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Soul Giggles

by Vidya Sury June 13, 2012 38 comments
Even though we live in a city, random power cuts and water shortage is a regular part of life. Of late, we’ve been experiencing unannounced power cuts that last several hours. This, besides improving our vocabulary, freaks us out a bit because, after all we rely on electricity for a lot of things. We need it to:

Run our appliances
Recharge our mobile phones, batteries
Run our geyser
Run our microwave
Run our mixer grinder
Charge my camera
Watch TV / DVD player
Run our fans
Run our refrigerator

And, above all, run the almighty computer and its UPS battery.  We depend on the internet – at least I do – for my work and other little happy social media activities.

Of course we find candlelight romantic. But besides love and fresh air, we also need to eat to survive. And I do enjoy my flavoured cheese.

Consequently, there’s a bit of a maniacal rush in trying to make the best use of the  hours when we do have power.  Otherwise, my already slightly ADHD-esque state is getting worse with all the things going around in my head via my to-do list. I like to keep my commitments to my clients. And I enjoy their trust. But it can be pretty frustrating when the UPS does not get enough time to charge, which means I alternate between my laptop and desktop computer, leveraging the batteries.

As it is, in summer, we try our bit to go green by adjusting our bath time to a part of the day when the tap water is naturally hot. We try and eat stuff that doesn’t need cooking like salads. I make stuff that does not need the mixer grinder. And when I cook, I store the stuff in a hot pack to keep it warm to avoid reheating.

And of course, I avoid using the lift for fear of getting stuck in it in the event of a power cut en route…and so on. My son finishes school work when there’s daylight to   avoid candlelight/emergency lamp slogging.

Not that we see a reduction in our electricity bill. I wonder how that is. But someone once told me that the electricians sit in a cafe and fill in the bill details based on our past history of usage. Hmm.  One thing I do appreciate is – whenever there is an unscheduled power cut and I call the electricity department, there’s always someone there to answer me very courteously, even friendly, and tells me what is happening. Does that make it better? It does, for me.

Well – what can I say?
I get to catch up on my reading – which is nice
I get to clear up all those off-line chores that keep getting put off – which is great
I spend even more quality time with my folks – which is wonderful

Attitude matters so much, as does perspective.

Am I bothered by the lack of things? Not at all. And never will be. I have a choice. To be happy.

Image credited

I find it amusing to think that, as a child of the sixties, I grew up with:

  • no fans – came much later –we had one table fan for the entire household
  • no refrigerator – bought our first frig in 1983. Cold water was such a novelty!
  • no TV – got our first TV in 1982 to watch the Asiad Games. Black and white model with that rolling shutter. Only one channel that aired a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening. We waited so eagerly. We even had a neighbour who specially dressed to watch tv in our house, because she believed the folks on tv could see her.
  • no telephone got my first connection in – hold your breath – 1995. What did we do before that? We used public phones to make local calls. We were connect at our place of work since we could be reached at those numbers. When we had personal long distance calls to make, we waited until 10 pm to go and wait at the public booth, since there was half-rate after that and if we made our calls after 11, it was quarter-charge. Inconvenient, but well – it was amazing to lift a receiver, dial and hear the voice we wanted in our ear. This was when direct dialling was possible. But before this, we had to book “trunk calls”by calling the telephone department, receive a reference number and wait for hours to be connected.

The only real gadgets we had at home was the pressure cooker and our gas stove. Everything else was a “from scratch” situation. If we wanted to grind something into paste for cooking, we used the mortar/pestle. It was a luxury to have one of these embedded at the end of our kitchen counter.

Normal part of life. And grinding the lentils to make the batter for idli and dosa? We used this instead of a mixer grinder. To make enough for a family of  9 and regular visitors, it would take a couple of hours with a zealous person rotating the stone. We all took turns to do it. What fun it was!  We were perfectly happy.

I got my first vehicle, a moped in 1987. Today I ride a scooter. I still don’t have a car, because we don’t need one for our lifestyle.  Also, we live within walking distance of everything we need. There’s public transport for longer distances.

