26 Oct 2011

One Fire, Different Flames.

Extracts from someone’s diary

I think I was 2 when it caught my eyes. It was bright & moving left & right. Mom was making too many of them, all placed in the tray. I tried going near & dad pulled me back, he was yelling at the top of his voice. I hardly understood elders those days; it was just the orientation of the voice. If they sounded soft, meant they were being mushy, if they sounded loud, it meant I wasn’t supposed to do whatever I tried few seconds back! Ya, so that was the first time I saw that thing.

Next time I saw it I could recognize its color, it was yellow, and I was 4 then. Also understood that I wasn’t supposed to go near it; Benki, was its name.

Few years later, while I watched neighboring kids burst crackers I realized mom wasn’t around. What was around were the deepas, brightly lit. I observed it for sometime; I loved the way it danced, with the wind, I’d seen dad hold his hands around it while ma lighted. I did the same. The dancing stopped & I was happy.

I was bursting crackers the next year, all grown up & proud of holding a “plain-not-chaT-chaT-sursurbathi”. That was also the year when I tried touching it. Like how curiosity killed the cat, it burnt my finger. I was glad though, no homework for 2 weeks.

Few years passed, & I was careful while handling it. One particular year, was I 10, not too sure, I decided I have to touch it & also not burn myself. I asked this younger cousin of mine, he wasn’t too sure; we tried the “taking-mangaLarti” style, didn’t burn but also didn’t touch. That’s when the adventurer within me awoke; I swiped my forefinger through the flame, as fast as I could. Nothing happened. I became my cousin’s hero that day.

Years passed & I was assigned with the task to light them. That also when I told my aunt not to waste match sticks, light a deepa & use it to light rest.

Few more years later they married me off. You are lakshmi of the house, light the deepa, our house & our lives too, told MIL. I giggled with the thought of lighting the house, I mean setting house on fire.  

A year later, phone rang at midnight. Your husband is no more, told the caller. 24hours later, I saw benki engulf him. He did not move, & the fire hovered. 5 minutes & it was over.

100s of deepas in the front yard meant celebration, just one meant sorrow. I gazed at the deepa again, it was not just yellow, and that was just the edges, bright red in the middle & slowly the color faded.

You took away our son, echoed around the house since then. MIL managed to tell everyone who came by, even the maid. Unlucky was what they called me. Next I knew I was poured kerosene, one flick & boom.


Attention, Curiosity, Adventure, Sharing, NewLife, Life, Death - One Fire, Different Flames.