A thousand lamps

This day , four years ago,  in Bhopal, we had stood in  rows after rows of lamps around God’s pillar, looking for mirrors of lights in people’s eyes. We saw the pipal tree, up above, lighting with new found love for white birds that fluttered in half-sleep. High above the pipal shone a soft full moon overseeing a thousand lights. The moon stood on the brass pillar like a bright lamp that drove away our darkness, inside our minds.

Women took the lamps one by one, neatly arranging them at the base of the pillar. The flames licked the dark air of the night , lighting it with their fragrance.

This day ,here in Hyderabad, we saw the lamps cowering behind cardboard walls erected in the temple. The flames were bright and soft as they had been in Bhopal but there was no pipal tree through which the moon supervised the lamps.


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