monday 55 – loadshedding

after the more or less favourable response to the first instalment of this series last week, we’ve decided to continue the trial run of this particpatory creative writing meme. so without further ado, i present the topic of the week, loadshedding. now that’s something anyone who’s ever been in karachi is familiar with; moreso those who’ve braved our blazing summers hand in hand with the supremely efficent kesc.

the last few drops of lukewarm water from the tap manage to cool the child a bit. but a baby is a baby and he starts crying again two minutes later. wearily, she glances up at the fluorescent display on the wall clock, silently making the calculation.

three hours, seventeen minutes. no end in sight.

your turn people.

12 Comments so far

  1. Teeth Maestro (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 4:52 am

    Osama was browsing the FBI Most Wanted List which should now feature KESC as the ‘Most Wanted’ but before he could land on the page KESC yet again served its blow of death on Osama’s computer for probably the millionth time.

    His computer squirmed the last dying wishes

    “NNNooootttt Aggggainnnnn…..Brzzzzkkkkk”

    Sadly the computer was never heard from again…..

  2. Xill-e-Ilahi (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 5:05 am

    LOL!!! hilarious. :)

  3. Manish (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 4:51 pm

    “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!! Naein yar, kya burai hai!”

    “I’ve been waiting since last Monday. This can’t be happening; sara mood kharab ker key rakh diya hai.”

    “Allah gharat karey inn KESC walon ko! Khud ki to light jaati nai hai, hum he azaab mein aye rehtey hain.”

    “I wonder ke kya topic hai aaj Monday 55 pe.”

  4. mansoor (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 5:31 pm

    manish: Awweeeesssooommmeeee!

  5. Xill-e-Ilahi (unregistered) on April 23rd, 2007 @ 11:16 pm

    manish, that was a really good one :)

  6. Manish (unregistered) on April 24th, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

    Thank you, Mansoor and Xill :)

  7. mansoor (unregistered) on April 24th, 2007 @ 2:28 pm

    8:00 ” i have to finish this in time!”
    8:15 “damn damn damn! It crashed!”
    8:25 “there! phew! got it! now let’s just save it and give it an overview..”
    8:29 “saved! yes!! its done!”
    8:30 *blackout* “just like clockwork… i need to get a laptop one of these days…” *sigh*

  8. Omar R. Quraishi (unregistered) on April 24th, 2007 @ 4:16 pm


    No bijli, we are Pakistani

    By Omar R. Quraishi

    When do you know that summer is well and truly here? When the temperature hits forty-plus Celsius? No. You know that the summer is well and truly here in Pakistan when your bijli begins to go out every day, several hours a day. Being a resident of Karachi, this is the norm for at least the past decade — and the main problem seems to be that the crisis only gets bigger every year. This implies that those who run KESC and those sitting in the federal ministry of water and power in Islamabad (which controls all of WAPDA’s various distribution and power generation companies as well as its transmission grid, and KESC too) have no vision, no sense of planning and certainly no urgency about solving the country’s acute power shortage crisis.

    In this regard, an email received a few days ago via a mailing list is worthy of being quoted verbatim. It comes from a Mr Saeed-ur- Rahman, who works with an NGO based in Kabirwala in South Punjab. Titled ‘Electric power issues in Pakistan’, it says: “The light goes for several hours many times in the day and the night. The summer season has started and will last till October. This period is a very hot time for those living in Sindh , Punjab, NWFP and Balochistan [that’s the whole country basically]. The temperature today was 44 degrees Celsius and will reach around 50 degrees by June. The consequences of these unending power breakdowns are: patients dying in hospitals (since not all have generators); business dropping in markets; voltage problems and damage to electrical appliances; reduction in industrial output; increase in costs of production; consequentially, an increase in inflation, fall in GDP and in level of exports and damage to quality of life, especially through lack of, or disturbed, sleep at night.”

