It was about three o'clock in the afternoon yesterday. The sky was getting gloomy again. Then the skies opened up. Not too heavy but yet, a steady downpour. In the distance, just a hint of rolling thunder. I ignored the sound and continued doing some work on the Internet.
Soon, the unmistakable sign of the intensifying rainstorm appeared. The thunder getting louder. That meant lightning couldn't be too far away now. With a sigh, I went to unplug the telephone line from my modem. Better be safe than sorry. Once bitten, twice shy. Having already experienced a meltdown of the Internet connectivity in my house just about two weeks ago because of a thunderstorm, I was being cautious - nay, even ultra cautious despite having a surge protector near my equipment - and alert every day to avoid further modem malfunction. Too much hassle and time wastage if the modem dies again. I haven't even gone yet to the Kedai Telekom to exchange my old spoilt modem for a new one. My existing package is a lifetime warranty which means Telekom will have to let me have a new modem should the old one gets spoilt. Presently, I'm still using a spare D-Link modem.
So I unplugged the telephone cable from the modem and went back to my work. My house wireless network now being useless, I switched to a free wireless signal in my neighbourhood and continued surfing. Good, the signal was strong. Three bars out of four.
But I couldn't ignore the lightning and accompanying sound of thunder. They were getting more frequent. And suddenly .... there was a tremendously bright flash outside the window and an immediate thunderclap. Immensely loud. Almost jolted me out of my skin. Phew, I thought to myself. Lucky that I had yanked out the telephone cable. If not, for sure, my equipment would have been fried again. I prided myself for that.
However, I didn't reckon with the storm affecting the other telecommunication equipment in the neighbourhood. The first inkling of problem came when I couldn't surf through the free wireless signal anymore. The signal was still strong but all attempts to reach a website proved useless. Oh, great, there goes the rest of my afternoon, I thought. Time to curl up and go to sleep. That's what this weather was meant for, in the first place.
After about an hour, the storm had abated and I tried to use the Internet again. I replugged the telephone cable into the modem and waited for the lights to appear. A minute passed. Another minute passed. Strange, there wasn't a DSL signal. Can't be happening again, can it? Not after I had taken exra precaution. An inner voice asked me to lift the telephone handset. I did. No dialling tone. Only silence. Darn it. Now, the telephone service itself was down. Even when I connected the telephone directly to the wall cable, there was no dialling tone at all.
I phoned my wife in the office, asking her to make a report to Telekom that our telephone line was down. They asked all sorts of questions. "Is the modem working properly?" "What are the lights showing on the modem?" Heck, she was just reporting that the telephone service itself was affected and there they went to ask about the Internet connectivity. Anyway, she did manage to get the message through to them eventually.
In the meantime, I was playing Sherlock Holmes at home. Got a bright idea to phone my immediate neighbours. Were their telephone service affected too? With my mobile, I phoned the neighbour two doors from me. Their phone rang but no one picked it up. Then I made a call to another neighbour and this time I made extra effort to listen carefully over the ledge. Nope, no telephone ringing in their house either. So now I knew. The whole bloody neighbour has been affected by the thunderclap. It wasn't me alone.
For the rest of the night, there wasn't more that I could do except to watch television. And to watch my wife doing her work on the desktop. She didn't need to go into the Internet for that. Eleven o'clock and telephone line was still down. What a bummer of a day. Might as well retire for the night now, I told my wife.
This morning at about 7.45am, I was curious. Would the line problem persist for another day? I lifted the handset. Glory be, the dialling tone's back. Telekom has fixed the problem. I replugged the cable into the modem, waited until the DSL light woke up and here I am, reconnected to the rest of the village. Please welcome me back!