Be careful what you ask for. Sages have been stressing this a long time. Like most pieces of advice however, it is easier said than done, as the PDM just found out. The present regime under Shehbaz Sharif had made much of its administrative expertise, while in opposition. None of it came close to being realized after it came to power – hence the unprecedented hike in fuel prices and the return of loadshedding with a vengeance – earning the administration widespread criticism from the public. A social media friend remarked that, counting the administration’s previous incarnations, the ‘capable administration’ myth had been exposed for the two-hundred-and-thirty-fiftieth time. In hindsight, Imran Khan now appears to have managed the perpetual power crisis – along with the other challenges faced by the country – miraculously well, a feat that looks even more impressive considering the Covid challenge that he had to contend with.
While the present dispensation deserves all the flak that it is receiving (and more), it is hardly going to suddenly start showing signs of sagacity as a reaction to being made fun of. The ordinary man may be able to let some steam off by subjecting the administration to ridicule, but the exercise would hardly help him reconcile with the new realities of life. Until he adapts a philosophy more suited to the situation, that is.
If he is to maintain his sanity, the average citizen needs to immediately start seeing the positive side of things. That would help him negotiate not only the exorbitant loadshedding, but all other difficulties life is likely to throw his way in future. Here, then, are a few spiritual benefits that he is encouraged to appreciate. The perceptive reader would, no doubt, discover many more on his own.
While the present dispensation deserves all the flak that it is receiving (and more), it is hardly going to suddenly start showing signs of sagacity as a reaction to being made fun of.
- A step in the direction of minimalist living. There is way too much materialism in the world; and until recently there was no light at the end of the tunnel. Loadshedding, in this respect, has been nothing short of a godsend. Appreciate it. Those who want to go far must travel light, and all that sort of thing.
- Protects mother earth. Most people have no clue as to the havoc each kWh wreaks on the environment. They fail to realize that to produce ‘clean’ electricity, the dirty work has inevitably been done somewhere upstream, causing pollution and entropy. Corporate greed sees to it that progress of a nation is gauged by the number of units of electricity consumed (per capita) by its inhabitants. Any wonder then that consciously looking to cut down on electricity usage is looked down upon? Loadshedding will probably achieve what the environmentalists have failed to do in decades.
- What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Never in the entire history of mankind there was a more alarming dearth of men equipped with stiff upper lips. We have come a long way from the era of gallant knights in shining armours to men who are constantly worrying about their complexions and skin tones. This fall from grace not only prevents men from helping the world at large but also results in their coming off second best in all domestic conflicts against their wives. By getting them started on the road to the rough-and-tough, loadshedding is almost certain to change things for the better.
- Back to the nature! There is no denying the fact that transformers, electric poles, transmission lines and LED lights are not natural. Neither is their most devastating consequence: the modern lifestyle of retiring late and waking up even later. The more the loadshedding, the greater the opportunity to tune one’s body-clock in sync with nature. For the spiritual benefits of this, refer to any yogi or naturalist.
- Get to know your immediate family. Loadshedding forces you to spend time with your family members, who – to your immense astonishment – usually turn out to be quite decent specimens. For full benefit, also switch off the mobile data and the internet UPS (if there).
- Journey towards a fitter you. Physical fitness and spiritual health go hand in hand. You can ramp up the former by utilizing for exercise any one of the many hours of loadshedding – no doubt strategically dispersed for your convenience. A detectable improvement in the latter should only be a matter of time.
- Less bills. In the Islamic Republic, bills are inversely proportional to one’s spiritual wellbeing. To avail the maximum possible benefit, dispense with items such as the UPS and the generator as well.
- Your contribution to the national cause. Not everybody is grand enough to be able to defend the motherland against external and internal threats. The ordinary man can take solace in his contribution in the form of an unflinching courage facing the triple whammy of the darkness, the summer heat, and a loving spouse. Do not deal with these challenges as one resolves not to make a fuss in the dentist’s chair; instead, be a picture of cheerfulness while doing it. Bask in the glory of the knowledge that you are doing it for the country.
- A more punctual and dutiful you. One of the major reasons behind man’s professional and religious shortcomings is his inability and/or reluctance to get out of the comfortable bed. This leaves him a perpetual victim of guilt; and the cycle continues with each instance of weakness on his part. With the loadshedding hours coinciding with most prayers times and the time to wake up for work, this failing should soon be a thing of the past.
- Appreciation for the life of the less fortunate. Last but not the least, loadshedding makes one appreciate the situation of those countless millions who never had, and probably never will have, the luxury of electricity.