I sit in the semi darkness with a single birthday candle burning, in a steel bowl on my Mosaic tiled floor. The birthday candles are replacements for misplaced candles and torches so often used in the power cuts that haunt this city.
I switch birthday candles every 10 minutes. As I pass the 3rd birthday, I get tired of the routine and let the unused 17 candles lie the box. As the last candle burns out, I move to sit on the sofa near the window so that I can feel some remnants of the soft cool breeze that followed the humid afternoon and the off-season drizzles this evening.
I sit in the darkness staring out of the window. Most of the windows in the apartment building opposite my window are dark. It's any one's guess whether there is anyone sitting in the darkness on this Wednesday evening. A single window throws the faint glow that could only come from a candle. I see and hear things that one only notices in complete darkness, when there are no distractions - no TV or laptop, no books and its too risky to use the phone for fear of the battery running out before the power comes back on.
Somewhere in darkness outside a hear a baby crying. I hear the mother murmuring something to the baby. I hear faint sound of music coming from a nearby apartment. I imagine a family or a group of friends sitting around a battery operated music player or a laptop listening to music. I hear footsteps in the corridor outside. Voices calling out to each other. I hear dogs barking in the distance. I check the door locks again and go back to my sofa. I see little. Imagine a little too much. :-)
I look at the window a floor up - across from my apartment. I see someone, possibly a guy from the shape of his head and hair standing in the window trying to catch some of the night breeze. I see he's decided to risk the phone battery. And wonder who he's talking to.
I try practicing the flute for a bit. I feel a little less guilty about ignoring it for most part of the year, after I've spent some 30 mins or so practicing. I wonder what my neighbours think of the strange noises emanating from my house in the darkness.
I sit back, leaning against the cushions and stare at the ceiling. Strange patterns form on the ceiling and walls from the headlights of cars passing. I think of people leaving their houses to escape the darkness, driving off to dinner, or possibly just driving off.
I sit back wondering whether I should turn in early and for once get a full night's sleep. But the lights come back on suddenly. I blink for a second or two and go back to my distractions. I don't even notice the windows opposite me.