The weakest Link

May 10th, 2010 | By | Category: Articles

A generation or so ago, a majority of the people in our country lived a life far different from that of today. A life that you would call tough, astounding or impossible.

They walked miles to fetch water from the river, used hot coal to iron dresses, washed clothes at a stone specially designed for the purpose and hung them out in the sun to dry. They bent double to sweep and mop the house. They wrote letters to connect with others. They did arithmetic in their mind, or on paper. They used fire to cook. They went out shopping. They fanned themselves in Summer and burned fire-wood in Winter.

Seems like a difficult life, does it not? Especially since we use motors to pump water right to our houses, electric iron to un-wrinkle our dresses, washing machine to wash-and-dry clothes, vacuum cleaner to tidy the floors, the Internet to shop and sell, gadgets to connect to people, and electric cooking range to cook. We use air conditioners and room heaters to keep ourselves comfortable in the changing Seasons.

If you look closely, you’ll notice a single common factor that binds the above mentioned activities together. Yes – Electricity, one of the most important resources available to Mankind today, and on which we are almost blindly dependent.

Over the years, the progressive role played by Electricity is significant. It is as though the whole world that was scattered and independently attending to their affairs at sync with Nature, was pulled up by an invisible thread and made to walk towards a reliable source of Power.

The keyword here, no doubt, is ‘reliable.’

Imagine being without Electricity for 24 hours. You close your eyes for a second, and say, at your optimistic best, “Yes, I can do well without power for 24 hours.” The fact is that you cannot even imagine being blacked-out so for so long. Your cell phone battery runs out, your washing machine doesn’t work, your house looks messy as you cannot vacuum it, you cannot iron your shirt, your water supply stops, you cannot run the heater or the air conditioner. One could still survive intact, provided he has the assurance that the power supply will be restored at the end of the period. You probably have a power backup system that will keep you up and running during that time. Now assume that there is no such assurance – someone has drained out the Power for an indefinite period. And that your backup system has failed.

We made ourselves wholly dependent on Electricity to make our lives easier, and in that single step we made ourselves the most vulnerable species on Earth. In other words, if some years ago it would have taken more to break the spirit of a People, now it takes but a snap to shut us down.

Today, Electricity remains one of our greatest achievements and strengths. And also one of our weakest links.

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Jeena R. Papaadi is a Bangalore-based Writer, Blogger, Mother, and Author of a collection of short stories titled "Tales from the Garden City." If you like her writing, you can read more on her blog, or you can follow her on Twitter

Jeena R. Papaadi has written 3 articles on The MAG. View all articles by

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  1. Well written – and makes to think. Sure electricity is one of the greatest achivements – but sooner or later if we continue in this way destroying our earth we will have to live without it . No – not our generation, but maybe our children and their children. So we should be careful in using them also and not wasting it.

  2. Dear Jeena,

    An eye opener and a thought-provoking one.

    I used to ponder, we were not having any mobile phones till a decade back (just my case) and we did not feel any insecurity or lack of communication or whatsoever. Today, if we forget taking our mobile phones while going for an evening walk or to the cold store nearby, we feel completely insecure and wear a lost feeling!! As you rightly said, a charge-less mobile phone (charge = power or balance talktime) is totally useless.

    Once again, happy writing.

    Best Regards,

  3. Thank you for your comments, Tina and Renjith.

  4. This is not the fault of any one given product it is the unwillingness or inability for Sr. IT leaders to spot and cultivate social trends in technology so they put the infrastructure and planning in place to support end user productivity versus taking the outdated mentality that their users are dumb, stupid or simple.

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