Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Electricity. Shocking, isn't it?

So yesterday I called the butcher to have some meat delivered… like you do. But as it happened my phone was plugged into the desktop when I made the call. Now our butcher speaks pretty good english so we don't usually have any problems understanding each other, however this time I had huge trouble communicating as my phone kept intermittently zapping my ear… and it hurt… a lot.

Electric shocks are a regular occurrence for me here in India. Last night I was thinking it over and I would say I get a good zap at least once a month. In fact two weeks ago I had a doozy… I was ironing name tags onto Sam's clothes for school when my hand brushed the edge of the metal pate of the iron. It was not the heat that stunned me, it was the surge of electricity running through my fingers and up my arm which jolted all my arm muscles leaving an ache for quite sometime.

Now as a kid I was never one to be curious about what it would be like to touch an electric fence. But now I am pretty sure I know what it would feel like. My worst electric shock occurred while we were living at the ashram. I was all set for my shower but when I turned the taps on no water came out. So I thought someone must have turned off the tap that lets the water into the hot water geyser. So I went to turn that tap and when my hand latched onto the knob it was shocked so hard that I could not let go I had to step away to pull my hand free of the tap… not good. In fact the whole hot water geyser thing freaks me out a bit. A friend told me  that once while she was having a shower she felt like little pins were stabbing her all over. The water was electrified. In fact people have been know to die from this.

We have a Mac desktop computer with an aluminum casing. Now the number of times we have all coped a shock from this thing cannot be counted. So after a couple of weeks of being zapped I did some googling… apparently a common problem. The solution is to wear rubber soled shoes or keep your feet off the ground. And as I recently learned do not wear wet flip-flops.
So why do Mac computers electrocute us here in India and not in Australia? Well if you go outside your house to the fuse box you should see a metal rod hammered into the ground with some wiring attached. This is what earths your house and prevents you from being electrocuted when you use your toaster. Here in India, more often than not, they don't bother earthing houses thus we humans become the earth connection and receive electric shocks.

Ray has just asked me about my current blog topic and said I should add that he has been on the phone and yelled in peoples ears when he gets zapped… this is true, I have witnessed it… good times :)

I was reading an article in the paper a couple of months ago that had some statistics about accidental deaths in India. Car accidents are by far the leading cause (13 people die every hour on Indian roads), but electrocution was surprisingly high too. It came in third after road deaths and then murder. I tried to find that article today so I could refer to it in this post… no luck, but there were hundreds more.

Here are a few of the headlines from the past few months...
  • 7-yr-old gets electric shock at Vashi mall
  • Restaurant staff electrocuted
  • Villager dies of electric shock, road blocked
  • One succumbs to electric shock at theatre
  • Electric shock kills domestic help
  • Boy suffers electric shock at school
  • Senior Pak diplomat dies of electric shock
  • One electrocuted, several electric shocks at school function
  • 9-yr-old dies of electric shock while sleeping
  • Man electrocuted while hanging clothes to dry

So basically no activity here is safe… not even sleeping.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Wow. I've been here two months and have yet to experience this. I'm scared now...!