For the love of bonfire

LIGHT MY FIRE Living with warm memories of the bygone days and with a
Thoureauesque burning desire to ‘live deep and suck out all the marrow of life’

It’s good to warm the bones beside the fire. No time for Pink Floyd now! Time is, we are rigorously told, money. And when I cannot even buy time for home, I only wish for one thing. Especially when the cold airs from the Himalayas sweep through the city, I always long for the daily small bonfires that I used to enjoy with my folks in our hometown. The latest electric heater is no match for the pleasure from basking in the yellow and orange flames in the open. Without question, the heater—inside the comfort of my room, with a regular power supply—is much more cosy and warmer, however, it has no feel nor flavour. Or the feel-good factor of the bonfires, for that matter.

I grew up in a place where life rushes at the riotous speed of a bullock-cart. When nothing really happens, the gossips do make up for it. And the best place to eavesdrop was our local club and its backyard was our permanent bonfire place! Surprisingly, there were so many things that would accompany the gabfest and the fire: play carom, have a complete out-of-this-world experience on a couple of chess games, enjoy an alfresco meal et cetera.

The other haven was a dilapidated government school campus situated adjacent to the club. When we would literally start the fire, the whole world becomes the centre of our attention. Between the chitchat, we would pass along a Raja® packet from one hand to another or smoke those special cigarettes, which are imported abundantly to our hometown and the vicinity from Myanmar and Thailand. [I used to smoke ManSan® that cost five bucks a packet that comprises twenty fags.]

People say winter is what’s beneath Death’s robe. But it was in this season when we would got a chance to sanctify ourselves from the sin of ennui that we go through almost all the time out there. We would get woods from here and there, huddle together, play guitar and sing along with the cold weather. When I had to go home, I panted for oily foods because the sougri-kangsoi [kenaf soup or dish] and soggy bora [pakora] are really supersensitive when they are cold. In those days, dinner was always around 8-8:30pm and I would not go back home, for the love of bonfire, until 11 or 12.

Like the bora too heedless of my desire to have it afresh, I was too unheeding to the complaints from the elder folks: that I should not go out late, that I should not mingle with bad company, that I should not do this and that I should not do that. When I was in high school, I worried they might bite me. However as time advanced, I become more immune to the imagined threats from them. I realised they were just trying to scare me and that I could tolerate their sporadic ‘lectures’. Since then many more bonfires came to light my fire every winter.

During those days, some of my friends used to confess that it was better to get a thrashing than to go through endless sessions of lectures from their parents. For me, none mattered but the bonfire. Perhaps that carelessness is why I got nothing better to do in life than sit here and write this blog. Just kidding, I got some many things to do. For my livelihood, I have been living in this cosmic ghetto—people called it a metropolitan city. There’s no more load shedding that had compelled me many a night to go to the club and the school ground even if I didn’t like to. Nowadays I just live with warm memories from those times, and with a Thoureauesque burning desire to ‘live deep and suck out all the marrow of life’.

B U R N I N G   D E S I R E S 

Image by MarcusObal, retrieved on Jan 5 2010
Wikimedia Commons []



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