Butter Lamps

Golden light streamed in from the sole window on the 2nd floor of the monastery. The window was huge, parted in the middle in a framework of six square panes, each having its own share of dust and spots. The light created a soft yellow and red hue in the room, with the shadows as dark as the color black in a moonless night. In the center 10 butter lamps burned brightly emanating a humble glow. 

She’d seen him looking at her since the time that she stepped out of the bus. She had noticed his blue eyes and boyish face go rose when she abruptly made eye contact with him when perhaps he was least expecting it. In a split second, his gaze turned away from her, all flush with awareness; of the fact that her beautiful dark eyes were following him. Blood inside him turned cold and gave him a nervous twitch. He stood uncomfortably on his two feet for a moment or two before the guide called him out. 

The group listened attentively to the guide. He was speaking about the legends, of mythical birds and animals, of saints who flew and subjugated demons at will. He tried imagining the tiger that flew carrying Padmasambhava from Tibet to the cave. He visualized the fight between the demon and Padmasambhava and the swish swash of swords, the blades of which were on fire. He was broken out of his reverie when he heard footsteps moving out. The guide finished his discourse and lead the group out in a politely chaotic exit. Everyone jostled a bit as they moved beside him. He stayed back a minute; he wanted time to look at the lamps for that little longer. As the last pair of feet were leaving the room he seemed to notice a slight movement in the dark. He stood just a bit longer to make sense of it. The next two seconds were spent in a vacuum of expectation. Just as he was about to make that first movement to exit, she emerged from the shadows. 

The window streamed golden light on her face. He could swear that he saw the lamps in her eyes. His eyes widened by their own choice and as if all life had frozen, nothing seemed to move. She looked at him standing still, unable to move, unable to run, unable to look away. A couple of seconds passed and life had spent an eternity. 

Something told her what had to be done. She moved close to him and took his hands in hers. She turned her face up towards his face and realized that he was tall. She stretched herself, and in a moment, found herself on her toes, still falling short. She pulled his hands down with her hands to get whatever elevation was required. 

Her lips touched his lower lip, her eyes saw his eyes close slowly in disbelief, but ever so keen. They opened again to look deep into hers and he swore he could see the butter lamps in the middle of the black iris. They took in each other’s warmth and perfume.  

The soft bells of the prayer wheel kept singing in a distance. The window streamed golden light. The butter lamps burnt brightly.      

Author: Kartikaya

I am a content creator based in India. With over 13 years of corporate experience followed by my present status as an artist, I mix words, visuals and design to create engaging content across different platforms.

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