I always thought I were dependent on my high-tech equipment for fieldwork, but it turns out the low-tech is as important. Low-tech as in: running water and decent power supply. Both of which turned quite sketchy over the last days - forcing me to while away my time in the shady trees around Rifah-e-Aam, temporarily suspending thinking, not to speak of doing interviews or, God forbid, writing stuff. I can't even write blog posts, at least not about my topic. But I have plenty to say on other electricizing issues (does that expression exist in English? It does in German anyway). Here is my week's rant:

It all began when the summer heat turned above 45 degrees celsius. Reason enough for some thunder and lightning we thought - till we realized that the lightning occured between our AC outdoor unit and the metal balcony grill. Impressive, loud and bright - and, subsequently, hot within the flat and smoky outside. The electrician put in a new cable, fitted with tesa© tape, a high-tech German engineering product as he keenly pointed out. Just to be on the safe side, I later replaced the defunct tripping fuse as well - he rather opted to rely on his rubber-feet sandals and the many charms around his neck. Which could explain the short life expectancy of Indian electricians, and in turn the mediocre quality of service (and yes, I know this is a spurious circular argument - even in 45 degrees, I can think that much).

Excited policemen increased the walkie-talkie chatter, tightened traffic rules and lost all sense of humour. Lathis were being drawn, our Rickshaw puller retracted way back in a small side alley, where he remained in an ambiguous state between tension and routine endurance. Within minutes, an eerie silence engulfed the central crossing. Only some birds were audible, and of course the omnipresent elephant-clad signboards of her party, fluttering in the wind. They announced in elaborate Hindi that it has pleased the most honorouble Madam Chief Minister to bestow upon the people of her province, on the occasion of her birthday, and in recognition of their suffering for the cause, a new law (the 2011 UP Right to Information Act). Then suddenly: laughter all around, tension being replaced by noise, traffic resuming. Her motorcade must have taken the other route. It still feels like we had (almost) met her...