Monday, June 18, 2012
A lot of the stuff mentioned on this blog has been about my positive experiences here in Bangalore. But I know when we were trying to decide whether an Indian adventure was the right choice for us, I tried to find information on all of the "deal-breakers" as well, so I wouldn't be surprised by something I just couldn't handle. So, in the spirit of full disclosure, I thought I'd try to sum up some of the not-so-exciting things we had to get used to (or at least try). Like Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart, these issues seem small on the surface, but might drive you mad in the long run! I'm calling these posts "Be Sure You Can Handle" and adding a separate tag (BSYCH).

Back in Tulsa, when we first moved into our house, every time the wind would blow, our power would brown or black out. A month later, the power company must have found the branch in question that was banging against the power lines, because the issue stopped, and we never had trouble again, unless a major storm came through.

Here in Bangalore, we experience the same problem with our electricity, only it's not considered a problem here. Remember this post, where I told you about the coal shortage, and the scheduled blackouts? I'm beginning to long for those days. Scheduling is nice, because then you have a chance of working around it.

Last week, the Bangalore Times had an announcement - Bangalore Water supply was shutting down for up to three days for "maintenance and upgrade". We were lucky; our apartment management took steps to store water for the complex for these few days. 

However, it seems like our water is turned off at least once a month here, because they have to clean the tanks (our complex, in addition to the city water, uses collected rainwater). 

I haven't completely figured out the system here. In the United States, most people (well hookups excluded) use whatever water they need, and are billed for it later. In certain areas of the country where water is scarce, the water may be turned off for specific periods of time during the day, or a ban on watering gardens, lawns, etc is in effect. Here in India, it seems there is a cap on the amount of city water allotted? I'm not sure.

Here, the water system seems to be somewhat regular for us, but I believe that's mostly due to our apartment management's work. In addition to city water and the rainwater harvesting, our complex regularly receives water delivery via tanker truck.

As for electricity, this is my biggest irritation. Even though we have a backup generator (a must here in India as the power infrastructure is nowhere near ideal), none of my large appliances will run when we are on backup power. And the power goes of at random times. Which means there have been several occasions where I will start a load of laundry, add soap, and then watch the power go off just as my clothes are nice and sudsy. 
Also, our apartment has lately had issues with the generator. Sometimes the power goes on and off so violently (power surge), that it trips our breaker. So we're always groping around in the dark to flip the switch. Sometimes we're not so lucky, and the breaker that is tripped is the one in the basement and we have to call maintenance.

Which would be fine, except we've had a couple of times where the breaker is tripped in the middle of the night, and we are kept awake at three or four in the morning while we wait on maintenance by the screaming alarms on all of our smaller battery backups (which we need to keep our internet modems and routers on, since we need them for work). I guess we should be smart and unplug them before bed, but since I have three separate internet lines because THEY aren't reliable, it turns into a lot of battery backups!

So, as you can see, this is another niggling problem that turns into a major annoyance when exposed to it on a regular basis.

We are such spoiled Americans!


Rohini said...

Hello! I write for a local newspaper here and we have an expat column, which I'd like to feature you and your family in. If you don't mind that, please mail me at Awaiting a response :)

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