There was no computer and therefore no email until I bought my own computer in 2001. We used it sparingly because dial-up internet was exorbitant. It is great to have email / social media and all the other stuff that makes the world such a small place where everything seems so easy to access.

But in spite of technology, we still enjoy writing letters and sending greeting cards. I’d rather pick up the phone and talk than email or IM.  There’s nothing like meeting friends face to face, giving a real hug, and seeing someone’s face light up with a smile. And that is why I value relationships and strongly believe that people will always rule over technology, no matter what.

I love that the internet lets us make so many connections and meet people we could never dream of meeting otherwise; yet, I don’t think I’ll miss Facebook or Twitter if they closed down tomorrow.  I still don’t use my smartphone to check email or do any of those clever things it is capable of.

Maybe it is because I grew up without a lot of things we take for granted now. Maybe it is because my Grandmother was thrifty and believed in the waste-not want-not policy. Maybe it is because we believed we should only accumulate what we “need” and not what we “would like” or “covet”. Or maybe because my Mom taught me, by example, that people are our priority.

Or maybe I am just old-fashioned.

I am working on simplifying my life.

Because finally, when we go, we take nothing with us except feelings.

I am focusing on creating those feelings – joy, happiness, love, positivity and compassion.

I am counting my treasures and blessings in the form of friends, relationships and family.


Your turn now:

What gadget would you miss the most and why?
What is the one techie thing you would be ready to give up?
The title for this post was inspired by a phrase in Linda Joy’s post at SoulSpeak today.  

I enjoyed reading these posts by my friends this week:
Overcoming Anxiety with the 7-11 Breathing technique
6 key questions you can use to open the door to your Self Discovery

Thank you for subscribing to my blog! Do consider leaving a comment – or just reply to this email! I’d love to know what you think.



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Cathy | Treatment Talk June 13, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Great reminder VIdya to simplify our lives and to not become too attached to the things that we do have. There are more important things in the world. Take care.

Vidya Sury June 15, 2012 at 2:40 am

Thank you, dearest Cathy! Being aware is half the joy! Hugs!

Melody | Deliberate Receiving June 13, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Wow Vidya. Thanks for the powerful reminder that we really don’t need so many of the “necessities” we’ve come to rely on in modern life. Living in Spain, I actually live rather gadget free. The fact that I have a clothes dryer is actually considered a luxury here (most people don’t have one) and one I appreciate every time I do laundry. Refrigerators are much smaller, as are apartments (compared to the US). I don’t have a car (I live in the city), never use my TV, don’t have air conditioning (fans and open windows are fine) and I don’t use my smart phone for anything but calling and texting. 🙂

I do have a juicer, which I love dearly.

What would I miss the most? My computer. Hands down. I use it all day, every day. It’s my business, my connection to all my friends that don’t live in Spain, and my entertainment. Oh, and I have a UPS, too (power in Spain has a tendency to just cut out, too…)

I’ve lived in several different countries and this one is the most “simple” in terms of life style. I adore it. I have what I need, but not more. For me, it’s a choice, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Huge hugs!

Vidya Sury June 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm

That’s amazing, Melody! I love what you shared about your life. I am trying my best to simplify. Somehow, everything reaches a peak before waning or settling into a steady scene. When we went off on a trip recently, I didn’t miss technology at all. Which was gratifying And yes, I think I’d like to keep my computer and Mixer-grinder too! :D. As for the breaks, our power situation takes care of that as well!

Always a pleasure to have you here, Melody! Love you!

Terri Sonoda June 14, 2012 at 3:27 am

Awesome post Vidya. And very interesting. I enjoy learning how you do things (did things) which is sometimes quite different than we do on this side of the planet. However, I love that you make people the focus of life instead of things. More of us need to take that example. What would I miss most? I suppose I would really hate having to do without my computer, but air-conditioning would be way up there in my druthers as well. Especially since it is going to be around 110 degrees later this week in Vegas. OY
Downside to air-conditioning is the huge power bill. Another OY.
Anywho, so glad I’ve been able to get to know you, my friend.

