One of the most beautiful pieces of prose I have read:
A snowy-white wand lambent atop stood on the table in front of me. Watery wax overflowed from the puddle below the flame. Teardrops glistening in the buttery glow rolled onto the milky mini-stalactites on the sides of the candle.
Was such a bright glow crying? The enveloping gloom seemed to make it cry. Tears of joy. A swaying smile. It lit my face in the darkness. It was six in the evening.
The power cuts in the summers of the late 80s and early 90s in Kolkata were like seasonal rainfall, interminable. They called it load shedding. When the power suppliers shed their load, we had to sit in the dark. The light bulbs seem to set with the sun. Bulbs cannot hold a candle to sunlight but in those days night meant no light. Candles were the staple source of brilliance in the night.
It was the solitary sight during the so-called load shedding. The taper was an ancient but necessary thing I used to think. Why, it was Brutus who said "Get me a taper in my study, Lucius: / When it is lighted, come and call me here/" in Julius Caesar. Homework meant two candles - one for the room and the other for the study table. And when my eyes drifted from the books to the flame I was transported to another world, mesmerized by effulgence of the honey glow.
I looked in the mirror across the room. The reflection of the candle flickering behind me, or was it in my eyes? It was beautiful. The glow brightened. I saw a feminine face. Tears rolling down her cheeks. Like the candle in the dark. Her face looked pale in the candlelight. The flickering candlelight made me strain my eyes to look at her reflection. I shielded the flame with my fingers. The glow brightened. She wasn't there anymore. Who was she?
Did she have a story to tell? The thought disturbed me. Years later I thought I had seen in the reflection of the flame other’s stories. Waiting to be seen. Waiting to be heard. Waiting to be told. I wanted to be a voyeur who desired to see it all. And a raconteur trying to narrate it all…