Minipost 12 – When Darkness Falls

LAMB is blessed with a power generator. Actually, I think it’s three generators and they are big ones too. When you leave the gates of the complex you always know when they are being used because the noise and heat generated from their building beside the gate is immense.

The generators are essential to LAMB because Bangladesh does not have enough energy to supply needs and the Government has to ‘share’ it out using ‘load shedding’. Effectively, during times of high energy consumption, they turn the electricity off to various sectors of the country. During the hot season – from now until October – this means regular disruptions – day and night. You can imagine that for a hospital where serious operations are taking place 24/7, losing power is a disaster. So the generators are essential.

The use of generators is nothing unusual. Most shops and buildings in Dhaka and other major cities in Bangladesh have their own petrol-driven generator (they look and sound like petrol motor lawn mowers actually). I was in Newmarket, Dhaka once buying clothes when the power went. Instantly, every shop started its generator and I was surrounded by the awful din of 100 motors. So bad was it that I give up my shopping and left because the ringing in my ears was too much.

Thankfully, at LAMB, the houses where staff live are far away from the generator building and its noise but we do benefit from the power the hospital receives. Power still cuts off a dozen times a day but each time we get it back in seconds as the generator kicks in rather than one hour later when the national grid is turned on again.

So imagine my horror when the generators broke on Sunday. What’s more the whole electricity supply to the area went down after a storm so we were to expect no electricity of any sort all night. More than that, the pump for the water tank to the site could not operate so they divert all water away from our homes and to the hospital for the patients who really needed it.

For me, it was like living in blitz conditions we were told about in school in the UK when we were kids. The candles came out, we rationed water, and we got ourselves prepared for the worst.

By contrast, our friends who live outside LAMB were carrying on much as they do normally. For them, of course, it was no different – just ordinary life! We were getting a real taste of daily village life.

I actually quite enjoyed it.

In the dim glow of a candle, I got my sitar out and started playing. I’ve been taught it is good form not to look at the fretboard when performing so playing in the dark was quite easy. I enjoyed the moment of meditating to the beautiful sound of a raga while my house was dark and quiet.

It was the most peaceful moment I’d experienced in months.

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About D K Powell

British freelance journalist, author, writer, editor, musician, educational consultant. I lived with Wifey, Thing I (daughter) & Thing II (son) in Bangladesh for 5-6 years working for an NGO called LAMB. Wifey led the Hospital Rehab department and I used to teach O levels at the school before going full-time as a freelance writer in 2013. Now we're back in the UK learning how to be British again. When not writing or editing, I'm busy trying to complete a Masters degree in Intercultural relations in Asian Contexts and reading way too many books at once. I also drink tea - lots of it.
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7 Responses to Minipost 12 – When Darkness Falls

  1. Pingback: Death of a Sitar Legend: a Short Personal Tribute to Ravi Shankar | kenthinksaloud

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  4. clownonfire says:

    Ken,
    It’s been awhile. I just love this picture.
    Le Clown

    Like

    • Thank you very much Le Clown! I will do a bigger post on the special day this pic was taken in a few days time. Great to hear from you again 🙂

      Like

      • Nakib says:

        Let me guess what the special day on the photo was: Pohela Boishakh….
        There is a girl on the background wearing the traditional red-white saree made specifically for the Bengali new Year….

        Another great post 🙂

        Like

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