Anoop Judge | Author · Writing Instructor · Former T.V. Host​

When the lights went out . . .

“Let’s play Dark Room, “ the cousin I’ve never met until today suggests with a wink. He’s fifteen, going on fifty—his greasy hair falling in untidy spirals over his glistening forehead, the sweat stains under his armpits visible under his cream polyester shirt, his fingernails colored yellow from the chicken curry he consumed at lunch.

I shudder delicately, turning away so that no one notices how I clench my palms together. How long are these relatives from Kanpur going to stay?

Nostalgia about a power cut . . .

I’m from a place in India where power outages were frequent and familiar. The lights would go off just as we were about to sit down for a meal of chicken curry, spiced okra, and hot rotis with a side of homemade yogurt. Someone would whoop on the road outside, and the power cut would fall like a blanket of silence. There would be a mad scramble for candles with my mom yelling to the maid-servant in the kitchen, “Meena, where did we keep the candles I bought from Modern Bazaar last week?”

There would be a minute or two of deepening silence, finally broken by our landlord Dr. Gupta\’s reedy voice floating up from the ground floor level.

Anoop Judge is a blogger and an author, who’s lived in the San Francisco-Bay Area for the past 27 years. As an Indian-American writer, her goal is to discuss the diaspora of Indian people in the context of twenty-first century America.