The Accidental Candle Light Vigil: Another in the “Scene” series

Posted: May 1, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. However, any similarity to persons living or dead is purely intentional :)


A busy and crowded evening outside Chembur station. So what’s new, right?

The Vashi fast had just reached Chembur and scores of passengers coming back after a hard day’s work, rushed out of the train, and towards the gate. Few alone, few in pairs, few others in smaller groups. The regulars, you know.

And as Ramdeo and Prakash came out on the street, amongst the first of the passengers, they saw this group of 5 young people – 3 boys and 2 girls – bent down, with scores of candles out there, and a whole host of rolled poster papers with them.

Hurrying home as they were, they still stopped in their tracks. The cause was important, and they needed to show their solidarity. They picked up a candle each from the road, and using the matchbox that Ramdeo was carrying, they lit the candles and stood there.

Even as many others floated out of the railway station, and seeing these 5 young people bent down with the candles and the posters and seeing the first couple of people with lit candles, most felt it to be their duty to support the cause. After all, there was strength in numbers, and it was time that the citizens united and did their bit.

“Are ye na, thodya vel thambu na ikde? Aplya fariz aahe ki nahi?”

“Aree, ushir hote ki? Accha chal, pan fakhat paanch minta ki, ho? Ghari jaoon swayapak pan karaycha aahe, ajun…”

“Hey dude, wassthis man? Cool candle light vigil..”

“Come, lets hang in for a bit.. should be fun…”

‘Nayi, nayi… main nayi rukta.. meyre ko laite ho raha hai.. khana khatam ho jayega.. phir mere ko hoteel me khane ko jaana padega.. mayy jaata hoon..”

“Tch.. saala khane ke vaste chala gaya.. aakhir desh ke liye apna koi farz bhi hai, na? Samajhta hi nahi, saal.. chal aapun khade rehte he thodi der…”

And before you know, 50 odd people were there with candles lit and waiting out there.

Ahh.. the salt of the earth, as represented by Mumbaikars. Always willing to pitch in for a cause.

Made for a nice scene just as light was fading at dusk, and the 50-people with the candles out there.

Waiting for the group of young people to get up and roll out the posters in their hands.

Oh yes, those 5 young people…

3 boys – Aakash, Dhruv and Melvin, and the 2 girls – Sonali and Ruchika.

On that crowded footpath outside the station, with their eyes on the ground, focusing on the candles on the ground, clutching at the roll of posters in their arms, and having large number of feet passing by them, as the passengers exited out of the station, in a mad rush.

And as Aakash took a breath and looked up, he sees these people standing all around, with the lit candles in their hands.

And he nudges the others to see the scene, open mouthed and unbelievable!

And as some of those people now see the young boys and girls looking up at them, they give smiles.

Smiles of encouragement.

Smiles that say, “Yes, we are with you.” or “We appreciate your initiative. This is the young India we are proud of.”

And then they point to the posters, and point with their hands (only because in all the noise, words may or may not reach), “Hey, open those up now..”

And just about then, the open mouthed 5-some finally regain their voice.

It is Ruchika in fact, who shouts, “hey, what are you guys doing.. ?”



Let’s go back 30 mins in time.. to Dhruv’s house on 11th road, Chembur..

Music playing the background, “And tonight’s gonna be a good, good night.. and tonight’s gonna be a good night..”

And the gang mumbling things to each other, shaking their heads to the song, and once in a while, with big smiles on their faces, pointing to each other, and singing along with the song, “YES, TONIGH’S GONNA BE A GOOD, GOOD NIGHT..”

The mumbling…

“So, what’s the total number of candle packets we have?”

“50 packets of 20 candles each.. that’s 1000 candles in total.. ”

“Yeah, that should be more than enough.. ”

“And posters.. how many are there?”

“Oh.. I think, we got to 20 in total.. ”

“Cool.. ”

And they started packing the stuff.

“Must you use these paper bags? Candles are heavy, you know.. ”

“No man, nothing’ll happen. Also my mom doesn’t allow us to have any plastic bags at home..”

“God, this is heavy, yaar.. and plus these posters.. shit, too much.. ”

“Those two.. Stanley and Kuljeet – saale they went off early, with no weight. They should have been here to help, no?”

“Yeah man.. especially, with the rush at the station, at this time..”

“I am just praying this paper bag holds the weight. Else we’ll have a problem on the streets..”

“Arre kuch nahi yaar, chal let’s nikal.. its going to be late.. ”

They walk up to the station, lugging the rolls of posters in the hand, and the paper bag with the heavy weight of the candles.

And as they near the station, Sonali is just not able to handle her large purse and the posters. She looks at Melvin carrying the large paper bag, with volume to spare.

Just outside the station, she stops him and says, “Open the bag..”

Melvin: “What? Why..?”

But he open it all the same..

Sonali starts putting her purse into the bag (“what WAS she thinking..?”) while speaking, “Can’t see how I’ll manage these posters and this purse while getting into the train.. so put the purse inside the bag..”


The weight, the volume, the sharp edges of the buckle of the purse.. don’t know which of these was the final straw on the camel’s back..

The bag split, and….

There were candles all over.. the weight had managed to break the thin paper covers of the candle packets as well.
Some of these rolled out to a distance on the slope there.

Screaming and shouting, the 5 of them bent down to gather all of these (still not clear, where they will park them next..).

And as they were all knelt down, and bent down, the Vashi local reached the Chembur station, and  Ramdeo and Prakash, and then the rest of them came out and took some of the candles..


Back to the present..

Ruchika shouted, “hey, what are you guys doing.. ?”

The dudes who had taken the candles and were standing out there, replied, “Chill girl.. only trying to help. Showing solidarity to the cause, man.. ”

Ruchika, screaming now, “What cause? What are you talking about..?”

Dude guy: “The one you are protesting again. The one for which this candle light vigil is being done. Oh, the one you have made these posters for..”

Ruchika, now uncontrollable, because they have lost so much time, there is chaos, and this dude is talking of a candle light vigil.. she screams, and runs around to the other 4..

“Okay, you want to know what these posters are about.. ok, here, here and here.. let’s open all of these and show these guys what this is about.. ”

And one after the other poster opens up..





etc. etc. etc.

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