Saturday, March 27, 2010

Oh! for a bit of charge

This post is inspired by this article but I realise that one's woes don't end by reaching journey's end. Most of us these days travel with a) a cellphone, b) a laptop c) an iPod unless it is part of the cellphone d)a battery charger for your camera. Of these the last does not need to be charged too frequently unless you are a crazed Japanese tourist who takes 500 shots a day. However the first three need fairly frequent charging.

Unfortunately most guest houses in India have a severe paucity of plug points. (I am happy to report that at IMSc, we have consciously provided a large number of electric juice suppliers but we are an exception :) ). Most will have one, which if you are lucky will actually work. Often the only charging point I have found is in the bathroom, presumably placed there for people who use electric shavers. Surely the number of people who carry a,b,c,and/or d is far larger than those who carry electric shavers. Then why this discrimination? One could in principle, plug in one's mobile in the bathroom but that usually means you will never hear a call. Balancing a laptop gingerly next to the sink is not an exercise I would recommend to anyone, other than those who are trying to sabotage their laptop in order to by a new one. In a guest house of one of India's most prestigious institutes, I found all the plug points to be at floor level and usually just near the entrance to the bathroom. Apart from the mystery about why it should be so, here is the added risk of squashing your precious gadget while taking a nature call in the middle of the night.

But I am being unfair. Hotels, even in so called developed countries suffer from the same malaise. Charging any equipment usually means unplugging the bedside lamp which then means you can give up any thoughts of reading in bed. This is in addition, of course to having to carry one of these whacking big adapters for those alien sockets.

Here is a solution that works for me. If you have mobiles and ipods which have a (mini) usb port, then you can plug your laptop into the solitary plug point and plug in the other devices to the laptop through its usb port. However you cannot then put your laptop to sleep all night (poor fellow) for the charging to work.

For others, you just need to wake up a few times in the middle of the night to switch the device. Or stagger their use so that they don't all need to be charged on the same day. Who said technology had made our lives easier?


AmOK said...

Certainly technology has made Complaining easier, OCO. I hear you loud and clear. I think anyone who cannot negotiate the awkward power points in the India guest houses is just too coulombically challenged and basically unfit to travel in India and should stay at home, save for some trips to first world nations. I am glad to see that you struggle on...

Prashanth said...

..have you considered a powermat?