Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Kerala is being blacked out sector by sector and town by town. Every day, whether the sun shines through the cloudy skies, whether tourists with their back packs touch down or not to Trivandrum or Kochi, whether dogs howl at night sensing supernatural engagement, whether liquor shops resemble crowded rock show’s or not, the lights will be culled and the candles will be lit.
Candles have a special place in churches. Apart from the number of candles to be lit and displayed, many church traditions agree that we should light candles as it signifies how we should burn out while we provide light to others. But lighting candles for day time services takes the glitter out of the lighted candles as we cannot concentrate on them.
Just as we thought that the significance and place of the candles would fade out, the communist led government in Kerala introduced the power saving power cuts, also called, load shedding and electricity cut. Families are now put in darkness for half an hour when they light candles and look at them as if they are a new addition. (The same goes with the beauty of watching stars in the sky in the absence of any other light).
Recently I realised that it is not just that the induced electricity cuts have brought back the candles into the limelight, but prayer has also become a part of Christian families. With the onslaught of television soap operas (serials) and reality shows, the folks at home started finding it more and more difficult to find time for prayer. One programme would follow the other and prayer would then go to the back burner.
All that has changed. Now many families time their prayer to the time of the electricity cuts. When the power fails, everyone flocks together like chicks and start praying. It is strange and funny at the same time. The ones who say they believe in the power of prayer, start praying when the T.V. goes dead and the ones who question the existence of God, provide the fillip or the stimulus for prayer. Lal salam…ahem…amen.