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  • The weather is beautiful today in Islamabad. It has been this way for the last whole week and I feel grateful. It’s load shedding time right now, and there is no electricity but I can type on my laptop. (Background at the end of this story).

    Last summer was horrible. Long bouts of no electricity meant sleepless nights, restless days and everyone being in a crappy irritable mood because of the heat.

    I dread the summer. I wish this weather holds up for a little while longer.

    We used to cover ourselves with moist sheets of cloth as we lay on the terrace every night. The cloth helped cool the warm wind and kept the mosquitoes away. The Dengue causing mosquitoes.

    Everyone says Dengue will hit again this summer. Many more people will die as they did last year; many more will lie burning with fever outside over-filled hospitals that have no spare beds for them.

    We will keep all doors closed even in the stifling heat that seems like a vacuum with no oxygen. Sometimes, I feel like I will suffocate. It also makes my Vertigo worse and I hate that. I go through the days half-registering what I see; the annoying sharp tone in my ears making me unable to focus on anything. Every load shedding hour makes me hate life.

    I don’t like the me of summers. She is an irritated, self pitying angry person who is sometimes envious, nay, jealous of others who can afford generators, air conditioners and UPS.

    I look out right now, the clouds cover most of the sky, and in the distance, I can make out the Margalla Hills, blurred, serene and cool.

    It’s a wonderful world for now. Funny how the weather can change your whole perception of life. Perhaps, "How's the weather?" isn't such a silly, cliched question after all.

    Background: Load shedding is the temporary switching off of distribution of energy. It’s the energy utilities' method of reducing demand (load) on the energy generation systems. In winter, we had natural gas load shedding in addition to electricity load shedding. So, even if I could afford the increased prices of gas, I could still not use a heater since the gas pressure was too low to turn it on. I could hardly cook on the low gas and it took four hours to make something that would usually be cooked in one.

    An electric heater was out of the question because it consumes a lot of electricity and would have tripled my electricity bill, something I can’t afford. And besides, there was no electricity for six hours every day. In summer, the time increases to one hour of electricity load shedding every two hours. In smaller cities, there is sometimes no electricity for anything between two hours and two days.
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