Electric Supply – TNEB style

Last week it rained again. And for those of you who are wondering, this is not the Man from Madras Musing’s sequel to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. But he must say that he writes this in a dark and brooding mood, rather akin to the novel itself. But to come back to last week, it rained. And the upshot of it was that power promptly failed at MMM’s abode. The transformer that supplies power to chez MMM is a geriatric one and the mere sight of a cloud in the sky sends it into a tailspin. And when it rains, the transformer usually goes into a critical situation.

The rains stopped but after that there was no sign of the power. Messengers were sent to the EB but to no avail. The standard response MMM got and this was not easily forthcoming either, was that there were several failures owing to the rains and so it would take time. How long MMM wondered and to this there was no answer. Sometime in the future when the time is ripe appeared to be the general attitude. And to top it all, there was no sign of any activity at the office. Perhaps everyone was out battling some fault or the other but somehow the general lassitude of the place made MMM wonder if that was indeed the explanation.

After a couple of days the power supply was restored but minus one phase. This meant entreating the EB personnel to make one more visit and check for themselves as to what was wrong. This they deigned to do after a couple of reminders and having come they stood around the recalcitrant junction box, shaking their heads. The demeanour appeared to indicate that old grandfather transformer had finally .. er.. kicked the bucket and there was nothing to be done but to call in the undertaker. But that was not really so. Apparently what was needed was a wire of a certain thickness and of that there was no stock in the EB stores. Requisitions had been made, no doubt in triplicate but supplies were yet to come in. And when would they come? There was no response to this, the supply no doubt would be made in the fullness of time. And in the meanwhile what was to be done with absent phase? To that everyone had an answer. “Adjust,” they said, spelling out our national mantra.

Matters had reached an impasse of sorts when one of them had a brainwave. Why does not MMM buy the required wire he asked and then they would come and fix everything in a jiffy. And so it transpired. The men were able to even tell MMM as to where to buy the wire. It amazed MMM that they knew everything and yet would do nothing by themselves. The wire duly arrived and the surgery was performed on the transformer which sprang to life. The doctors departed having assured MMM of all service and help as and when the patient had a relapse, which going by past record is a matter of time.

MMM remembers a time when the Department of Telephones had similar problems. Faulty instruments would remain dead for years on end and all the while you would receive enormous bills. Then one day competition came along and the department transformed itself and how! MMM lives on in hope that a similar miracle will happen one day with the EB.

The Gods – they need cooling

There was a time when the Man from Madras Musings thought that the worst that could happen to our temples was the fixing of white glazed tiles to sanctum sanctorums, thereby giving them a government hospital ward-like appearance. But apparently he aint seen nothin’. The latest craze is for air-conditioning all the important temples in the State. The Gods, it appears, are greatly affected by global warming and need cooling, failing which they may express their rage with thunderbolts.

As a consequence, temple after temple is seeing the breaking open of (not vault B’s) centuries-old walls and ducting being pushed through. And given that most of our temples are built on an open layout plan, there is no effective insulation to prevent the cold air from escaping. As a consequence the air-conditioners work non-stop. Considering that we are a power-starved State, MMM wonders if this luxury is rather unwarranted. But before his reading public jumps on him for targeting temples, let MMM assure them all that he is equally against glass-fronted offices that require air-conditioning too.

But to get back to the Gods. The ostensible reason given out is that the throng of devotees is ever increasing and the situation warrants air-conditioning especially as our sanctums are all narrow spaces. MMM wonders about that. Temples are supposed to be places of prayer and not spots of pleasure where every comfort is to be expected. And given that air-conditioning such dark and ill-ventilated spaces only allows germs to proliferate it is anybody’s guess if the idea is hygienic in the first place. The ducts also drip water on to the walls leading to the growth of moss which will one day weaken the stonework.

On the same issue MMM would like to point out that several shrines in cold countries become freezing cold in winter and yet you don’t find huge heating ducts let into historic walls and structures. How do the faithful manage in those locations?

The China Dolls

The festival of nine nights is here and houses are getting ready for putting out the traditional display of dolls. Shopping for dolls is also part of the tradition and what better place to make your choice than the old quarters of the city, namely Mylapore and Triplicane? The Man from Madras Musings went along too and was quite surprised to find dolls of a new variety. They were all of our Gods but the finish was quite different. The eyes had a hint of blue and the look and feel was well, somewhat alien. It was then the MMM asked as to where they were from and imagine his surprise when the vendor said they were all from China! And sure enough there were stickers below every doll that attested to this. MMM could say nothing in response. All that he could think of was that Navaratri had been shanghaied! And trust the Chinese to find a business opportunity. MMM will not be surprised if in a few years the Chinese come down to our Mada Streets to sell their wares. Quite a takeover la?