1000 Lamps

Gayathri flings her handbag on the sofa as she dashes towards the kitchen, pulls the refrigerator door open, feels the sweat run down her face on to the floor as she  blindly reaches for the bottle. She gulps down the cold water and slumps down on the kitchen chair . She stays there for a long time looking defeated when her eyes fall on the silver lamp placed in her pooja room and immediately her face lights up.

She jumps up from her chair, skips to the bedroom, opens the closet, reaches back for the small package, unwraps the old newspaper cover and with a smile places a black coloured simple but elegant looking oblong shaped oil lamp on her palm. She moves her hand up and down enjoying the feel of the lamp against her palm while noticing that though the lamp is traditional in nature it has a modern flair to it.

Yes!! This is the ideal return gift for the guests who will be attending her house warming ceremony. She had bought the beautiful lamp from Shravanabelagola few months back while touring with her family on her fortieth birthday.

Over the next few days, she hunts for the lamps in her city, Chennai, until she is guided to look for it in Tiruvannamalai by a vendor in Vadapalani. She manages to get in touch with a vendor in Tiruvannamalai who has those lamps but almost drops her phone when she hears the price. She hits a dead end but soon comes up with another idea! She painstakingly calls one hotel after another in Shravanabelagola asking if they could help her in procuring those lamps.

At last one of them hurriedly informs her to wait for a call. Next day she gets the call from Muthiah who is eager to craft out those lamps for her at a very reasonable price. But the issue is that he has no bank account to which she could transfer the money and he doesn’t have a clue as to how to deliver those lamps to her. So Gayathri decides to collect the lamps in person.

As soon as he lets her know that the lamps are ready to be picked up Gayathri sets out on her journey to Muthiah’s house. She catches a train from Chennai to Bangalore and then hires a car to Shravanabelagola.

She soon finds herself in front of Muthiah ‘s house. As she steps out of the car she is hit by the scene of small children, dogs, cats, goats, hens all sharing a very tiny front yard with a young lady washing clothes beside them. She sees a man around 60 years old accompanied by a lady rushing towards her with a huge smile to greet her. She identifies the man and the woman to be Muthiah and his wife.

Soon the children gather around her and she wonders out loud as to why they aren’t in school for which Muthiah replies that his grandchildren have taken leave so that they could meet her! It is now that she realizes that they are celebrating the day.

They take her through a small verandah leading to the only room in the house  where she sees her 1000 lamps stacked up against the wall!  They ask her to verify that there are indeed 1000 of them before they pack it for her. She doesn’t bother to count because she wants them to know that she trusts them as much as they had trusted her to turn up at their doorstep.

She hands Rs 25000 to Muthiah which he accepts with gratitude. He holds the money against his chest and looks up as if to thank god for giving him such a blessed day. Muthiah’s wife’s eyes mist over and she asks Gayathri to let her know as soon as she reaches her home safely with her lamps intact.  

Gayathri stands in front of a huge shelf in her house that holds all of her 1000 lamps. She runs her hand over a lamp thinking about how joyful she is going to feel when she gives these lamps away to friends and family but more so in sharing her incredible story getting them!!


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