Besides the sweets, crackers and new clothes, one of the biggest attractions of Diwali here are the special TV programmes and screening of hit films in all the half a dozen-odd TV channels in the state.
As each channel telecasts promo after promo of its exclusive interviews with celebrities and movie stars and other special programmes, TV audience across the state, barring Chennai, are left to wonder if they might ever be able to watch any of these special programmes at all.
While the long hours of power cuts (12 – 18 hours) atleast had a pattern in the past alternating between darkness and light every other hour, the electricity supply has been most erratic over the past few days throwing most inverters and UPS systems out of gear.
Television viewers who have Direct-To-Home (DTH) systems and have signed up for premium package deals have the option of recording their favourite programmes to watch them later but the vast majority of rural folk who still depend on cable TV, will have to endure this Diwali with just sweets and crackers.
Theatre owners in the city are however upbeat this year. “Ever since power cuts became regular, we have seen a steady rise in the ticket sales of movies. For Diwali, we expect most families to end up at the theatres as they are bound to be groping in the dark otherwise,” says a city-based theatre owner.
Meanwhile, TANGEDCO officials here are willing to bet that they will not be the villain atleast on Diwali day. A senior official said on condition of anonymity that they are expecting a huge dip on power consumption over the coming days as many industries and commercial establishments will be closed during Diwali.
“We are hoping to provide uninterrupted power supply on the festival day as the demand would be significantly less. Atleast for the next three of four days, public might not have to suffer long hours of power cuts and will be able to celebrate Diwali with lights,” said a senior electricity board official.
But most folks out here are not willing to believe the electricity board who have only made false assurances in the recent past. “We will believe their words when we witness the miracle,” says 15-year-old Adityan, a city student who has made plans to spend Diwali with his cousins in Chennai where there is power for most part of the day.