March 1, 2016 – It started as a very normal day in our household.. kids woke up, got ready and left for school. Who knew that the day would take such a turn a few minutes later.. At about 7:00 AM, the electricity went off! My first reaction was, may be some short circuit in our apartment. I called the concierge desk who informed me that it’s not only our apartment but the whole tower and that was not just it… It affected ALL the towers on The Pearl, Qatar (the residential island, we live in Doha..)
Although growing up in Karachi Pakistan, we are used to the concept of load shedding where the power supply would be switched off for a few hours, a few times a day… Despite of having experienced that, today I found myself much more handicapped.. they say
You don’t realize how dependent you are on something until you lose it!
and that’s what exactly happened to me.. With the modern apartment living comes a tremendous dependency on Electricity.. Today I realized that EVERYTHING in our apartment works on electricity! Electrical Stoves, Fridge, Freezer, TV, Microwave, Cold Water Dispenser, Dish Washer, Washing Machine, WIFI, Vacuum Cleaner, ACs, Hair dryer, Elevators and even the Electric kettle.. So I couldn’t even have a cup of tea this morning! (That sucked!!!). With nothing functional, I had nothing to do and therefore went back to bed sulking…
The only good thing that I was thankful for that I could sleep (READ survive) without AC. It would be unbearable if the weather wasn’t as nice and this had happened in the summer months! (Summer in Doha can be very brutal –the Mercury soars as high as 50 Degrees Celsius). So on that positive note, I finally woke up and went with my travel mug to a nearby local cafeteria which sells the BEST Karak chai! That helped to put things in perspective and stop my moaning and complaining phone calls to my husband (Mr. Incredible, why I call him that.. read here) of what will we do..blah blah blah blah! I had accepted the situation and now had to make the best of it!
So, I ordered in lunch for kids (no stove, no microwave remember??) and went to pick them up from school (Thank God for generators powering the lifts!). On my way back I tried to prepare them that we won’t have any electricity at home and all (But I am pretty sure, they didn’t quite understand it ).All they cared for was that they will get McDonald’s Happy Meal for lunch today!
Since we did not have any TV or WIFI, so it became an electronics free day too! (YAAAY!!… that’s my sentiments only.. not the kids..!). I had to keep them busy somehow, so we did a couple of “unplugged” stuff. Since the weather is really nice I made a hopscotch court with “electrical tape” in the balcony –
When life takes away Electricity… make a hopscotch with Electrical tape!
The kids hopped and played (reminded me of my own childhood and playing hopscotch) while I sat down with my left over tea (which was still hot, btw) and started a new book that a friend gave me to read ages ago! (She probably doesn’t even remember but this will definitely remind her! LOL). Also constantly checking for updates on when the electricity will be restored (Thank God for 4G) and losing hope every time..I got a number of messages and phone calls from friends and family offering to move in to their home. But it didn’t seem that bad.. we were okay and having fun!
After all the fun and games, I suggested that we read some books.. Now since their bedtime routine involves reading a book before bed, my youngest son Jack-Jack complained.. “But the Sky is up, Mama!!” (You’ll know what that means in a bit). After re-assuring him that we are not sleeping.. we had some Family Reading Fun! The kids read their books and I read mine.. sitting together.. (and I am definitely doing this regularly.. Electricity or No Electricity).
We ordered in some dinner (which took ages to be delivered as the nearby KFC outlet was facing an overwhelming load of orders). We had candle lit, junk food dinner! (LOL!)
My little one wanted to blow out the candles, because candles to him mean Birthdays! After managing to make him understand that we will be in pitch dark without them and finishing dinner.. it was finally their bed time.. Today for the first time, I felt thankful for our kids’ logic of waking up at Sunrise and sleeping at Sunset.. They always wake up at Dawn and sleep when its Dark..
Time to wakeup…when the sky is up.. and time to sleep is (Only) when the sky sleeps.
Worked perfectly today!
The Pearl residents’ community page was full of rage at the power outage! Apparently a construction area nearby had caused damage to the major power supply to the island and chances were that it would not be restored until morning… Some hotels offered 50% discount for the residents..(I was very tempted to have the staycation but finally decided otherwise 😉 ) and I think half of the residents did move in somewhere else for the night .. but frankly, for us it wasn’t that bad.. and that was JUST because the weather was nice..
Since the kids went to sleep, Mr. Incredible suggested we make tea on a gas stove we have (that I use outdoors for cooking a bigger quantity of Haleem). So we did.. and I noticed that we weren’t the only ones making the best of the situation.. a family was using their grill and doing a BBQ in their balcony- probably using up all the meat that they feared would thaw in the freezer. (By the way, I had to do groceries today which of course I didn’t and luckily have an empty fridge and freezer. Otherwise we would have to do a bbq too). Mr. Incredible made some awesome Karak Chai! We had Karak and played Taboo and Dumb Charades with my mum! (She is visiting us.. and I almost died laughing! LOL). Till late, mum and I sat and did some Cande-lit gossip until she finally called it a day!
As I wrote this post in candle light, it felt so nostalgic.. there have been days during my student life, back home, when I have studied for exams in a candle light… though ‘no electricity’ in Karachi was much more painful with humidity (in Summer) and mosquitoes (in Winter). Today in Doha, it felt like being in Karachi.. being back in time…!
March 2, 2016: The power got restored at 7:30 am this morning. I couldn’t sleep properly last night.. not because of the outage but I kept thinking about
- how people react (READ Over react!) in such situations and
- of course I was anxiously waiting for the electricity to be back ON and following Kahramma on twitter for updates!
The outrage by the residents of the island, also made me think of how intolerant and ungrateful we, humans have become… Some people were demanding compensation for the food that would go bad in their fridge and some demanding a free hotel stay.. I found that ABSURD! Which country in the world would do that!?? Pay for your five star hotel stay since there was an accidental power cut??? I mean, COME ON people!
I agree it was VERY inconvenient and hope that it would not (Read NEVER!) happen again…But we need to be thankful for:
- Being able to have that food in the fridge that we were worrying about going bad..unlike some people in this world, who worry about how to afford a single meal!
- Being able to having the means to afford this luxury living that we missed so badly!
- That this was not what we faced every day of our lives unlike countries suffering from Energy poverty like India, Pakistan where this is an everyday affair (especially in Summer when there is way too much electrical load) or some African countries where this is still no electricity at ALL!
- To the people who worked all night to repair and get the power restored after such a major breakdown.
FACT: Did you know 1.3 Billion people in this world are still living in the dark? That’s about a quarter of the World’s Population! (Read more here)
I think we all need to ‘unplug’ ourselves and try to ‘connect’ to the bigger picture! Days like these remind us of how blessed we are compared to so many others!! Be Grateful.
And one more thing- I opened the freezer after 24 hours to check how bad the situation of the frozen stuff is.. and GUESS WHAT?? My ice is still frozen! (See how much we over react!).
Happy Energy Powered Day – Pearl Residents!
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One thought on “The Pearl, Qatar – Unplugged!”
Well said Shehar bano!!
We really take things for granted instead we should be thankful to Allah for whatever He has given to us. I must say a beautiful read. Though it is quite unusual in gulf countries but it reminded me of one of the days when we were back in Dubai and experienced the same. I really admire your positive approach towards life and for sure it is inspiring many of us. Keep up the good work!!☺️☺️