Friday Fictioneers: Loadshedding

melting-wax-renee-heathAnother power shut down and this time even the battery-operated fan and light have run out. I light a candle and wait.

Drops of sweat form on my forehead, as I fan my son who is sleeping peacefully in his cot. The sounds of an argument come wafting through the open window from the house next door. They always fight when the lights go out. A mosquito buzzes in my ear announcing its intent.

As I watch the candle flame dance in the dark and the wax drip down the table, I dream of a better life for my son. Will it ever be possible?

Load shedding or the deliberate shut down of power for 12 to 18 hours per day is a regular feature of life in Pakistan.

21 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: Loadshedding

  1. have several memories of torturous hours with electricity… Hope you find a better way out.. Hope our country does!

  2. Great story. I especially liked the mosquito buzz in the ear part. As a mosquito magnet, I was particularly intrigued by your wording in that sentence. Well done!

  3. I grew up with that type of loadshedding in the Philippines – only we wouldn’t have power for about 4 hours per day and it rotated throughout the city. We called it “brown-outs” as opposed to a general power blackout for the whole city. But 12 – 14 hours can be tedious.

    The picture did remind me of those days when the power would go out from 4 – 8 or so and we’d all just sit around outside where it was cooler and wait till the power returned.

    • Yes it’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the photo prompt 🙂 I went back last month after nearly 4 years and the loadshedding was still going on but the weather was brilliant so it didn’t matter that much.

  4. I have never heard of load shedding. You have great details in your story, like the fighting when the lights go out. I feel like I’m there. Nice one!

    • You are one lucky girl! One of the reasons we left Pakistan is to avoid loadshedding, it becomes so painful in the summer.
      Thank you for liking my writing!

  5. Dear Zainab,

    I learn something every time I read one of your stories. And we gripe if we have a power outage once in a great while. Although I’ve been through two winters where our power was out for a week and our fish became frozen fillets in the aquarium. Loadshedding is a new one on me, too. Thank you for a well written story that educates.



    • Thank you Rochelle, loadshedding has become an unwelcome part of life in Pakistan. There seems to be no solution to the power crisis in sight and one wonders when the public will just take to the streets because they’ve just had enough.
      P.S sorry about your fish!

  6. Zainab, I feel your pain. We’re in India in a city where we now sometimes have schedualed load shedding once a week and other unscheduled outages every so often. This is the worst time of the year for that. The temperature where we are has been hovering at around 40 C (for those who are in localitites where temperature is measured by F, that’s 104 F). My husband had screens put on the windows of this flat when it was built years ago but sometimes mosquitos get in anyway. I keep spray handy. I hope what you want for your son comes true. Well written.


    • Thank you Susan, life is indeed tough in Pakistan and India. I moved to Dubai 4 years ago and my son has not experienced the harsh realities of life in Pakistan. We went to visit last month and he thought it was the best place ever!

      • I hope your son doesn’t experience the harsher realities. We live in a large city so don’t experience the harshest realities. Our children were born and raised in the U.S. and live there. We have electricity most of the time here in the city while people in rural areas do without it for many more hours. A big problem here is that builders have been permitted to construct more and more flats and that’s a pull on the available water. It’s my opinion that greed, corruption and the lack of adequate planning cause a lot of the problems. Of course that’s a problem in many places. The traffic is a terrible problem. The city has removed pedestrian islands to speed up the flow of traffic and there are few traffic lights. You take your life in your hands trying to cross the street in most areas.

      • Yes there is a lot of corruption and poor planning in my country, that is why unfortunately it is in such a bad state. We got out because we wanted a better life for my son and I hope we don’t have to go back. My family is still there and I worry for their safety, but the people who live there have lived there all their lives and don’t want to move.

  7. I hadn’t heard of loadshedding, either, Zaianab, and I can imagine how awful it can be. Sometime in the summer there are rolling blackouts or brown-outs when it’s very hot for a time and demand for electricity skyrockets, but we’ve been fortunate enough not to be where that occurs. Now that we live in a house with a sump pump, I think a bit more about the electricity going out, as then water in the basement could be a worry.

    I like the way you used the loadshedding the discomfort caused by it to tie into the mother dreaming of a better life for her son. It sounds as though you’ve made a good start on that dream and I’m glad.

    Here, ” fan and light has run out”, you need “have” as there are two items mentioned. “Battery-operated” would need a hyphen. 🙂

    A blessed Sunday to you,


    • Thank you Janet for pointing out the mistakes, I had actually written light has run out and added fan later. I will correct them.
      Loadshedding is one of the reasons I didn’t even want to visit in the summer holidays because it gets so uncomfortable. We have a UPS but when the power goes every other hour even that doesn’t get charged. We then have to rely on battery-operated fans and lights which also don’t last more than half an hour or so. Then it’s just you, a good old newspaper (to fan and keep the mosquitos away) and a candle. The first thing that popped into my mind when I saw the photo prompt is how we have (had) to deal with the loadshedding. Sometimes when we have it all, we take everything for granted.

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