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The Night The Lights Went Out

The air hung heavy with the silence of a world unplugged. No rhythmic hum of refrigerators, no soft glow of televisions, only the melancholic chirp of crickets serenaded the starlit night. The news, delivered with a grim efficiency days before, played on repeat in our minds: elnino rains, an overloaded grid, and then…darkness.

We huddled by the flickering candlelight, its meager flame casting long, dancing shadows on the wall. It was a scene ripped from a forgotten storybook, a stark contrast to the world of perpetual illumination we’d become accustomed to. Yet, amidst the unfamiliar stillness, a strange sense of serenity bloomed.

Conversations, usually punctuated by the staccato rhythm of texting thumbs, flowed with a forgotten ease. Laughter, no longer competing with the blaring of reality shows, echoed genuine and unrestrained. Time, that elusive concept perpetually chased and squandered, stretched languidly before us, inviting us to savor the present.

The days were filled with sunlight and simple chores. The forgotten art of reading by the windowsill made a reappearance. Board games, gathering dust in forgotten corners, emerged as battlegrounds for laughter and friendly competition. The rhythmic creak of the well’s pulley, a melody lost to the electric hum of water pumps, became the soundtrack to our mornings.

But beneath the veneer of a simpler life, lurked the gnawing anxiety of uncertainty. The well, while generous, yielded a finite bounty. Food spoilage became a constant worry, a race against the relentless heat. The whispers of the elders, tinged with the memory of past droughts, painted a picture of a future we desperately hoped to avoid.

One morning, an old man, weathered by time and hardship, shuffled past our doorstep. His voice, parched and cracked, croaked a plea for a single cup of water. A simple request, yet it struck a chord deep within us. In his eyes, we saw reflected the vulnerability of a world stripped bare, a world where a basic necessity became a bargaining chip for dignity.

The encounter served as a stark reminder of the interconnectedness we’d taken for granted. In the pre-blackout world, a simple vote was all it took to secure a steady stream of water. Now, a cup of water held the power to restore not just life, but also a sense of self-worth.

As days bled into weeks, the initial novelty of our unplugged existence waned. The silence, once peaceful, morphed into an unsettling quietude. The charm of candlelight dimmed in the face of the approaching monsoon, the threat of a downpour a double-edged sword.

Yet, amidst the hardships, a newfound appreciation bloomed. The forgotten art of self-sufficiency, the resilience of the human spirit, and the enduring power of human connection – these were the unexpected gifts of the blackout. We learned to navigate by the stars, to find solace in the quiet murmur of nature, and to cherish the simple act of sharing a meal by flickering candlelight.

The day the power finally flickered back to life was greeted with a mix of relief and apprehension. The familiar hum of appliances returning to life felt strangely foreign. A part of us, forever marked by the blackout, yearned for the echo of crickets and the gentle sway of candlelight.

The blackout, a stark reminder of our vulnerabilities, had also served as a crucible, forging a newfound respect for the world around us. We emerged, blinking in the harsh electric glare, a little less entitled, a lot more grateful, forever bound by the memory of a world unplugged…

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Written by DMT (2)

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