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Monday, May 9, 2011

candles

There was no electricity tonight. It left as we were on the dinner table. Perhaps because there are little kids in north-eastern without electricity and we weren't treating it right. So the first thing done was that every phone with a torch in it was switched on, thank god for those phones. And I don't get why they don't put torches in phones any more, it's not like internet capabilities are incompatible with torches. I would love to have a phone with android software and a torch application, which would be nothing fancier than an actual torch. Writing of which aren't there all those competitions that phone software people do for applications that could be useful. I can smell a winner.

The next thing to come out was the candles. I have no idea why we have candles in the house, probably cos women do the shopping, I doubt my capabilities of foresight extend to situations where I can't see the light(that's almost a triple pun.) Anyway the candles came out and were left on the table and I love candles. I love the cheap candles we use in Kenya, I call them cheap cos I found out the other day there exists a non-drip candle. It's not a new patent, not as new as my torch application for the android for sure. It just doesn't drip.

But I love the drip candles. The wax flows down it like a waterfall or a girl's hair on that one day you have to notice the difference. It forms balls of wax that bunch up in little traffic jams before it falls off. Then the wax goes down one route so that the other side looked almost deformed. And near the end all that is left the fallen and the falling. The string in the candle swims in a pool of its own creation. Ready to die in that it helped create. And this little crater forms and the candle would just nods off like a kid who thinks he can watch TV past his bedtime.

Before a candle dies one thing I always loved to do was to take some of the wax and press it against the tip of the candle string. At the place that's glowing red. Apply it like a hot poker and the first thing to happen is that the red hot part of the string switches off. Right then withdraw the wax before it melts and dampens the spirit of the flames. And then as if on a second wind the flame grows, just suddenly expands to more than its usual height. It reaches for the roof, tries to lick the air all above it and then gives up all of a sudden and settles down exhausted and angry at the journey it had to take. There is an excellent physics reason for this but not being a science blog I won't go into that. I prefer to think that when you taunt something, anything-when you step on a dog's tail, or deny people their freedoms, or not mention that her hair reminds you of candle wax- it strikes back. And I like to think of fire as a living thing. We already know it's a breathing, heaving, passionate, reckless, destructive soul, so why not admit it has a life of its own and when you wax it it works extra hard to get back at you.

In high school(I was in a day school) there were times I would be reading and the electricity would leave. And these candles would be imported into my reading room so that I could continue. That was a disaster. There is nothing more distractive(not a spelling error) than candles when one is trying to read. I burned everything. I burned my papers and watched the ash turn colour and form before falling down on the table in pieces. But the best part was the pens. Have you ever burned a pen. it's a beautiful thing to see and it has a lot of surprises in store for you.

The plastic part turns black and drips down like a candle wax, black wax with a smell so toxic Homer Simpson should be in charge of it. And this shit burns. It's painful as hell because the temp is off the track and it falls in clumps like a person losing their hair. Don't play around with it,or do. The next thing to burn is the pen itself. The ink delivery system that has a hollow tube and works in a special way that I could explain but I really don't know and I won't waste google's time with requests for this information. I think that like God google is given so many inane requests that I like to give them both breaks, though I have gotten more answers from google(hint hint big G)

Anyway when you burn that part I like to imagine the ink boiling and melting into the air giving everything in life a tint that looks a little cooler, a little bluer or blacker(I have no idea why people have pens of any other colour.) the best part of it is the nib though. As you apply more heat pressure builds up until it just pops off. But it doesn't exactly pop because that word brings to mind the sound and an action that's passive. It just stops being part of the pen. It comes out with no question about activity as frustrated and docile as the pre-viagra 70 year old.

Then the candle dies in that wax, having melted the stand that was its only true friend, melted to a small sliver of its former self, the little wax that's left is heated by the candle as the candle sinks deeper and deeper into itself before it at last disintegrates too, I like to watch this last part with the lights off. The string is supported by nothing, al it does is float on this lake of wax coming closer and closer to its end, not knowing that all the light it gave can't save it from what lies beneath. Then it goes out. Very calmly turning from light to nothing, no sound, no light, no...