Friday, September 12, 2008

Load-shedding and Self Discipline

On a bright Sunday afternoon in Pune, sometime in August, just before the Indian independence day, I had a hearty lunch with one of my closest friends and his spouse and we were all set to try out my friend's new play station when the dreaded load-shedding in Pune started. There was no electricity for around 5 hours and we were literally jobless @ home.

We started debating about which entity is responsible for the current situation of our country. The world sees India as a developing country and one of the fastest growing economies. However most tier-I and tier - II cities like Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore etc. have severe power cuts and water shortage throughout the year. Add to it the crumbling infrastructure in these cities and the rapid increase in population in these cities due to rural-urban migration and the situation is nothing short of chaos in these cities.

As one would expect, the blame game started. Who is accountable? I normally tend to avoid anything remotely related to politics. But then, in an indefinite wait for the electricity and an attempt to beat the heat (surprisingly hot in Pune in August), we had a heated discussion. We entered into the ludicrous world of politics, analyzed the system in & out and what could be done to improve the same. It is no secret that the entire system is corrupt and that we the citizens were the ones who are largely responsible in selecting the system.

But as has often been the case in discussions involving me (this is accidental :)), this was a discussion with a tinge of optimism. We were trying to come up with solutions that can be implement within the realms of the common man. With respect to load-shedding, we came up with an estimate of how much of electricity and water is being wasted in a particular area in Pune and what were the common causes of wastage. What was shocking was that within the three of us we came up with a good twenty five points, which we contribute to wasting electricity and water. We figured out (not a rocket science) that if each of us (the three of us) can avoid this, we can reduce the wastage in that area to around a good 0.25%. And if it can be replicated throughout that particular area, a good 40% of savings could be effected. Isn't that huge? Well yes indeed.

Thus, we come to the concluding part of this post i.e. Self discipline. During my bachelor days in bangalore, we room-mates used to fight as to who should shut down light of our rooms and often in our laziness to get out of bed, we slept with lights on. And it is a common phenomenon in every family. So, if we educated people, can rein in our laziness and be a bit more disciplined, we really don't need to work for NGOs to give something back to the society. Simple acts of not wasting a drop of water and optimum usage of electricity are enough to give light to people suffering in poverty.

Signing Off...