News From Mozda (26th June 2003)
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Hi. Just thought of you when things have been happening here. The usual Mozda and rural India fun.
We have removed the bamboo splints from the roof to replace them with steel angles. We have drilled holes in the Z-purlins fitted 2 inch pieces of angles on the purlins. And then weld long angles on the 2-inch pieces of angles. But wish we could do the job as smoothly I can write about it.
But no. Mozda has power cut. Nothing new about it, but its only now that we depend on the electricity board power. So at times, we can drill perhaps 3 holes and the rest for a few hours. Sometimes we just manage to climb up the roof and the electricity promptly leaves Mozda. Even guests stay longer in Mozda.
And anyway, due to the power cut, officially we get electricity only between 11:45 PM to 8:15 am. In practice, this means from 8 PM to 2 am most days. So one day Ishvar, Jayanti and the gang drill holes from 8 PM to 5 am, while I am in a meeting in Nagpur. And finish drilling one side of the roof.
So when I return from Nagpur, we try to start welding. A job that should be finished in 6 hours takes 3 days. But finally it is done and we can start the other side of the roof.
We remove the roof tiles and then begin drilling. After six holes, no electricity. We wait for two days, still no electricity. And every night, the clouds are warning us that the great Indian monsoon is on its way and perhaps round the corner.
I have the pleasure of sleeping inside the house and still see the sky in all of its glory.
So deciding not to wait for electricity any more, I and Ishvar drive down to Dediapada hoping to rent a generator. We discover that there is no generator in Dediapada that can take the load of our welding machine. Go to Ankleshwar, which we decide not to, thank god. So we rent a 1 kva generator that can take the drilling machine load. Bring it to Mozda and finish drilling on 7th June (we have begun on 27th May, hoping to finish by 3rd June).
The electricity again visits us for all of 35 minutes. By now I have visited the Gujarat Electricity Board office thrice and their 220kv to 11 kv substation once.
Last night we here the news that monsoon should touch Kerala in one or two days. So finally last night we abandoned the hope of welding one half of the roof. Now we are just tying the angles with binding wires. Hoping to finish welding in winter, when there is (hopefully no power shortage).
And the clouds have decided to spare us for a day I hope.
I thought I could not have asked for more fun. But we got a few bonuses in the meanwhile. We had an impromptu meeting with another Ahmedabad based NGO for a few hours on forest evictions. And then we have hosted a newly married couple for 2-3 days, the newly married wife had never lived in a village, never slept in the open, never spent time in a forest, and never seen a mess of a house as our's is now. And we could offer all of that in one package. [...snip...]
PS: A few hours after I wrote this mail, electricity returned and we have started welding on the other half of the roof. Twenty per cent work is finished. But electricity is gone now and we are waiting again...
PPS: Finally, electricity stayed long enough to finish the house. We finished last night and were lifting the rooftiles on the roof.