This is an essay/article I wrote a few weeks ago in response to the electricity shortage we’re having these days. It’s supposed to be humorous. Tell me if it is.

While reading the last paragraph, just take note that the essay was originally supposed to be printed.

These days we’ve been hearing a lot about the diminishing sources of energy. Though it isn’t going to affect most of us (who cares if our grandchildren have no oil or power, right?), there are a few of us who are conscientious enough to want to do something about it. In other words, they’ve got too much time on their hands. For them, here are a few ways of making their own electricity.

1) Air: All of us know about windmills, of course, but most of us who live in the city don’t know about wind, so mills are out of the question. But there is a way. Blow up a balloon. Then place the outlet against a turbine, and let go, thereby rotating the turbine. One problem here is that once the air leaves the balloon, you have to blow it up again. The solution is to make a hole in the balloon through which you can continue blowing air. An easier way is to blow air directly onto the turbine, although in that case it would be more efficient to live out in the country and use natural wind. Another way for those in the city is to connect the turbine with the exhaust of your vehicle, although there wouldn’t be a way to use the electricity produced. A solution could be found in time.

2) Heat: One word - Candles. (a) Light a candle under the turbine. If it catches fire, put it out with water - another way of turning the turbine. (b) Light a candle under a beaker of water, place a turbine above to catch the steam, and connect the turbine to your tv. The tv may stop working after some time, but then we in India are used to cable tv failures anyway.

3) Household pets: Have a set of two hundred mice in cages running in those cute little wheels, and use the energy of said wheels to generate electricity. Alternately, use can be made of (a) dogs, (b) cats, (c) children or (d) your local politician. Take care that the SPCA does not find out, although, in the last case at least, it is unlikely that they will mind.

4) Neighbours: Incite your neighbours into a quarrel, and then steal into their house and connect your appliances to their outlets. This is a particularly lasting method, because when they get the bill, they will fight over that as well, enabling prolonged use, as they will be too caught up in their fights to pay attention to you. A precaution: try to choose a different neighbour each time, as escalating quarrels in one particular household might give rise to (a) suspicion over the reason of fighting (though this is unlikely) or (b) estrangement, in which case only one spouse will be left at home, and it is rather difficult to make one person quarrel with themselves, thereby putting you in a spot.

5) Exercise: Exercise can be very beneficial for you, because after a good hour of exercise, you’ll be too tired to care whether you have electricity or not. If you still do, construct a large wheel in which to run, and proceed as per Method 3.

6) Water: A turbine can be placed in your toilet bowl so that every time you flush, the turbine is turned rapidly, and an absurd amount of electricity can be created. There are two drawbacks to this method. First, you, being too busy selling your ideas to the public, will have to hire someone to flush continuously, and that takes a lot of money. Second, and more important, this method isn’t practical in India due to the rather insignificant yet irritating problem of scarcity of water. You can use bottled water, of course, but the question of money arises again. Find your own solution.

Other methods include pesticides (the potential of motion due to spraying action has yet to be tapped), rock concerts (although here you might find here that the whole apparatus is vibrating rather than just the turbine) and family members involved in leisure activities (“Dad, will you rotate this turbine with one hand while you’re reading your book?”).

Another very useful method would be to get many copies of this essay and burn them and turn the turbine using the smoke or a beaker of water kept above the fire. This method has been found to be the best yet.