Vidya Sury June 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Hugs back, Terri. What is funny is I can still use those ancient things! 😀 I am keeping my computer too! I wouldn’t love life as much without you in it. Nice to take stock once in a while, though, what we could do without! Love you!

Betsy at Zen Mama June 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Wow! I love reading about your life as a child. So different from me growing up. My father loved gadgets so we had all the latest things like a touch tone phone or a vcr growing up. I do think life was simplier before all the technology we have today. But I, too, would miss the relationships I’ve forged. I, too, am trying to focus on joy, happiness, love, positivity and compassion. Thanks for a thought provoking post and wonderful read.

PS I love the Happiness in Your Life poster, too. I’ve posted it several times on facebook and always get a wonderful response.

Vidya Sury June 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Thank you, dear Betsy! We enjoyed life without technology, just as we enjoy it with it! I remember the days when we got our first radio! We would all gather around it when a program was aired. Good to remember them you know. It reassures us we can survive without most of what we have today, and quite happily 😀 After all, those were days of human face to face interaction. Hugs to you, Betsy. It is people who will always matter most.

Vishnu June 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm

hi Vidya, growing up in the 80’s and in the US, I grew up with all the modern appliances of today. The 90’s brought internet and cell phones. I’m so reliant on all these items unfortunately. Except for the 3 month break I’m on in Costa Rica where there’s no cell phone or cars really on the farm. But do have wi fi internet. lol I think we can be more connected and technologically savvy as ever but I think we have a more difficult responsibility now – being smart about what we do with technology and to what extent we chose to implement it into our lives. I’m trying to find the balance between having the luxury and convenience of technology but not being overly reliant on it.

One place where I do appreciate technology is at the dentists or doctors offices:) The more technological advances, the less pain, I’ve come to notice (at least at the dentists office!!)

Vidya Sury June 15, 2012 at 2:39 am

Vishnu, you hit the point exactly – being smart about what we do with technology. And I am totally with you about technology in health care. I have a dentist’s appointment coming up on 20th and am already having nightmares about the sound of that drill. Grr. But with technology at the dentist’s it is still the doctor’s dexterity. So there! 😀

On the flip side, entire villages in India have no idea of electricity, which is a very sobering thought.

Thank you for commenting. I am enjoying our interaction!

thoughtstomull.com June 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Wonderful post! Takes me back in time to things like black and white television mounted in a big, wooden box, with only 3 channels, and the requisite rabbit ear antennae; snail mail; party telephone lines; running and playing on bicycles and building forts in the woods, rather than playing games on the internet; no caller ID, so answering the telephone was always a source of surprise! So many things that personalized life. I could do without Facebook, and not miss it a whit. However, I do feel safer when I go out and about with my cell phone, just in case of emergency!

Vidya Sury June 15, 2012 at 2:36 am

Janet, I would keep my computer (work) and mobile phone too – sheer convenience. But it is good to reminisce about how things were back in the days – and to enjoy what technology has to offer. Since we acquired most of our gadgets only in the recent past, it seems easy to think we can do without them, if we have to. Anything that makes life easier is welcome, isn’t it? 😀 Hugs and thank you for coming by. Am always happy to see you!

Vetrimagal June 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Yes, we do not need many appliances, and we can get on with life. But we need that atmosphere back, when we could grind slowly on a grinding stone, talking with our cousins, enjoying the cool breeze of our ancestral homes.Sweep the mud floors, eat on a plantain leaf, and milk the cow ,and pluck the flowers, bring water from our well.Use only shikakai for our soaps, and Bullock cart for our conveyance. Lovely life. Want to get back to oil lamps, and battery operated radios. No commercials, no need for too much of electricity. But a big house and a garden.
Not these poky little flats with no air, no water supply, and mosquito ridden , dust laden atmosphere, and the oppressive heat?

