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An evening by candlelight

And I so spent an evening by candlelight.

It does seem a tad romantic. It really wasn’t that way though.


An evening by candlelight

I went back home from office late in the night to realize that my electricity connection had tripped (I have no idea what this means in electrical terms but it does sound rather cool). No self respecting electrician in Bangalore would come to my rescue at that late hour and this not being Mumbai, (when I could have probably called one), I decided to spend the evening by candlelight.

I realised how much we take things for granted. Things like electricity. I made a list of things you can’t do as a result of the lack of electricity. You can’t charge your phone, you can’t operate any electrical appliance, you can’t watch TV, you can’t read or write. I tried some writing by candlelight and found like I was transported into one of those low lighting slow movies (like Eyes Wide Shut or something). I thought of gate crashing options and decided that I might not be welcome at that time of the night.


Writing by candlelight has a nice slow movie kind of feel to it

The most important thing I realised was that I couldn’t operate my mosquito repeller and meanwhile my rooms were swarming with mosquitos. Big, small, noisy & buzzing creatures – you realise just how much of a pest they are when you don’t have electricity.

Finally, resigned to my fate and hunger (I had not the slightest inclination to cook in the dark), I decided to try and sleep early. But I did quite foresee the difficulty in this seemingly simple act. Being a late sleeper, I found the sleep gods unwilling to descend at that hour.

My mind went back in time… About 2 decades ago to my grandma’s place : a town called North Lakhimpur. Electricity there would come for about an hour in the evening. It was a time for much rejoicing. Everyone gathered in the family room and there was excitement all around. This lasted for about an hour, till the pall of gloom would descend again as the town plunged into darkness for the rest of the night. We had to eat by the light of gas lamps peering into our plates, sometimes not quite sure what the next morsel was all about. It has to be said that there was an element of surprise during meal time.

Then, back to Guwahati where we would spend our summers. All of us cousins would congregate at my other grandma’s place. Even though many of our evenings were conducted without electricity (loadshedding was a common occurrence), we invented games to play in the dark (hide and seek for example, gets much more difficult when you can’t see). It was the days of the AGP agitation against foreigners (read: Bangladeshis) and while tyres burnt and folks shouted slogans outside and the town was ensconced in a dark cocoon, we in our innocence, continued our games.


Counting sheep by candlelight is a recommended activity

Back to the present – Kit Kit thinks the candle is a play-thing. She goes near the flame, screws her nose to get a whiff. I scream, she yelps and scampers off with her tail between her legs.

I decide to count sheep by candlelight. I am overwhelmed by how quiet it suddenly is. Without the hum of electricity and all related appliances, the sound of silence is so much louder.

As the candle burns to the very end around midnight, I finally fall into a deep dark sleep.

All in all, a rather “enlightening” experience. Try it sometime!

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