What gives? A maintenance shutdown all over the city? Or are they rationing power now? This doesn’t make since. I tell the thin Keralite dude to get me Dewa customer services number. And I call them.
“wa alikum al salalam”
“power is going to be cut off today?” (now, please tell, how could I have made the question more articulate?)
“yes, for one hour”
“sure? All over Dubai”
“YES. All over”
“no, streetlights and traffic lights are ok”
Ahmadi Najad appears on TV, waving to 120,000 crowds in Tehran's Azadi Stadium. The guy is shopping for votes, somebody says. He doesn’t strike me as football savvy. I turn to the thin keralite, who had just gotten thinner. And I asked him if he’s prepared, and that we want to continue to watch the match, if you please. He said he’s not prepared. I curse, but not him. Poor dude was caught off guarded by Dewa’s sudden un-prescheduled power outage. He’s already struggling to cater to the dominantly Arab customers and to appease the Egyptian staff. And now with few die-hard Saudi fans in the mix, it’s impossible for him not to be panicked by the power outage. I remember something; I grab my cell phone and call the head of security at my building. I tell him about the cut-off. And I tell him to be prepared. He’s clueless, too. I tell him to mobilize flash lights and to open up the electrical barrier to the parking lot. And to disable the lift at least five minutes before 8:30. That was all I could think of. He’s panicking now. Poor guy isn’t prepared for such events. And he’s got a beer belly the size of a foot ball. Talking of which Iran has just scored. Their left side midfielder is freaking fast like a rocket. Shihab 3 in his own right.
The Saudis are now very agitated at the referee. The match is surprisingly good. But the refereeing is amateurish. The Saudis are cursing the referee now. One of them, who popped in during the 15 minutes break between halftimes, asks me if Tayseer is playing. I falter and then tell him that Tayseer isn’t playing. He tells me he should and I concur. I am horrified at the prospect of having to tell these guys the power is going to be cut off and they’ll miss the last 15 minutes of the match. Because I am sure neither the thin Malbari guy (who’s almost disappeared now), nor the Egyptians, could make the announcement. So I’ll be relied upon to relay the info. Or we could just play dumb. Ahmadi Najad is on the screen now. Totally engrossed in the match. I take another pull and puff with apparent agitation. One of the Egyptians nudges me from the back and tells me that the power is NOT going to be cut off. That it is actually a voluntary initiative if you’d like to join the effort and turn off the light at your home or your establishment at your own volition. Things fall together at that moment, and I remember the earth hour initiative. How could I not make the connection? VOLUNTARILY is the key word, assholes. I was about to deliver a curse of my own when a sudden flurry of activities takes place in front of me. I turn back to look at the wall-mounted TV and the Saudis are scoring an equalizer. We all jump in unison and start cheering and clapping. I saw quite few of the black heavy cords (you know the one fixed over the traditional Arab male head cover?) in the room go up to the ceiling and come back to be plucked precisely at the same moment, boomerang style. I forget to call the head of security at my building with the update on Earth Hour. The Saudi commentator is supplicating the almighty for a second goal, and damn, the Saudis are really playing good. I suddenly don’t feel very disappointed at the match and the earth hour. The Saudis are fighting now. Every single calorie of Kabsa they’ve eaten in their entire life is coming out in the form of energy in Azadi Stadium. Here’s a lob to the penalty zone, a Saudi forward butts the ball gently with his head and it changes course a notch, the ball seems to be going in. WOW IT’S GOING IN. The Iranian goal keeper stretch his entire Persian physique to threw it away. He touches it with the tips of his fingers. But it still goes in. damn. We repeat the same ritual. All rise in unison. Heavy black cords hit the ceiling. Neanderthal-type voices echoing everywhere. The Saudi commentator is ecstatic. And he lost his voice. But he nonetheless takes the obligatory detour from the match to recite quite few poems. Some Badawi, some formal Arabic. The spectators in the B café are laughing, the mood is much better. The Malbari guy is temporarily relieved. Dewa is forgotten for now. His excellency president Ahmadi Najjad is not on the screen any longer. The Korean referee blows his distinct three successive whistles and the match is over. I manage to pay my bill with agility and move out of the place while the cords are hitting the ceiling and everybody is still busy celebrating. Waiting for me at the gate-barrier to the under ground parking lot when I get back to my building is a not-very-pleased head of security.
A warning about undully parking - posted in the parking lot of my building.