“Load Shedding”


A rumble and the tv switched off. So did the lights and the fan. Manohar cried in dismay. Ash was just about to win the gym championship match. But load shedding had other plans for him.


“Damn! Whaaat happened again?” exclaimed Umesh Chacha, reputation of his voice preceding the words. Anything wrong in the house-anytime, anywhere-his voice was the signal.


“Let me check”, prompt came the reply by Dipak , the handyman of the house. Want to fix something? Is there something to be set up/installed/modified? Dipak was your answer.


Everyone scrambled to take out the supplies of candles and torches,something they had to use quite regularly for the past few days.


“Load shedding it is again, will have to wait for the transformer to restart…” was the diagnosis given by Dipak, something that the entire house had already figured out by now

“I’m just tired!The power supply company continues to break its record of touching new lows in customer service!”



As the sadness of not being able to see Ash win started to wear off, a new burst of excitement arose in him.Yay! Dumb charades time! Off to Dadi’s room!

All the children of the house-Dipak , Dolly ,Manohar, Chunni,Gayatri, and Asha- stopped whatever they were doing and darted straight for Dadiji’s room. There was an unsaid ritual-whoever reached her room first would light the diya in her temple. And this was something every grandchild wanted to do.


Light the diya first…ahhhh-good, good!” Was Dadi’s response seeing the diya lit. Her face would become nascent with the feeling of accomplishment a little girl would exhibit after decorating her dollhouse. That was what it really was. A cute but sprawling Pandora of miniature idols of Gods and Goddesses, neatly arranged and served with bright flowers and bite sized sweet meats. Delighted,she would bombard this grand darling of hers with a barrage of kisses and pecks.



Dadi was the heart of the house-the foundational purpose that made it a home. A short built, she had the appearance that made you want to hug her every time you saw her. Her hair was a glistening shade of silver,that looked like the most royal of things ever created.Her skin was a deep tint of peach,that the vagaries of age had started playing the truant with.But could not do anything to her strong spirit, young at heart gumption, energizing smile,and,her ebullient laughter-capable of rousing even the most dejected of spirits. In fact, so contagious was her laughter, that everyone would laugh for hours in her company, unless she herself forgot why she was laughing in the first place!


Manohar was lucky. He reached first. With great gusto, he lit the diya and whole heartedly received the pecks of love she gave him.


“Go on, sit there, let the others come” ,said she,combing his frazzled hair with her soft hands. Manohar went and sat on the mat next to her legs.


Soon, all the children had arrived. Dadi never left anyone unhappy. Everyone got their kisses and pats regardless of who lit the diya that day. That was the thing about her. She made everyone feel like a deary.


“Go! Rush along Asha! Call Dadaji!” she prompted her. Asha followed suit, running along, a little girl with a plan,bouncing swiftly from one tiny tiptoe to another.


Dadaji! Let’s go! Dumb chchchch…..aaaraaadey time!” came the tough words, wrestling their way through her innocent grin. He repeated her words with a tender cackle and bellow.Slowly, he picked her in his arms, and headed straight for Dadi’s room.


If Dadiji was the soul, Dadaji was-literally-the home. He wasn’t an in-your-face tall, but his presence had the capability to make people feel dwarfed in his presence. A handsome man, he had streaks of grey hair lining his hairline, in a manner that was one of his trademarks all grandchildren tried to copy in futility.Having being an active athlete in his youth,he had an extremely fit body which could put people half his age to shame. So an intimidating presence-both physical and in terms of presence.

First impression is the last impression,the old adage goes. Failed it did when it came to Dadaji.


This singularity was what made him the glue that held the family community together. Never did he make anyone feel uncomfortable in his presence. A thorough gentleman embellished with humility,he was the most friendly and relatable person to talk to. With terrifying ease, he could engage anyone from a toddler to a grown up with his personality. No wonder throngs of relatives,friends-very often even strangers- formed the voices emanating from his study.


As Dadaji joined Dadiji in the chair next to hers-ruler of hearts,adorably gazing at their devoted and loving subjects- the children started discussing the teams. The team usually stayed the same. Dipak would lead one team, and Dolly  the other. Today, Manohar and Gayatri were in Dolly’s team, while Chunni and Asha were on Dipak Bhaiya’s side. Like always-Asha and Gayatri had the special privilege called “Dudh Malai”-which effectively meant that they could have a gala time enjoying the game without having to worry about winning or losing-a goal more suited for the grown up grandchildren like Dipak,Dolly, Manohar and Chunni.

The game went on for hours! Well, blame the load shedding for that. Days of darkness like these were luminous demonstrations of the genuine,unshakeable, deep seated harmony and love that ties and runs through the fabric called family.


It was on days like these when Manohar could see a special glow on Dada Dadi’s face-the kind that is divine,flirting on the precipice of the physical and the metaphysical. The lights may have gone out, but that radiance had the force of countless stars, capable of overshadowing the brightest of darkness there was




Manohar was busy studying for the test on the coming day. Mid sems,they just keep coming up again and again like boxing dummies, mentally taunting the student with their frequency. Dare to give in to the taunt and knock out!-mid sems-1;student-0.
An eerie silence flowed in through the windows into the dining room where Manohar sat,studying. The city was fast asleep, save for the ones who were nocturnally necessitated to stay awake and carry on, like Manohar himself. A drunk man could be heard in the background,reciting his corny soliloquy, dogs could be heard barking in the distance. Other than that-the night was a regular, mundane one.


