It's always entertaining to see the 1st world react to a 3rd world type incident. It seems that the UK had some massive power failures and blackouts on the 27th of May:
"After two power stations suddenly shut down within minutes of one another at midday, nine “generating units” also shut, and at least four other power stations suffered failures throughout the day."
"Operations were cancelled, people were stuck in lifts, traffic lights failed and fire engines were sent out on false alarms. Householders were unable to use any appliances or make phone calls..."
I'm going to suggest that the West adopt and adapt the concept of 'fasting' from Islam. In fact, I propose specifically that Power cuts become the new 1st world 'roza', instilling patience and fortitude in fat TV addicted Americans everywhere, and engendering some much needed empathy for people in other parts of the world who have to live with KESC and the planets most infuriatingly inefficient electricity distribution grid. I propose that all North American and European households go without power from dawn till dusk, Muslim style. At sunset, they can power up to their hearts content, and switch on the mains to an orgy of television, e-mail, internet porn, microwaving, Plastation/Xbox/Wii, Youtube, Facebook and mobile phone charging. Electric Jalebis if you will.
'Life in the Bubble'
I can't answer that question. But I can tell you what the 'burgers in a bubble' at Times Online thought of next after witnessing Britain's 'society-shattering' power cuts: A top ten list, of stuff to do when the power cuts. The applicability of this list to the resident Karachi-ite is something that I will now consider, in my capacity as an objective and slightly annoyed Pakistani. I have reproduced it in full below, with my comments in italics.
10 Bring those little solar-powered lights in from the garden
No point letting the foxes get all the benefit of our space-age technology. If you've thought ahead and bought one of those solar-powered iPod chargers (and assuming for one moment that we've had some nice weather) then charge up your iPod. Because you can
9 Eat all the ice-cream in the freezer
It'll only melt otherwise. And melted then refrozen ice-cream is horrid. While you're at it, see if there's any beer or white wine in the fridge. They're just not the same warm and whereas, technically, you can re-cool beer you're going to need something to get you through the next few hours
Taubah. Firstly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with ice-cream that has melted into liquid and then re-frozen into congealed ice-cream paste. That is why the ice cream tub was invented (the rectangular cardboard Igloo ice cream packs were completely useless at retaining precious melted ice cream fluid).
Secondly, trust the English to use a blackout as an excuse to get plastered. No self respecting desi above the age of 16 will drink all their beer and white wine just because the powers gone. They leave it in the fridge (which stays cool for at least 6-7 hours). And they will continue to leave it in the fridge thereafter, because really, its for the guests anyway.
8 For that matter eat every biscuit, cake, and piece of fruit in the house
Even if you have a gas oven, there's still no sense in cooking anything. You're in the grip of a drama and it's important to enter into the spirit of the thing.
7 Wake the kids up
If the power cut happens after the hours of darkness, and let's face it every blackout worthy of the name does, then it's important that you don't deny your offspring the character-building Blitz Spirit experience of being dragged from their bed and having terrifying M.R. James stories read to them by a torch-wielding parent.
It is well established that all fathers use the notion of 'Character Building' as an excuse to torture their children for their own amusement. That notwithstanding, in Pakistan, only a truly selfish bastard would wake the kids for 'Character Building'. If your kids have managed to get to sleep during load shedding, despite the heat and after multiple cold showers in their shorts and t-shirts, then LET THEM SLEEP. A blackout is no time to fulfill your retarded fantasy of being some cereal box dad who wakes up his two sweaty children only to stick a torch in their face and petrify them with stories about jinns and bhoots.
6 Play Snake on your mobile
Yes, it's true that your mobile phone might be the only reliable alarm clock left in the house and that if the outage continues after bedtime there's no reliable means of rousing yourself for work the following morning, but there's no better use of your limited battery power than testing your reflexes against the ubiquitous and addictive Nokia serpent-steering game. Besides, you have got that solar charger haven't you?
5 Think about any elderly or vulnerable neighbours you might have
Pop around and make sure they're alright. Take a flask of tea over if you can. They'll probably know some great old Vera Lynn songs you can sing
4 Indulge in a little amateur astronomy
If the power cut is widespread enough it should have a marked effect on the light pollution in your area. Get the whole family out in the street to look at the stars. With any luck someone else in your road will have had the same idea and you can enjoy a rare neighbourly bond as you speculate wildly about the possible duration of the outage
3 Read a book
If you're on your own, you'll find a quiet read by candlelight is a quite distinct experience from the snatched half a chapter on a busy commuter train. If you have any Dickens or Austen in the house, enjoy the classics the way their original readers did
2 Do all the sensible things: unplug computers, TVs, Sky boxes etc
After all, power cuts are fun at first but you don't want to be dealing with a blown fuse when everyone else has their power back
Sometimes the power goes for two minutes, comes back and then goes again for three minutes and then comes back. I would love to watch some idiotic biscuit eating Times online author spend his entire day unplugging and plugging all of his household appliances.
1 Have sex
Despite persistent rumours, there was no “Baby Boom" nine months after the great New York Blackout of 1965. Nevertheless, a power cut is a tremendous excuse for an early night, and it's not as if you can really read a book
FINALLY. Something upon which Pakistanis and Westerners can agree upon. Let us revel in the glory of our shared Number One choice of activity!
Also, while theyre may not have been a baby boom in New York, there has been one in Pakistan. In fact, we've grown from 30 million at partition to 160 million to date. I'd submit that this is largley because we don't have electricity, or cable, or any form of game show or reality TV, or parks, or enough Fun-Lands/Cliftons, or bowling alleys or an abundance of cinemas. Combined with our perpetual blackout, the result is that the Number One pastime of the entire country at pretty much all times is conjugal relations. Babies are an annoying byproduct.