I turn on the camera to talk to my parents on Skype and find my dear father sitting shirtless with a hand held fan giving himself a wisp of air every now and then. He tells me there is no light and no water for the past 6 hours. Sitting in 48 degree celsius heat with no fan is certainly no joke. My mother turns up with a litany of complaints how the meat and fruits have rotten in the fridge, the dirty dishes dot the kitchen sink with mosquitoes and flies proliferating, the laundary has piled up and there is half a bottle left of clean boiling water to drink. Their salvager in these tough times, the ubiquitous UPS is also run out of power and waiting to be charged up, their water tank is now dry as the municipality water tank is disconnected due to power outage. They both look quite down. Being in 60s and exposed to such rigors of daily life in this age is no joke. They long for relaxation, peace of mind in their daily routine which seems now remain a distant dream to realize. We talk for a while, I wish them luck for an early power recovery and we end the call.
As I log onto a leading Pakistan’s newspaper website, I read about protests everywhere. Residents of an area where there is no light for the past 8 hours have taken to streets and are are bitterly showing their frustration, burning tyres and raising slogans against the government. Nurses, doctors protest for lack of clean drinking water and unavailability of power to perform operations. Relatives of a patient who could not be be given prompt medical attention due to power failure block the roads, pelt stones on the power company office. Another news item highlights the plight of matric students, who appear for their major exam in a no lights and fan-less classrooms. The power outages have seriously affected their preparation and exam appearance. A multimedia report shows the faces of factory workers either lazying around or playing some cricket as they wait for the return of the power. The small and big businesses have been paralysed causing a threat to many families livelihoods. Women in homes are on the look out for water as the power outages halts the water supply. Its a complete standstill in the country economy. There is no water, no lights, for most hours of the day. Life has never been a drudgery as it is now. Imagine the morgues with decomposing bodies! Power, power, power shouts the public, the nook and corners of the streets and alley of Pakistan.
How do you expect an economy to get off the ground when you find the factories dark and silent, the workers idlying away time in useless pursuits, the business shut down, the transport sector crippled, the human resource distressed, grieved, tired. Most of my working friends moan of waking up tired and work output seriously affected by the daily grind of power failures in these sweltering conditions. And as one friend puts it, “I haven’t see such darkness in my entire life. It is hell.”
With current conditions like these in big cities, one cannot imagine the plight of the rural area resident. They are simply left to swelter and suffer.Death of their livestock and death of their livelihood has further dismayed. How and when will the things improve, the big question remains unanswered.