imagine that you’re at home in chennai. it’s a sweltering evening that makes you feel like you’re walking around inside someone’s mouth. you’re hunched over your computer, the glow of the screen is the only light in the room, bathing your face in a spectral blue.
you’re not alone, though. you’re virtually with your friends, playing a multiplayer game with them.
it feels like the digital equivalent of a warm hug. you’re having fun.
except this hug might be interrupted by a power cut because, well, you live in chennai.
with this looming uncertainty, you're faced with two perspectives:
one, to be pessimistic and let the fear of the inevitable power cut dampen the joy you derive from your gameplay.
or two, you could adopt a more positive outlook, deciding to make the most of the game and have as much fun as possible until the power cut happens.
there's a shadow looming over you. what do you do?
do you sit there, sweating in the heat, trembling at the thought of your game session vanishing? will you spend your entire gaming session worried about the impending darkness, your every move overshadowed by the knowledge that it’s all going to get wiped away eventually.
you might avoid taking risks, never fully immersing yourself in the game, because what's the point if it's all going to disappear?
or do you grab that controller tighter and play like it’s the last game you’ll ever play?
will you see the unpredictable power cut as a reason to play harder, to explore every nook and cranny of the game while you can, making bold moves you’d never make if you thought you’d be playing forever.
would you dive into every battle, savour every quest, and treasure every interaction, because who knows when the screen will go dark?
of course, the latter is obviously better. the point has been made. but there’s a bigger point to consider—
you see, the power cut is a great equalizer. some of your buddies might have uninterrupted power supplies, some might even have fancy generators that could light up a small village.
the fact is, some of us have generators hooked to our systems—backups to promise us more time.
maybe it’s wealth, or youth, or just plain luck.
but even the best generator can falter, and even the most stable power grid in chennai can fail. everyone’s gameplay is finite, and the servers we play on are famously indifferent to our individual desires and fears.
when that power cut comes, it's not just the game that stops.
the offlineness is felt by the other players, the empty spot left in the multiplayer lobby — the repercussions of your permanent absence.
but until then, we play.
we play with the knowledge that we're all on borrowed electricity, that any second the screen could go blank and the console could fall silent.
we play not in spite of the certainty of the power cut, but because of it.
because the game is worth playing, even if we don't get to see how it ends.
because maybe, just maybe, the point isn't to win, or to play forever—it's to play at all.
the lesson from chennai’s power cuts? play hard in life. play like it’s your last game.
because when the screen goes black, and the CPU fans spin down to a stop, what matters is not the darkness, but the spectral blue light you played in.