Vivake Pathak

Vivake Pathak


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sodium lamp

There is a sodium lamp in the centre of a park in front of my room. Since my room is on the second floor of a building, the lamp is just above the level of my room. There is a door in the room, which opens in the direction of the light. With some exceptions, I keep this door open throughout the year, sometimes for the sunlight and most of the time for good ventilation.

Through the open door, the light of the lamp comes directly in the room and falls on the pillow of my bed. So when I am lying on the bed at night and the door is open, the intense light falls right on my face and is very irritating to the eyes. I have often thought of changing the setting of my room so that I can move the bed to some other location, but I could not come up with a feasible alternative plan. Therefore, all I could do is to curse the light and to wish it to fuse. Several times, I have also imagined shooting it dead. But none of this curse and imagination has worked in my favor. Then one day something happened that changed my feelings for the light.

It was rainy season, around the end of July, and there was a gentle breeze. Just before midnight it started to rain; within five minutes, it started to pour, and the breeze became a lost wind. I came out of the room, in the balcony, and witnessed an amazing scene. In the light of the sodium lamp, the raindrops were glittering like yellow diamonds. They were in all sizes—small, big, large, and tiny—big diamonds falling from the sky, tiny diamonds floating in the air.

Generally, when you see the rain, you feel that the rain drops fall randomly, but the lamp showed it otherwise. They were falling in continuous lines and looked like garlands of diamonds hanging from the sky. The wind made these garlands sway and dance to its tune, but it did not break them. Between me and the lamp, there was a curtain made of garlands of glittering yellow diamonds, fluttering and swaying carelessly in the breeze. From very childhood I have been reading that rain is wealth. “It is not water coming down on earth; it is raining gold, pearls, and precious stones,” I remember my father say once. Thanks to the lamp, I could practically see it for the first time.

July 2007

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