“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

As a child, I loved blackouts.

The adventure always started with melting ice cream. Within seconds of my grandparents' house going dark, my mouth would start watering. While we were lucky enough to have a generator, it never produced enough power for our energy-hungry freezer, so my grandmother would bring out the bowls and spoons. "Why waste good ice cream," she would sigh.  I would revel in the unexpected gluttony.

When I left India, I came to realize that blackouts were not part of the adventure of daily American life; somehow supply seamlessly matched demand.  As days became months and months became years, the magic of perpetual power faded. My perspective changed; a switch flipped.

Whenever I return to visit my grandparents, blackouts are no longer an adventure but an annoyance and, worse, a danger to the country that I love.  I associate interrupted electricity with thick lungfuls of oily smoke from diesel generators. In search of causes, I find consequences: chronic asthma, lost productivity and infrastructure instability.

As an adult, I refuse to accept intermittent darkness. My new adventure is to inspire others to join me in the fight to end erratic energy. Together, we can re-electrify India.

 

— Natasha Pereira-Kamath