It’s ironic how a lightning-filled storm can knock out the electricity to millions of people. Yesterday, I was on my way back from Hyderabad headed to Karachi, when I noticed a strange phenomenon. Suddenly, this strange liquid began to pelt our car in large drops as big as a grape. SPLAT… SPLAT… SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT SPLAT. Now for those of you who are used to rain, this probably seems quite standard, but for those of us who live in Karachi, rain is an irregular event. I have lived here in Pakistan for 7 months and only seen raindrops twice. As we barreled forward undeterred by Mother Nature, the clouds grew dark and the wind whipped up the desert sands to obscure our view. Lightning danced all around us. Thankfully, we made it through unscathed. Outside my house in Karachi, I exited the car that had shielded me from the torrent and heard the familiar hum of the generator. Load shedding is a daily reality, so I didn’t think much of it. One hour, two, three… now this was not normal. Usually, the power stays off for only one hour. Four, five, six, seven… thank goodness that our generator runs on natural gas, because something major must have happened.
Well, we were not alone. 70% of the southernmost province of Sindh, including most of Karachi (16 million strong) was in the dark due to the very storm that we had passed through on the way home. Those who are not so lucky to have a generator of UPS suffered for 20 hours or more. Those that could afford a generator of UPS suffered for 15 hours or more depending upon how much gasoline they purchased to run those precious fans. Most of the city ground to a halt. Finally at about 1:30pm the following day, all of Karachi let out a joyous exaltation. The electricity was finally back.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
For many years the vessel sailed in gentle seas, a light breeze guiding the way. The sailors enjoyed nice ports in the Americas but seldom ventured further. One day, a great storm approached, accompanied by strong winds that the vessels’ sails had never seen in these warm Atlantic waters. The captain pondered if he should stow the sail and ride out the storm or run downwind at the mercy of the gale. The lines grew taut, the knots shrank, but the tackle held. Never had anyone on the boat traveled at such speeds. Fear filled their minds but soon fear was replaced by amusement and amusement replaced by joy. The strange winds took the sailors to far off places few ever imagined. The mysterious force would stop as quickly as it started, usually not far from a harbor in which to rest. After disembarking the crew would explore the new locale, taste exotic foods, and befriend the locals. Inevitably in each port of call, the crew would find some way to use the skills from their country to help the local inhabitants. In return, they would gain new insights into the world and hone their own abilities, constantly learning from their new friends. As quickly as it had stopped, the mysterious wind would pick up and the sailors would know that it was time to return to their beckoning ship. Once on board, the force would whisk them away to another land. Now in every journey, they would pass by deserted islands and crystal blue waters. Some of the sailors would ask, “Why don’t we explore that ile, for it seems a perfect spot to rest our souls.” But the captain knew that though he had a hold of the rudder, the wind guided his path.