and I can say it was the first phone bought by me with my own hard-earned money. I took myself away from the famous Snake game which used to be so popular on the Symbian OS and older phones.

Even when I started working I used to keep my phone charged all the time so that it can survive the load-shedding of the night and I can play games on my Nokia 7650 the first camera phone at that time. It got stolen just before I had to start my MBA and it threw me to go back to Nokia's first colored display phone. The strategy always was to keep the devices charged during the time when there is light and use the devices only when the light goes off.

Today, when it comes to losing power we have power banks, laptops and other devices which constantly need the power to work. The biggest being Wi-fi connection which has no alternative unless you provide alternative current to the same via the UPS or the inverter installed at your home. Wifi is the basic necessity and that's why a lot of LTE based devices with built-in batteries are coming in the market from Huawei and D-Link etc. I love lights and LEDs and buys them regularly in the sale at Pick n Pay or any other retailers to take care of me when the lights go off.
  • The best way to prepare for Loadshedding is to have an alternate mechanism to cook food via LPG gas top stoves bought from Builders Warehouse or any other retailers. 
  • Keep your devices charged whenever Loadshedding is being announced and have a backup device ready too which we all have hidden inside the drawers somewhere. 
  • Go go to the local coffee shop or a mall where you will find plenty of plugs to charge while you have snacks - it may be expensive for your pocket but you get to vent out your emotions with like-minded individuals in the cafe or food court.
  • Download TV series or movies in your device if you have Netflix connections which give you a facility to download your favorite series in SD or HD quality. 
  • The long term method is to reduce your consumption and save electricity as and when you can. This will be a change in the habits and behavior to save the Planet Earth and unplug all devices not being used. Switch off all table lamps and bed shades. Switch to LED-based lamps and tube lights. 
  • Go for the walk or uncompleted 10000 steps of the day while listening to your favorite tunes from the old iPod or MP3 players. 
  • Spend time with family playing the old board games like Ludo, Snakes and Ladders and other popular ones like Scrabble, Pictionary, and Wikipedia. 
Loadshedding is a concept that will stay in the future and may increase as our consumption of electricity is increased. Earlier we didn't need Air Conditioning in the houses in Johannesburg but now it has become a necessity and similarly, London Tubes never had AC inside the trains but now the new shuttles have AC built into them. We can just spend more and more time in nature and see and watch online content at a certain time of the day will bring some efforts at our end but we will be happy with the output and also this is an opportunity to do a lot during the times of load-shedding.

I am happy with my Kindle Keyboard from Amazon which goes long without any charge and brings a lot of great books for me to read and refer to again and again. I bought the same on 17th July 2011 from Rhode Island, USA and still is with me bringing me all the songs, turns normal books into audiobooks and many more features.

What's your favorite device for load-shedding and strategies your follow to make your load-shedding experience better? 
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