the great escape

I look around and eye the **exit** my great escape, the red flashing sign, the word EXIT, written up, loud and clear, I eye it. And I make a run for it. The two hosts grab me before I even take a step, each with one arm locked into mine, they **crack a joke** about me, the audience laughs. They hand me a metal statuette, I hold it --the heaviest thing I’ve ever held on to-- it falls through the stage, through the wooden floor, with me holding tightly onto it, through and through. “Ladies and gentlemen we just witnessed **a great escape** for the first time in the history of this event, has the winner escaped in such a dramatic fashion, and without giving a speech either.”

Wednesday, May 12

Load-Shedding Re-Dux (a supplement for Dawn Blog readers)

Alright so this is a supplemental reprise to the post on the Dawn Blog for all you people reading it till the end and going like.. 'Hmm I wonder what this Asif Akhtar blogs about at'. So here's the whole deal with this capitalizing on load-shedding business proposition for all you entrepreneurial types, and anyone else questioning the logic of a post-electric world where Pakistanis rid of their dependence on electricity would rise to the challenge of leading the world into a self-sufficient existence as a global human society.

When I said in my blog on Dawn that we need to start getting used to no power, I really wasn't joking. If we take things seriously, we can develop an acoustic-lifestyle-rehab industry which could well become our leading national export in the post-energy world of the future. We could set up lifestyle re-hab clincs in all parts of the world. Think of all those extremely wired people out there and the withdrawal symptoms they'll experience once the electricity runs out. They'll be running around bumping in walls without their iPhones and their fancy gadgets, no longer able to find the number of the Pizza place down the street, or update their status on social networking sites at a whim. Chaos will be everywhere, like one of those end of the world movies.

It will be our job as well adjusted Pakistanis to tell the world that its okay to be unplugged (post-rehab services will be offered at an additional charge). And of course at that point things couldn't be better for us. There will be new markets for adaptation culture forming all around the world. For a change people will be looking at our model of retrograde development. We will be the next big thing that hit the world since the toaster! And while the rest of the world is out looking for a solution to the power problem, we'd be light-years ahead with our cultural adaptation to life without energy and electronics. We'd have innovations like cooling our walls with dung chapatis, and the cooling effects of lassi or the herbal calmness of falsa juice on our side.

Now don't go around thinking this cultural adaptation nonsense is some kind of quippy joke put in to temporarily amuse your bored internet-ridden minds. This is serious stuff. Why would someone even think that the idea of living without electricity is absurd. Its not like people haven't been doing it for millennias prior to our sorry modern technological existence. Our ancestors in the subcontinent used to live without home appliances or air-conditioning. Its a shame we never bothered to preserve the architectural wonder which made buildings cool during the day time and warm at night. Of course after bearing centuries of heat we'd culturally adapted to doing things a certain way. Even the British were quick to realize the effectiveness of these cultural norms so they adapted their own administrational architecture to that aesthetic bringing you places like the GPO in Lahore. Sadly though your average Defence villa would suffocate without electricity in the summer and would spew out a mass of sweat and flesh if left un-airconditioned for a little over an hour.

This is the time to think out of the box. Instead of cursing and moaning about there being no light, maybe we should take a more constructive approach to our problems and try to come up with solutions that are socially viable ways of dealing with the issue. Airconditioning and the luxuries of modern technological life are for suckers. Time to turn your computer off, clear your head of all the televison commercials that are jarring up your consciousness and go for a nice long relaxing stroll to think about things a little more deeply. One thing's for sure. The future is straight ahead.

This is a supplemental reprise to the blog posted on titled Moving Beyond the Megawatt


Asif said...

Interesting... very interesting point of view...

Read somewhere that the reason French are so healthy - with all their fat filled culinary delights - is that they make time to socialize and spend time with family and friends.... and walk to the place !!!! they are living an unplugged life :)

Also an interesting point on technological marvel that keeps the houses cool during the day... known as 'roshandan' is lost to modern civil engineering practices... i still wonder - is 'energy effeceincy' on priorities of architects or its just imitate some design seen somewhere?

Anonymous said...

Indeed , we have to think out of the box to solve this problem. Our Engineering Universities should build model homes , by adapting the pre-air-conditioned architecture to small sized houses , taking into account the geography of the location as much as possible.

I teach at a university and over the years, find ever more students of complaining of mental fatigue. This could only be because students are plugged all the time and have no time for introspection and meditation. My own personal experience is that the best ideas came when I was not doing anything in particular but day-dreaming or taking a walk. I could do this because I was not multitasking all the time.

So, thanks Asif for thinking out of the box and encouraging us to adopt a more environment friendly and human-friendly life style.

Tooba Khilji said...


I'm the News Director at Bridges TV. We are exploring ways to use social networking to increase Bridges TV's overall awareness and are now in the process of developing a blog section in hopes of create engaging discussions that will capture an audience beyond the realms of television.

Would you consider helping us with this? If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. Thank you.

Tooba Khilji said...

I made a typo in my email address in the last comment.

it is


Bobby S. Gulshan said...

Great post. Post-energy/post-carbon reality isn't something discussed on the scale it should be. And the idea of rehab is genius. There are some people I know of in California doing "post-collapse training" but it still has a survivalist sort of vibe to it, which scares people I think.

If you get a chance, check out my blog, hopefully we can exchange links