    He then asks the following questions: “Why has no planning been done to avert this situation, especially since it is not exactly all that new or sudden? Didn’t WAPDA/KESC and/or the ministry of water and power foresee that by 2007 there would be a rise in demand and with supply stagnant, there could be a major power crisis? Who is to be held responsible for the lack of planning in the past? Why do electricity consumers have to pay exorbitant charges (which appear in consolidated form as ‘service charges’ on their power bills) to WAPDA/KESC when the service provided to them is generally unreliable and expensive? And, who is going to compensate the people of the country for the mental and physical torture that they undergo as a result of lengthy power breakdowns?”

    Who will answer these questions?

    As for KESC, it was handed over to private management and is operated, through a controversial agreement, by the well-known German firm Siemens. Its managing director and chief executive, Sohail Wajahat Siddiqui, was interviewed on a private business channel on Tuesday. He was asked at length about his company’s agreement to operate KESC — under which KESC’s chief executive (by his own admission) has little say in the way the power utility is operated and for which Siemens is paid $9 million every year. He was told of several news reports detailing this controversial agreement and taking Siemens to task for failing to bring about any change in the way KESC was being run (and shown in the massive loadshedding and power breakdowns that the country’s commercial and business capital has to live with this summer). His response was basically that this was ‘negative propaganda’ and mostly untrue. The interviewer at least had the good sense to ask him that if that was the case, why didn’t Siemens see it fit to deny such propaganda to which the MD had no answer.

    He was also then asked about a major scandal that has rocked Siemen, Pakistan’s parent company in Germany. The MD said that this was the work of an individual and that the company had nothing to do with it. The interviewer did not press the issue any further.

    This is from Der Spiegel (May 28, 2007, issue), one of Germany’s and in fact Europe’s most reputable publications. Titled ‘Something’s Rotten in Germany, Inc.’, the article says that German authorities had taken a member of the company’s board into custody on ‘suspicious of irregular payments’. It quoted ‘German commentators’ as saying that the case showed that “corruption is systemic at one of Germany’s biggest companies”. The company is being investigated for “paying bribes around the world to secure lucrative contracts — and for paying millions to its workers’ council to ensure pliability,” Der Spiegel said.

    German business daily Handelsblatt wrote: “It has become increasingly difficult to avoid the impression that (the corruption revelations) are part of a system. Slush funds in the telecommunications division, anonymous accounts in the generator manufacturing branch, dubious payments made to workers’ council members.” Another newspaper, the well-respected S?ddeutsche Zeitung — based, like Siemens, in Munich — wrote: “The scandal has now reached such dimensions that the company management under Klaus Kleinfeld can’t ignore it anymore.”

    Back to Siemens Pakistan. Its MD was awarded the Sitara-e-Pakistan this year by the President of Pakistan. Interestingly enough, his citation read that this was in recognition for “outstanding services in growth of telecom sector”.

  9. llama (unregistered) on April 24th, 2007 @ 9:46 pm

    Should I turn the washing machine on? What if the electricity goes in the middle? Nah, too risky. Should I use the sewing machine today? What’s the point–the light’s probably gonna go as soon as I do. Should I turn the computer on? Lets postpone all work till tomorrow…

  10. llama (unregistered) on April 24th, 2007 @ 9:57 pm

    To generate or get uninterrupted power–that is the question. If generate, then gas or petrol? What capacity? How much for each option? If choose uninterrupted supply, then what capacity? What backup time needed? Where to put? How much?

    Wish I was rich, then would get my own electric supply.

  11. llama (unregistered) on April 24th, 2007 @ 9:57 pm

    To generate or get uninterrupted power–that is the question. If generate, then gas or petrol? What capacity? How much for each option? If choose uninterrupted supply, then what capacity? What backup time needed? Where to put? How much?

    Wish I was rich, then would get my own electric supply.

  12. Mahsheed (unregistered) on April 28th, 2007 @ 2:25 am

    Manish!!!!!!!! U r too good………….I am telling u , u shud pursue writing as a career!!!!!!!

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