All of a sudden there was a huge explosion. Startled, and for good reason, Manohar jumped from his chair. What had just happened?

Gradually, everyone in the apartment complex started getting up. Torches and leds clicked and buzzed to light. By the time Manohar and his father came to the building campus, the sleepy electrician was already on his diagnostic task. A huge din spread through the air. Children were running around, chasing and catching each other in night shorts, oblivious to the reason they were there in the first place.


“The transformer coil has rusted and burnt out. Will need replacement. Will call the BEST technician right away. ”

“How long before the lights come back?”

“It will take some time. The entire coil has burnt. Don’t expect anything before 10 in the morning, that too if their responce is immediate. ”

A huge wave of sighs and tongue clicks swoll and ebbed,fanning the disgruntled crowd.

“It is so hot!”

“Had to happen in the mid of may!”

“How willl I pack lunch?”

“My phone is discharged!How do I do anything?”

And the complaints of the residents went on and on.


Manohar and his father made the climb to their 5th floor flat. Sleepy, and slightly irritated,they went home and lit whatever candles they could get their hands on. Manohar still had some amount of studies to complete.


“That’s why I say-never leave anything for the last moment! But you and your pyjama generation!”

Manohar went back to the dining table to study under the chamomile scented candle lit for illumination.

Half an hour later, with a sigh of relief, he was done. Probably papa was right, I should have revised once before-ruminated his sleepy conscience.

As he began getting packing his stationery, he caught a cursory glimpse of the garlanded photographs of Dada Dadi hanging from the wall. Pay his respects he did everyday, but there was something quaint about their photographs at that moment. It seemed as though they were smiling at each other, and with a mysterious tacitness too. Perhaps life had visited their garlanded visages like the northern lights of Iceland.


Spooked as he might be, Manohar was immediately transported to dadiji’s room, lighting the candle in her doll-house like temple. He could hear his heart palpitate with the joy of getting ready for dumb charades, the memory which, like a suppressed bubble, was slowly drifting to the top of his conscious. A wave of goosebumps gripped him as the familiar,excited cries of Asha and Gayatri poured out into his ears. A chuckle managed to force its way on his lips as he recalled the competitive spirit the game would boil down to-each and every time.



Time and tide wait for none.He continued to gaze at his grandparents’ photograph, gleaming with the same divinity,flirting on the border of the physical and the metaphysical. Blessed and grateful he felt at that moment. The burnt coil of the transformer had reignited a cascade of fireworks in the horizon of his soul-of a short but cherished childhood-packed with affection,simplicity,innocence, purity, and all those good things that come in small packages.




“Enlist and explain methods to prevent a transformer coil from burning.” With a muffled smile,he proceeded to answer the question-his pen and mind inking answers on different paradigms.



Divyansh Atman

14th April,2017


3 thoughts on ““Load Shedding””

  1. Liked your story telling. Darkness does something which even brightness doesn’t do. The point well- driven home. We all can easily relate to Manohar, rather in the Indian family milieu presence of Manohar in most of us can easily be discerned. Manohar though belongs to Pyajama generation, seems well rooted to his family values and emotions.. he wants to treasure what he saw in his early childhood, he wants to relive whenever he gets any opportunity. He always does so, he will continue to do so…thats how he pays tribute to the grandparents and fabric of relations woven by them around him.
    …. a poignant story.


  2. Oh my god!! Super duper awesome πŸ‘πŸ» πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»
    Not once did I feel that the author is not a professional…you have all the ingredients of becoming a great writer and I am now waiting for the day when I read your book…this story is not only emotional but also has the power to transport the reader to his or her own childhood…I think anyone reading this would be mesmerized by your story telling and get completely lost in the by-lanes of nostalgia…it is very balanced in terms of being poetic as well as a prose. I thoroughly and genuinely enjoyed reading it. It was so relatable, with such a familiar earthy fragrance, such an easy read…I can’t help but commend you on the brilliant execution of a story with different planes in different time zones which culminated so beautifully in the end. And I must definitely commend on the wonderful and outstanding climax…what a marvelous way to end it…what an expression….”pen and mind inking….”. I loved it from start to end. It could very well have been a short story from any renowned author in our school prose book…
    Bravo πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»


  3. Wow!! Such a beautiful and emotional story.. as Mridul bhaiya said, superb storytelling.. difficult to believe it is not a renowned author.. although at this rate, ou comments above will be void in few years.. as im sure you are going to become a great writer soon..

    Also, i have always loved short stories.. and the ones with a soul appeal to me the most.. this story not only has a soul which is emotional, relatable but also personal at so many levels..

    Emotional: ‘Family’ is such a huge part of our growing up years and our memories.. it is the fundamental nucleus of our existence.. and you have emphasied on that so nicely..

    Relatable: Also, at so many points, i could feel i was playing dumbcharade or i was lighting the candle or i was studying.. i was able to picture each and every scene in my head.. it felt like i was in the story.. and that i feel is the single biggest quality of any storytelling..

    Personal: Last but not the least, in your little ways, through poems and stories you are keeping our grandparents alive in such a memorable way.. cant thank you enough for that..

    Therefore, it is obvious how much i loved it.. and how beautiful the writing was..
    I am so proud of you.. and im so moved everytime.. Keep going! Keep writing πŸ™‚


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