Mon, 22 Jul, 2019

We Are Nowhere, We are Asleep

By Ashmita Kunwar

Picture Courtesy: Ashmita Kunwar

Few days ago, there was no electricity for three days in my area. I had no problem for at least two days since I had backup power in my home. But, that backup battery too went nil and everything was down. There was no light, no charge, and no Internet - only blackness all around me. It would not have been that much of an issue had there not been an exam the next day. I had not even downloaded note for tomorrow's exam and it was my entire fault. It was about 7 PM in the evening. I went outside and what I saw then is in the picture above.

It was just 7 in the evening and it felt like it was 12 in the midnight. I could see that none of the houses had light. I took out my mobile phone and clicked some photos and said to myself: ‘this is the reality of our country, reality of being a rich country in the water resources.’ I waited and waited but there was no electricity for the entire night. At last, I had no alternative but to just read whatever I had in my copy for the exam with the help of candles that were bought for Tihar.

I took the exam and I am doubtful of whether I will pass. After busy schedule in the college because of the photo sessions and the club meetings, I was back to my home at around 6 PM.  And, can you guess what happened when I reached home? Yes, the same darkness welcomed me. It was such a pathetic situation; I don’t even know how to explain it. I was feeling so disheartened and shameful in being a Nepali. I wished I had gone out for my bachelors instead of living in such a pathetic situation. I cursed those so-called leaders and political parties that are playing with our life. Since I had my next exam after three days, I had my dinner and went to sleep at 8 PM because there was not any reason to stay up. Being a computer science student it is almost impossible to pass time without electricity and the Internet. At around 1 AM, I heard somewhere the sound of water pump. I woke up and finally; I could see light in my area. I remember my mother saying, "I don’t know when the light will go again and I can’t wait till the morning, there is not even any water to wash our face.”

I thought I also could not wait till tomorrow. And so, I kept everything plugged-in in order to charge - my laptop, my mobile and emergency light. In the mean time I checked my emails, logged in to my Facebook and Viber. There were a lot of notifications and at midnight I messaged my friends in the group chat saying, “ yeah, finally I have electricity and net”. Two hours later I went to sleep.

In the morning when I woke up again there was no electricity. Since the battery was charged, I thought there was Internet and light; but I was wrong.  There was no Internet at all. I restarted my router; still there was no Internet. So, I called-up my ISP and what they said was, “We don’t have a backup power source. You will have net only when there is sufficient supply of electricity. We are working on overcoming the issue. Sorry for the inconvenience caused.

I thought, at least I can still use my laptop from the battery's backup. I needed to do something and what I did was write it down - scribbling my pain, my grief in the form of words.

No electricity, no Internet, what I could just feel was shivering cold. I know this is happening to all of us. But, what we do is we sleep - we sit in petrol line for a day or more, wait for our turn to come for 4-5 days to get half a cylinder gas but we are not ready to speak up against it. Last week, I attended a program called “Mock Youth Parliament” organized by an organization called Cheers Nepal. The country director of UNDP was the chief guest in the program. Analyzing the present situation of our country he mentioned that if this same situation had happened in his country France, there would have been chaos. The people would come to street and the leaders would be pressured to fix it as soon as humanly possible. In our case, however, we're passive. Around 40% of the populations in Nepal are youths but where are we on the issue? We're nowhere. We're asleep.