Will we go back to that life now? Confined to homes, and relatives, girls not venturing out, but experts in housework, and laid back , nature friendly life. Amish lifestyle, sounds too good . Wish it can happen.

Vidya Sury June 15, 2012 at 2:33 am

Pattu – except for the shikakai hair wash (I rebelled to use Sunsilk in 1980)everything else holds good. As I was telling Paige, internet came only when I was 37 – and basic mobile phone three years later. Technology is great. And we enjoy an occasional holiday by totally unplugging from digital.

Nothing can equal the memories of our “Amish lifestyle” can it? Joint families, mealtime together, everyone poking their nose into everyone’s affairs… 🙂 oh, I loved mine!

Vetrimagal June 15, 2012 at 9:56 am

Yes, sometimes, we wish it will go back, we Cant now.
So we have to fight it out with the electricity department for not giving us power properly. 🙂

Blond Duck June 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm

You’re so much calmer than I would be. If my fridge goes out I freak.

Vidya Sury June 15, 2012 at 2:30 am

😀 Don’t even mention my fridge going – Just days shy of the warranty expiring the compressor conked – and I almost died, thinking of all the food in it. My kind neighbor insisted I should stuff her fridge until the emergency guy came and replaced the compressor. Phew! One close call that was! 🙂 Hugs to you!

Paige | simple mindfulness June 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm

This is a beautiful reminder of all the things we really don’t need. If it weren’t for the rest of my family, we wouldn’t have a TV. I managed to get them to be OK with no cable/satellite service (we live in the remote mountains with no “regular” TV access and no cell service). So the TV is hooked up to a laptop for Netflix.I got rid of my smart phone a while ago as I realized that I didn’t really NEED all of its features. Working from home and only venturing into town one day every week or two, I’m about to give up my cell phone. The one thing I would have a very hard time giving up, like you Vidya, is my computer and internet connection. It’s how I do my job and stay connected – especially living in the mountains where the nearest town is 45 minutes away.I love it when the electricity goes out for extended periods of time, which doesn’t happen often (usually just when a car runs into one of the electric poles and it takes them most of the day to fix it). It reminds me how incredibly reliant we are on electricity and how nice it is to live more simply.I love reading about life when you were growing up! Big HUGS!!

Vidya Sury June 15, 2012 at 2:28 am

Paige dearest, I love what you are doing! It always makes me feel good to know I can do without certain things,likely because a lot of technology came in after I grew up – in fact, I met the internet in 2000, when I was 37 years old! Which probably explains my attitude 🙂 Gosh, put in words, that suddenly looks weird!

I am keeping my 2 yr old smartphone only because the resale value is far less than an ornery phone. And yes, it takes good pictures.

We love power cuts when we don’t have emergency work to handle – we simply take off for a walk and enjoy nature.

And yes, I am all for the computer with internet – because I met you, my soul sis! Hugs and love and thank you for your precious comment!

Angela Artemis|PoweredbyIntuition June 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Great post. I really enjoyed reading this.

The thing I would miss the most is my computer and internet connection as well. I’ve gotten quite used to it.

Oh, and it’s nice to have air conditioning. I had to give that up when I sold my house and moved. I do miss it especially when I have to dry my hair in 90 degree heat and humidity. I grew up without air conditioning so it’s not as if I had all my life.

I never had a smart phone and I don’t feel the need for one. I have a nice little flip phone and it’s all I need. I don’t want to have to check email all the time where ever I go.

Thanks for reminding us of how far we’ve come but, also how much of what we have is a choice not a necessity.

Vidya Sury June 15, 2012 at 2:20 am

Hi Angela, Yes, that’s the nice part – having the choice to give up certain things. Humid heat – yuk – I’ve lived in Chennai for six years and just hated it. Was always scared of wearing dark clothes because there would be streaks of salt marks when we were done sweating and it dried up. Yes, drying hair in that was my pet peeve too!

My favorite things to keep are my computer too. And mobile phone – when I am away from family, mostly. Conveniences are always nice, aren’t they?

Thank you for commenting! Love you!

