The Lantern

‘Twas the lantern. The predecessor of what you see in the picture.

The Lantern

The Lantern


It burnt kerosene on a wick. And it was tough to insert a new wick into the lantern too. Part of our daily routine was to clean (the soot from) the lantern’s glass. And breaking the glass was a usual accident we were warned of.

Then we got another new lantern. It was like we acquired a huge property. We discussed about which lantern gave more light; which wick was almost finished; and the history of where and how we got each of them.

Power outage was so frequent that half of my evenings at home were brightened by the lantern. It contributed to more than 50% of my total studies. I had eventually come the conclusion that the lantern was the only thing that could help me achieve my goals. So I kept on experimenting with it. Experiments to increase the visibility of text as well experiments that did nothing but some mental relaxation; e.g. pasting small amount of bread dough on the glass to see if they become like rotis. And inserting match sticks to see how long it took for the ignition.

Well, the most successful experiment was with the cardboard packing of a mustard oil brand-named Dhara. The packing interior had a metal finish (Aluminum foil, I guess) and it did great as a reflector of light from the other side of the lantern; Of course only when there was no need of light on the other side.
It was cool (though very hot indeed, adding to the heat of summer with no fans). I thought I would top the exams if I continue to use this reflector every evening till the exams.

Exams over and I moved out for studies away from home, then more studies, and then job. I ordered all possible varieties of (cheap Chinese) LED lamps and rechargeable batteries for home. And yes, those lights replaced the lantern.

Next vacation, I reached home in the evening and the place had no power. I entered home and guess what! It was the lantern. Dad said the rechargeable lamps were long dead and he did not bother considering some alternatives. I did not write here “better alternatives”, because he said the lantern was the best alternative.

However, I, now a days,really enjoy looking at the lantern while I am at home. It’s the whole childhood glowing in front of you.


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