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Quarantine Diaries by Madhura


                   Summer in Kolkata is quite unbearable due to its humid nature. What made it more unbearable was the occasional powercuts that we would had throughout the day. The most affected time was afternoon when the sun would be at its peak. We had hand-fans, made of talpata. Tal is the colloquial language for the palm trees. The elders would continuously move their hands in effort to make us sleep in that scorching heat, but we still wanted the electricity to be restored. Now with ACs becoming a norm in most household and generator-inverter providing power backup for a good span of time , the hand-fans lay forgotten, only to be brought out for some rituals.

                   When the power failure happened in the evening, continuing well in the night-it was a picnic moment for us. Almost every family in the locality would run out of patience and frantically try to contact the electric supply office, which hardly gave any positive response most of the times. So almost all the people would be either on the lane, or on the terrace, loitering or chatting, as the houses would slowly become very hot.

               Inside the home, we would light a lantern and start studying, only to complain about headache after half an hour. Our grandmother would try to keep us engaged by telling some mythological stories. Sometimes we would go to the terrace, especially if it was a full moon night. Sometimes there would be cool breeze and we would sing to spend our time. Dinner in the dimlight would be a challenge in itself, but we nevertheless enjoyed it.

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