The disconnect

In 1999, after coastal regions of Odisha were ravaged by a super cyclone, we lost electricity for a full month on account of electricity poles and cables having been blown away.

The complete lack of electricity made it one of the best months of my life. For the first time in months, our colony was behaving as a colony... a family even. People helped each other out with supplies and after supplies stopped being a major issue, they kept each other company the whole day. Because water lines were down, I made dozens of trips to the local well with my friends on bicycles and brought back more than 100 litres of water home every day. In the evenings, since no other way of entertainment was possible, we sat outside on the roadside (or on rooftops) and chatted away till late in the night. Aunties of the locality got together -- either outside or in one of our homes -- to chat and share their day's concerns. Schools were closed and there was no reason to bother with books, but we did spend a couple of hours every day reading (a welcome relief from the usual 24-hour study regime). It was all so very beautiful.

Then they fixed the poles and the cables and the light returned to our lives. The conversations ended and the chatting ceased. We were connected once more.