Now that the last candle has burnt out, I have no more fear. I have learnt to see in the dark and think through the noxious fumes. The growling of diesel generators and the conspiracies of the cabal do not distract me anymore. I was born in this cacophony and will die with it.
I see with a new clarity. I see the one who promised to declare an emergency become an emergency himself. I, alone in the dark can see; my homes are dark; my industries are quiet and one knows when they will echo with activity again. Through the fumes of generator smoke, I see the cabal staging a play on the public stage going hither and thither, conspiring to cling on to power for one more day.
Now that the last candle has flickered out, I see in the dark, a putrid plate spiced and spliced by the green-leafed curry of diesel merchants.
Through the mind-numbing, metallic monotony, I make out the tragedy of a family of six. They celebrated their elevation from the pits of daily darkness with a new generator. It turned out to be their last feast, because when the morning came, the neighbours found six frozen stiffs, choked to death on the fumes of their new generator.
Now that the last candle has run out of life, I see another family that also ran out of life – roasted to death when a power surge went through their electrical appliances. They all came out soles first. There was no explanation, no compensation, just commiseration; one more dead family. I see the artisan who can find no work, and when he does, can get no power to do his chore. I see the repairman, sallow with sorrow. Every soul in the land is broken by the burden of 6000 fairy tales; every psyche shackled by the weight of eternal darkness.
Now that the last candle can give no more light, I see with a new clarity the brave entrepreneur whose courage was crushed by the load of power; I see the millions of homes dying slowly from the noise, the fumes and the cost of generating power to light a few bulbs and to drive the blades of antique fans. I see the offices where no work gets done and the tall building no one can get into. And I see planes landing in the dark bearing strange cargoes from Saudi Arabia.
Now that the last candle has sputtered out, I await the release of sleep. I think of today’s children whose first sighting of this world is enveloped in darkness. They do not know what it means to wake up to the sounds of birds singing in the mornings, or to listen to the simple silence that sighs from nature. This generation breeds on the noise of generators, grows with the fumes of fossils and lives with the flames of a million flares. Without the drones of generators, they are restless; without the fumes of fossils, breathless; without the burden of darkness, clueless.
Now that the last candle has fizzled out, I have no more worries.
I have learnt to sleep through the heat and through the noise that seems to spring from just outside my skylight; mean medallion for many midnights murdered. I sleep through it all. I dream of my dream that got stolen; I hush my heart that got broken; I state words that never got spoken; I sparkle ideas that never got proven, and curse the crooks that kept me craven. I see everything ever so clearly in the dark.
Now that the last candle has fizzled out, I cringe inside my heart about the jokes on my land and me. For in the Scriptures, when it was said,
‘let there be light’, there was light. But in my realm, when it was said ‘let there be light’, $20 billion grew wings; I cry because mine is a kingdom where the honest are wretched, and thieving knaves knighted; I cry because eyes totally unseeing and ears entirely unhearing.
But through the tears in this shadowy, yet sparkling space, I reach the ultimate truth: that they may walk with lightening and talk like thunder; they may obfuscate reason in the sands of Saudi, in time they shall all surrender; together, all will go under. When there is time to ponder, all the white lies and dark truths will be asunder. When THAT very last candle goes yonder, there will be more left to conquer.