I am sitting in complete darkness. The lights went out at 6:20pm; I heard my mom gasp, as the samoosa's shrieked in horror from their pot of sparkling oil. Something had disrupted their little dance routine, for sure! In the mean time, speaking of routines, Madeeha sat on my lap in front of this laptop and wanted to just 'pwess buttons, masi'. Simple request. She is mesmerized by the wonders of the internet, and she's only almost two. Anyway, so the downing of lights was enough to take our attention away from magic kissing hearts, dancing bears and talking birds online.
Scattered around the house, I could hear the shuffle of feet looking for candles. My sister, Madeeha's mom, Dilshaad, sought out baby. Baby is most comfortable. Of course. Back in my room, we had discovered scented rose candles and set those alight. And baby wanted to help me. Lovely. Guided by the light of my mobile phone, we walked across to the living area. Oil still crackled on defiantly, anouncing its heated state long after the electricity cut. Samoosa's bore the brunt of this affair: browning on one side and remaining an uncooked white on the other side. What a waste. Unless you're okay with artistic re-renderings of the fried hors d'oevre.
Still, we totter about in wonder of what might be going on. Bills paid. Mains in order. Now what? Darkness is also a moment to reflect on things unreflecting. My sister in law remembers that she misplaced her own mobile phone. Using the last of my battery power I dial hers in a rescue mission effort. Found it! The games on it will help with the mundane sitting around and waiting to see what transpires. This here laptop will last a few hours until the battery gives up from sheer exhaustion, and the 3-G modem is helpful as ever now that the adsl is down. It's amazing that we survive beyond the glory of electricity. It is a wonder, indeed.
Mums made some calls. Dad and brother have not yet arrived from work, and when they do, they will descend on a home set aside from the city by its stark darkness. But inside it, candles dance to a different tune, and hearts wait warmed by the thought that all will sit around together in this contemplation of life without sparky electric current, yet filled with the charge of love :)
Shafinaaz is a sociologist, artist and poet based in Johannesburg, SA. She is the author of several works of non-fiction and fiction, and has been listed in HayFestival's Africa39 category of top 39 authors in Africa under the age of 40 at the London Book Fair 2014. Also see www.shafinaaz.co.za
I write. As I must. Words are my paints of expression on an otherwise bland canvas, my rollercoasters of delight on otherwise dreary roads. Entertainment or derision, they manifest in my varied states of being. Until theres silence. Even then, theres a dialogue of sorts that continues... in spirit? Who knows..