This candle is stand is perhaps a decade or two old. As long as I can remember it has always been around. Earlier when we were growing up (read the mid 90’s) it used to be a tool for experimentation for us. Now a days the power scenario in India has vastly improved, but it wasn’t always the case. Earlier two hour load shedding (power-cut) was a daily feature. There used to be fixed time slots for different localities everybody used to know their timings. Almost every important work related distantly to electricity had to be completed before that time.
Coming to the experiment part, my mother was very strict about the daily homeworks, so if by chance it wasn’t complete by the power cut time, she used to light a candle in that candle stand and we used to study. The light used to attract many small insects and I used to trap them with a clip and burn in the flame. Though it sounds cruel, it was fun back then. Another thing which was of great interest to me was playing with the candle wax. I used to sculpt the wax into various shapes and be lost in my imaginary world. Sometimes the flicker of the flame used to intrigue me. I used to wonder what makes it flicker, is it the wick or the air, what…? At other times I used to fill the candle stand with wax and observe the molten wax flowing out of the heart shapes. Though I don’t remember now, but there used to be many more experiments and I can tell you they were all “awesome”.
Now a days power cut is not a problem any more. At least in the north-eastern part of the country it is in surplus and we are exporting it from here. Kids here I suppose don’t know what it is like to experiment with things as candles. Candles are now made only for the special occasions and are usually of higher quality. They don’t know the fun of watching a poor quality candle (wax+water) make the “sparking” sound. They probably will never experiment with their hands over the flame to find out who can tolerate heat and fire the most.
Sometimes at night when all the lights are out, I find myself back in those days. There is something about the dark night that is very soothing and comforting for me. I miss those days.