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I answered the call from an unfamiliar phone number. The voice at the other end threatened to turn the lights off on me for 5 to 7 days. I thought it was a hoax. Then it sent me an email saying the same thing. I peered at the address looking for fraud. My husband wandered into the room just as I was reading my neighbor‘s very official and serious email announcing it was time to get our Earthquake Preparedness on. It was not a hoax!!

PG&E said the power would go off at 4 am Wednesday morning. At 3 am my alert brain woke me up. My surprised body asked my alert brain what was up? You won’t get your morning tea after 4 am said my brain to my body. I was now sitting at the kitchen table scarfing down a meal fit for Karva Chauth morning. At 4 am the lights were still on.

“2 pm” said the next email and voicemail from PG&E. Okaaaayyyy said my brain to my body. Eat your last hot meal of the coming week. Chicken curry, Rajma and Kadhi was washed down quick with two cups of tea. I felt like a camel storing heat. 2 pm came and went. The lights were still on.

It felt like Xmas. The somber mood of the last 24 hours became jubilant. It is only in the fear of losing something that you appreciate it more. I now started playing the PG&E game, withdrawing something from myself and missing it before it was gone.

As I wolfed down a meal before the new 8 pm deadline I whispered to my husband “You should love me lots. You never know when I might go out.” Snuffed out like a PG&E light. I think he hugged me a bit tighter just as PG&E made that final call at 11.30 pm. Okkkkkaaay lady time is up. Lights out. I considered running into the kitchen for a last cuppa, but too late. This time they got me.

In the morning the air felt crisper. How much heat do the wires generate? I felt the electricity missing from the air. The hum and heat of it was strangely silent. All the wires lay silent. I remembered being admonished by a fellow Facebookian to have some spunk. A wire without electricity is a clothesline she had said. I looked at all the black ropes of electricity-less cables running above my yard. Ahah ha!!

It was then that I remembered the ice-cream. Must eat that for breakfast otherwise it will melt. I jumped out of bed with a spring in my step.

Having no electricity was turning out to be one hell of a party. Spoilt for choice, I stared at the green, orange, red bars in the freezer.

Ritu Marwah is an award-winning author whose love for food sometimes overcomes her desire to do laundry

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