It’s gone again. Is it a wonder? Or, is it something new to be wondered at? No, it’s not. But, anyways, it never breaks its habit. Nay, it’s so punctual. Perhaps, folks can learn how to stick to a schedule from its punctuality. None in our beloved city, comes and goes, so perfectly on time as does the darling light. Yeah, it’s become our darling; as they say when something becomes scarce or rare, it’s desired by manifolds.
Is it 21st century? I doubt it. I doubt it, because candles make a good fortune here. Or, I may be wrong. Candles might be the new normal over here, like electric cars are in some places on earth. Do I whine? Am I displeased? Certainly not. I am jolly. I laugh wholeheartedly, when someone hits a pole walking in the street with phone in hand as power breaks down. In fact, light is the comedian of our city. It brings smile on our faces. Over meals, instead of pouring water into glass, sudden darkness causes it to fall into one’s lap bringing a round of laughter.
No words for the harmony it brings. An angry aunt involuntarily helps her husband light a candle. Even more than that, they happen to grope each other in the dark when they struggle to reach candle holder and matchstick, causing each other to giggle, and there the ice breaks. And, patch up. Yahoooo!
In fact, abundant power supply separates the people living in close physical proximity. Everyone holding a cellular phone, ensconced in a corner, drowned in their individual virtual worlds. But, our city is just the right place to make people aware of the presence of other beings dwelling beside them and foster harmony. Whole family, gathers under a flickering light of a candle or a fast dying emergency light; particularly, in the winters, each member gets a space in the same room, making cozy and warm ambience. They get plenty of time to treasure each other’s company. Most importantly, they devise strategic course of actions. By the way, jokes apart, or maybe not, youths are counselled for their future building. Seasoned elders of family caution young ones, what to do and what not to do. Crucial business ways are formulated and decisions made.
Thanks to the idle time provided by power departure, parents discuss thoroughly potential matches for their children. Many have found well suited partners in the course; but, on many occasions of family meet ups to see the groom or bride to-be, elusive light has veiled itself when all and sundry conditions met except for partners to eye one another. Now, what? It has to go on, when the word is spoken, means, it’s given. The tradition goes like this. Oh yeah! It’s not the case with the events conducted on days, when the Sun not as shy as our beloved power. Somehow, it still depends upon the destiny of the partners to-be whether they get a sunny day for a clear view or a dark cloudy one to have a blurred sight. Things remain not always in hands.
Moreover, the aged souls, only engage in a conversation regarding their medicine doses, otherwise, strikes up at fortune and become widely listened story tellers at lightless nights. Keenly and ardently they narrate with an incessant pace the ancient adventures of love struggle and chivalric incidents. Ironically, in almost every anecdote, the hero or the redeemer turns out to be themselves. It lowers, somehow, the veracity of heroism for the listening audience. Even, at times, minors realize the exaggeration of their high claims, and whisper and giggle over the unrealistic feats. But, I wonder at the tenacity of old souls, who don’t even flinch or make a slight concession at portraying their gallantry.
In the winters when the power travels back her home and doesn’t return for days, ghost and thriller stories take the center stage in every household. As the span of darkness stretches for hours long, and night also moves at snail’s pace. Seasons of stories are told in episodic intervals.
A story, notorious among the little ones, ranging from the age of three-to-seven is of an orphaned infant. His father was a sage. When his father packed his luggage to embark on a meditative journey, he foretold his wife that their son would become the wisest man of the town. It’ll be on her shoulders to guard him; as he inferred from intuition, evil spirits would attempt to abduct him. Well, he never returns. And, one day, her mother leaves the seven months old boy alone in the cradle, and walks out to bring back the grazing cattle from the nearest pasture. When she returned, he was gone. Anyhow, he grows up with the ghost children. After attaining adulthood, due to his sharp wit and wiseness, king of ghosts appoints him his grand vizier. A designation next to only the king in the realm. Afterwards, their kingdom conquers and expands their territory with the prudent and workable counsels of their grand vizier.
Luckiest amongst the whole populace by their own view are the school going boys and girls. A fine pretext, thanks to the darkness, for shirking the dull and boring homework. Some clever ones even trick the naïve teachers, and put the brunt of their underperformance on the power department. Teachers can’t help, but to believe them.
Sights of ladies and gentlemen donning half ironed outfits are a common place. Once, a gorgeous lady in a bank stood by a dais, was filling a form, as usual, to my eyes, she wore a kurta which was ironed from the front; and the back was wrinkled, despite, she was captivating. A gentleman, sitting next to me, on the bench, asked me whether it was in vogue in the city to wear half-pressed cloths. He turned out to be a visitor who wasn’t aware of our sacred customs.
I tell you, our saloons and barbers are adroit at carving variegated hair-cut styles and beard patterns. In this holy cause too, the coquettish power flirts and drives the poor barbers’ hands to gift unseen hair-cuts to their customers. Please, wonder not, if you visit our city, and catch a sight of a man having a little bald road running from the back of the neck till the peak of hind-head.
Having said it all, I love my city though.