Friday, February 22, 2013

Flames

The smell of burning wicks and molten candles lingers long after I've trudged uphill, past the small altar with my heavy bag of groceries. Sometimes I see people tiptoeing out, watching the vulnerable flame they've just lit as they slip their shoes back on. They seem lighter, lit, and serene. Is it the handing over of their worries to God?

It was built in 1891, this altar - by the fast diminishing population of a panic-stricken village fighting the plague. The cross stands tall, the believers crouch low, the candles burn down, and faith runs high even today.

And I think of other candles. Of incense. Burnt at the altar of faith. Of incense plumes mingling with moon-like batashas as a little girl waits with her palms outstretched. Of birthday cakes and wishes made as candles puff out. Of small flames lit at dinner tables that lovers take home with them in their hearts. Of diyas and tea-lights flickering in a house till it looks like home. Of fire - pure, and unchanged in millennia - holding promises, signifying beginnings and ends.


3 comments:

Diligent Candy said...

Beautiful

sukanya said...

am so glad you are posting regularly-it is a treat, this blog of yours.

thelastbyte said...

ah, the flames we light to compensate for the extinguished ones inside that seem impossible to rekindle, and ones that engulf us back into darkness.

My favorites include the candles lit when electricity fails that lead to impromptu shadow puppet plays and the blues of the flames that heat up a pot of chai.

I especially loved your image of the girl with her outstretched palm.