Bill Dorman June 15, 2012 at 12:54 am

The gadget I would miss the most is the toilet………just sayin’……I don’t want to go out in the woods……….:).

It’s probably good at times to have an imposed down time from social, huh?

Vidya Sury June 15, 2012 at 2:17 am

Bill, that’s exactly what Sury said, so I had to burst out laughing at your comment!

Out in the woods/fields/quiet lane in still reality here, you know? Even in the urban areas – in specific parts. You can see people heading off with that little container of water looking for a reasonably private place. Sad, but true.

Oh it is definitely good to have progressed; more important – to know we have a choice 😉 especially when yer an ole fossil like me!

Thank you – I always love it when you’re here!

myinnerchick.com June 14, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Hello, My little Zen Queen,

how did you become so doggone amaaazing & inspiring & kind?

Um, I’d miss so many things…the first thing that comes to mind is
my new Kerug Machine to make my morning coffee.

Hugs. Kisses. & so much affection. xx

Vidya Sury June 15, 2012 at 2:22 am

Dearest Kim, Ah yes, I remember your coffee machine and understand – I could never give up my coffee either – except I use an ancient steel filter. Sury keeps threatening to buy one of those cool coffee makers and I have the last laugh asking what if there’s no electricity? 😀

Hugss…I always look forward to your uplifting comments!

Lazy Pineapple June 15, 2012 at 5:34 am

Your post reminds me of a blog called zen habits. I frankly cannot part with my laptop..I would miss reading such wonderful posts. Landed here from Indiblogeshwaris…

Vidya Sury June 23, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Welcome and Thank you, V! 😀 Yes, I’d hate to miss the wonderful connections too!

Emily June 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm

You have a beautiful attitude, but don’t get TOO unplugged. We’ll miss you!

Vidya Sury June 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Can’t get too unplugged, Emily. I’d miss you so much! Your posts brighten my life tremendously! 😀

Ruchira June 16, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I think we all need to work on simplifying our lives.Happiness lies in simplicity I think .. the more complex we make our lives the more difficult it is to find happiness. I really enjoyed reading this post. I can definitely give up on TV ans my smart phone !

Vidya Sury June 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Hi Ruchira! So nice to see you here. I remember your lovely blog from one of Gingerchai’s contests 😀 Simplifying life is the key to happiness. Thansk for visiting!

zephyr June 16, 2012 at 9:19 pm

We did indeed have much more than we actually had. Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? well, it is actually not because less was more and it stretched and stretched to include so many people. Good old days, weren’t they? I would be happy to be just left with my laptop and internet connection. I need to write and keep in touch. Mails would do fine for me. Social media is not an essential, like for you.

Vidya Sury June 23, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Yes, Zephyr – we were so much more with so much less! Technology is great – for me it is the ability to communicate too! But I’d also write snail mail quite enthusiastically 😀 I enjoy social media – but if it disappeared, I wouldn’t worry! I use it only to share other people’s stuff 😀 When are you coming back?

Rahul Bhatia June 19, 2012 at 9:40 am

A very nice post Vidya! Somethings never change however much we claim to develop and power cuts is one of them:)

Vidya Sury June 23, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Yes…I love how the government keeps us grounded, Rahul! 😀 Thanks for visiting. Loved your latest post about whales.

Nikky44 June 23, 2012 at 8:30 am

In my country, in this century, in 2012, we only have electricity maximum 4 hours out of 24 🙁

Vidya Sury June 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Oh, Nikky! I understand! Some of our villages have no idea what electricity is! I think mobile phones are more popular than power! Hugs. I can imagine how tough it must be to manage especially if you don’t have back up.

vanita July 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm

that explains my electricity bill! all winter i was upset about our bill being so high when i know we’re not running air conditioning, just to find out that the electric company has been estimating my bill based on the summer activities. they had to credit me back lots of dough, but it was struggling to keep up with the bill every month for 8 months when there was no need for it to be so high. drives me crazy. i want to leave home for the whole summer just so they can base the following 6 months on a bill with no usage!


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