Lights out, and a night out

Stay trapped at home or brave a traf­fic jam – what would you do when the power is down?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LEISURE - SUJESH PAVITHRAN

HERE’S a lit­tle tip for WAGs (wife and girl­friends, as if you didn’t know!) who feel their other half isn’t pay­ing enough at­ten­tion to them and/or the chil­dren be­cause even when home, he’s too busy mess­ing around with his hob­bies, watch­ing TV or on the In­ter­net. Cut the power to your house for a bit.

Yes, I mean the elec­tric­ity sup­ply. See if you can con­spire with Te­naga Na­sional (TNB) to or­gan­ise a power cut in your neigh­bour­hood once in a while, oth­er­wise, just stealthily switch off the mains and hope your man doesn’t check. Then, ob­serve the re­sults.

A few days ago, I re­turned home one evening af­ter an early shift and set­tled down to watch some TV. A bit later, the lights went out ... at first, I thought the mains had tripped (ours has a habit of do­ing this dur­ing storms) but al­though the clouds were gath­er­ing, I hadn’t heard any thun­der. Check­ing the mains, I re­alised it was an “ex­ter­nal” is­sue.

So I called TNB at its 15454 num­ber. Here’s the thing – if you have a hot­line, you must en­sure speedy re­sponse. Af­ter go­ing through the usual run of ir­ri­tat­ing menus, I was put on an au­to­mated queue, 50th in line! Fif­teen min­utes later, I hung up. For the next hour, I tried to get through with­out suc­cess and each time, I found my­self fur­ther down the queue!

Any­way, I soon re­alised it was a neigh­bour­hood black­out, and there was no chance TNB didn’t 51. Rc6 Re7 52. Kf4 Kf8 53. Rd6 Ne8 54. Rd8 Rb7 55. Bd5 Rc7 56. Bb3 Rb7 57. Bd5 Rc7 58. Kf5 Ke7 59. Rb8 Rc1 60. Bb3 Rc3 61. g4 Nc7 62. Rb7 Rf3+ 63. Ke4 Rc3 64. Kd4 Rc1 65. Bc4 Rd1+ 66. Bd3 Kd8 67. Ke4 Ne6 68. Rb5? Re1+ 69. Kf5 Nd4+ 70. Kf4 Nxb5 71. Bxb5 Ke7 72. Bc4 Rc1 73. Bd5 Rf1+ 74. Ke4 Re1+ 75. Kf4 f6 76. e6 Re5 77. Bc4 Kd6 78. Ba2 Rb5 79. Kf3 f5 80. Kf4 fxg4 81. Kxg4 Rg5+ 82. Kh4 Ke7 83. Bc4 Kf6 84. Ba2 Rb5 85. Kg4 Rb2 86. Bd5 Rb4+ 87. Kg3 Rb5 88. Bf3 Kxe6 89. Bg4+ Kf6 90. Be2 Rb4 0-1 White: Roslina Mar­mono (Malaysia) Black: So­hair Basta (Eqypt) 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 c5 5. e3 cxd4 6. exd4 Nc6 7. Nf3 O-O 8. Bd3 h6 9. O-O d5 10. c5 Bxc3 11. bxc3 Qc7 12. Re1 a6 13. h3 Bd7 14. Ne5 Ne7 15. Bf4 Qa5 16. Nxd7 Nxd7 17. Rab1 Ra7 18. Bd6 Re8 19. f4 Qd8 20. f5 exf5 21. Bxf5 Nxf5 22. Qxf5 Nf6 23. Rxe8+ Qxe8 24. Qe5 Qxe5 25. dxe5 Ne4 26. Rb3 Nxd6 27. exd6 Kf8 28. c4 dxc4 29. Re3 Ra8 30. Rc3 Ke8 31. Rxc4 Kd7 32. Kf2 Re8 33. Rc2 Re5 34. Kf3 g5 35. g4 Kc6 36. Kf2 Re4 37. Rd2 Kd7 38. Re2 Rc4 39. Re7+ Kd8 40. Rxb7 Rxc5 ½-½ White: Fay­rouz El­go­hary (Eqypt) Black: Fong Mi Yen (Malaysia) 1. d4 g6 2. Nf3 Bg7 3. e4 d6 4. Nbd2 Nc6 5. c3 Nf6 6. Bd3 e5 7. O-O O-O 8. h3 Nh5 9. Nb3 h6 10. Be3 Qf6 11. Nc1 Kh7 12. Ne2 Bxh3 13. Ng3 Bg4 14. Nxh5 gxh5 15. Be2 Rg8 16. dxe5 dxe5 17. Nh2 Rad8 18. Qc2 Qg6 19. Nxg4 hxg4 20. Rad1 Bf6 21. Rxd8 Bxd8 22. g3 h5 23. Kg2 Rh8 24. Rh1 Kg7 25. Bd2 Ne7 26. Bd3 Qf6 27. Qd1 Ng6 28. Be3 a6 29. Bc2 Be7 30. Qe2 b5 31. a3 c5 32. Bd1 Nf4+ 33. gxf4 exf4 34. Bxf4 Qxf4 35. Qd3 Rd8 36. Qg3 Qxe4+ 0-1. know about it. The mis­sus had re­turned by then, and said the traf­fic lights on her way back were also out, so we reck­oned it must have been some­thing ma­jor.

So to stay cool, we sat in the hall with the front door open, en­joy­ing a gen­tle evening breeze, a cuppa and a chat, a pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence as it turned out – I’m usu­ally hooked to the TV or In­ter­net at home and she’s busy do­ing stuff around the house. Now, to stave off the bore­dom, we only had each other’s com­pany!

Al­though it was a week day, din­ing out looked like an at­trac­tive op­tion, in­stead of a home meal cooked in the twi­light gloom! The mis­sus was re­lieved when I sug­gested this, al­though she isn’t too fond of eat­ing out; the thought of an evening in a hu­mid, can­dle-lit kitchen sealed the deal. So we got ready to go out, all geared up to brave the crawl of evening traf­fic.

Af­ter man­u­ally un­lock­ing our auto gate (oh, the things we take for granted), we drove to a mall in sur­pris­ingly smooth-flow­ing traf­fic along the usu­ally con­gest- ed Fed­eral High­way.

A sim­ple din­ner for two – iron­i­cally, al fresco – fol­lowed, in­ter­spersed with con­ver­sa­tion about var­i­ous things in life, and then, we spent a while win­dow shop­ping. By then, three hours had passed since the power break­down and I reck­oned all would be fine when we got back home. I was right, and de­spite a mild traf­fic jam on the way back, we were in good spir­its af­ter a pleas­ant din­ner.

The wel­com­ing sight of bright lights on our porch greeted us as we en­tered the street lead­ing home. The mis­sus ad­mit­ted the change in rou­tine was re­fresh­ing, and I had to con­cur. No dis­trac­tions, as we would have had if we’d stayed home – just each other’s com­pany and con­ver­sa­tion. Such things are much un­der­rated these days.

Once we were in, she went to the kitchen to or­gan­ise what­ever it is she usu­ally or­gan­ises (I stay clear of this alien en­vi­ron­ment) while I set­tled down in front of the TV, while check­ing my iTouch for e-mail.

Thus was the or­der of things re­stored in our house.

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