Let me begin with my sincere apologies for being away from the blogging scene for so long. I was busy enjoying the books of the local library, and was too lazy to boot up the laptop. But this evening’s experiences and musings compelled me to shake off my laziness and start up the smart-machine and key in my thoughts and reflections.
It is Sunday evening, not even a fortnight to Christmas now; and there is a definite cheer in the air. We have had a lovely weekend, and I urge the husband to step out with our little one and me to take a stroll around the neighbourhood.
I have always been a sucker for festive lighting. Reluctantly, the guy agrees, if only to get me to shut up about sparkling lights. He lays down his one and only condition – we are driving, and not walking this evening.
I shrug and agree, I don’t care either way as I’ve already had my quota of my daily walk and then some more earlier today. In fact, I’ve been out walking almost all day thanks to a sudden burst of lovely sunshine after more than two weeks of cold, wet rains.
We step out and get into the car, with who else, but the husband volunteering to drive since I am loathe to carry my wallet and my driver’s license and my phone. I want to be hands-free, you see.
He keys the car, and all of a sudden, it is as if he’s the one in the festive mood! He weaves the car in and around our neighbourhood, and I happily roll down the window, clicking random pics of gorgeous and tasteful Christmas decorations.
As he zigzags the ford from one street to another, I am mesmerized by the beautiful houses that people have so lovingly built and decorated, and I start day-dreaming about having a house of our own someday – complete with the riff-raff of two-storeys, a patio, fence, backyard, and of course, a dog or two.
The world runs on dreams, my dearies!
And the man suddenly points to a gorgeous white picket-fenced house and says, “look at that one! See how charming it is! Of course, a house is a house only if it has yellow lights. White lights kill the look.”
That sets me thinking, for in India, we swear by bright white tube-lights, and glaring white CFL and LED bulbs. It always takes me a couple of days when we fly back to India from whichever country we are posted in at the moment. The adjustment from the soothing, natural-seeming yellow lights to the bright white ones seems a bit jarring and shocking to my senses.
And then I go down the memory-lane. As a child, we always switched on the special yellow-lights chandelier whenever we had guests; and this history is true amongst many of my friends, who vouch for the warm welcome feel that yellow lights afford.
The typical dreamer me starts imagining a warm fire in the hearth of the home, exactly why, a lot of houses even today boast that the kitchen is the heart of their families – it isn’t just the food, albeit the greedy me would give food the top rank. It is the heat, the warmth of the cooking fire, oven or microwave.
Why are we so attracted to this yellow light? Is it because the natural sunlight seems yellow to us? Why is man the only animal to be enthralled by fire, while all other animals shy away from it? Is it because our intrinsic nomadic cave man tendencies are still ensconced deeply somewhere within us despite all the fantastic ‘progress’ that we have made?
Man and his love for fire dates back to cave-man ages and probably even before.
Being the voracious reader that I am, I remember reading once, that man used to light fire just at the entrance to his cave to ward off predators. In some other stories – both fact and fiction, probably pertaining to the era after cave-men, I have read how man would travel from place to place in hunt for food, and how he would feel relieved whenever he saw the fires at a distance, which would signal to him that there was human population there.
Even in today’s modern times, when there are beautiful decorative electric candles and lamps and light strings available in the market, we feel the need to light an oil lamp/candle while offering prayers to whichever Deity we follow.
Whichever part of the world we may be from, not one of us can deny the feeling of safety, of comfort we feel when we enter a home and see a homely fire in the fireplace or in the kitchen. It is what keeps us grounded to reality, to our roots, and to ourselves.
Fire-lamps placed outside homes lend a magical quality to the home. I feel as if such a home can never be touched by anything evil, and that the tiny lamp outside ensures continued happiness of the people inside.
The fire, the yellow lights, remind me of the inherent power of mother nature – the rays of the sun. How we need her magic to show us the path from darkness to light. How we need her magic to beat the cold. How we need her magic to help us stave off our hunger. How we need her magic to survive and to live.
This is the reason why yellow lights are so appealing – they signify warmth, welcome, and well-being.
Season’s Greetings people!