Light my fire

by Ashish

Of the few things that your author thinks he does rather well, he prides himself the most as regards his ability to think things through.

He’ll be the first to man up and say that he doesn’t always implement whatever it is that he’s thought through, and in fact, this would be edging towards the top of the considerably longer list of things that he doesn’t do well, but let’s just harrumph and move on from here, shall we?

The thing is, even the undersigned, he of the keen intellect and incisive reasoning, remains befuddled by some things that he sees on this planet. He fails to understand, for example, the reason behind the enduring popularity of the song “My heart will go on”. He cannot comprehend, for another, exactly what the Pune Municipal Corporation hopes to achieve by constructing the monstrosity known as the Bus Rapid Transport System. Come to think of it (and you see what I mean about the ability to think things through?), he cannot comprehend the Pune Municipal Corporation altogether.

But of all of these things incomprehensible, there is one that has remained firmly beyond my ken for years on end. I speak, or attempt to, at any rate, of the decorative candle.

It has always been, and I suspect always will be, a thing of utter mystery. Why does anyone buy the damn things?

Consider the evidence against them – they perform no useful function. Thomas from Menlo Park perspired well over a century ago to come up with an invention that, one would have thought, would put candle makers out of business more or less permanently. And his original invention is now magnitudes better due to years of research and development. Strike one against the d.c.

Second, they are a safety hazard. One of the chief reasons behind Thomas’ invention zooming up the popularity charts was the fact that light bulbs hardly ever cause your house to go up in flames. It may have done so in the past, I grant you, but I would submit, m’lud, that the chances of a bulb being an undercover arsonist are vanishingly small today. Strike two.

Third, and what I say now will bring a manly tear to every battle hardened husband’s eye, they are eye-wateringly expensive. They’ll sit there, on pretentiously expensive shelves, wrapped in hideously ostentatious wraps, festooned with tiny strips of golden coloured papers, simply awaiting the next pair of hands to pick them up. Said pair of hands shall then lovingly inhale whatever miserable fragrance the blasted things are infused with. Owner of said pair of hands shall then place the offending object under the pained nostrils of battle-hardened husband. Who shall sniff dutifully, and say “Very nice.” And then shell out around a grand for the wicked dollop of wax. Strike three.

And if an object is so blatantly offensive, so obviously a safety hazard, and so blindingly useless, then why, pray, is it not in the same category as the dodo by now?

A mystery for ever and ever.

Now if you’ll excuse me. We’re going for a house-warming party tonight, and I need to submit my nostrils to some Geneva-Convention-defying exercises.