Light travels far | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Light travels far

It was a pleasant Sunday evening. I was sitting on Marine Drive, relishing corn on the cob, as my legs dangled playfully from the parapet walls. I was enjoying the breeze against my face, while the ocean waves hit the rocks rhythmically. At a distance, birds flew across the fluffy, crimson clouds that were making way gracefully for a deep-blue-moon-lit sky. Writes Anusha Singh.

chandigarh Updated: Dec 10, 2014 15:20 IST
Anusha Singh

It was a pleasant Sunday evening. I was sitting on Marine Drive, relishing corn on the cob, as my legs dangled playfully from the parapet walls. I was enjoying the breeze against my face, while the ocean waves hit the rocks rhythmically. At a distance, birds flew across the fluffy, crimson clouds that were making way gracefully for a deep-blue-moon-lit sky.

Suddenly, the music of the waves was broken by the call of a vendor behind me: "Buy a lantern, madam." I turned around and saw a young man attempting to sell me bright red and yellow sky lanterns made of paper. These have an opening at the bottom for a small flame that keeps the air inside hot for the lantern to take flight.

They looked interesting, so I went for one. Little did I know of the meaning carried in this simple piece of craft. It was night soon and I could not see the waves clearly any longer, so I got up and got on to the walkway, which is when I noticed a yellow sky lantern in the air, drifting far away. It resembled a scene out of my picturesque storybooks from childhood. The tale of a large hot-air balloon carrying a princess with her basket of fruits and cake to Fairyland flashed before my eyes.

As I walked further, I was attracted to the excitement of a family that had just purchased one of these lanterns and placed it in the middle of the walkway. The family formed a human chain around it, with elders and parents smiling in the anticipation of releasing the lantern, and the children gleeful at the thought of watching an object go up in the air.

The youngest member of the family proceeded to light the flame with a little help from the vendor. As the lantern lifted, the family started clapping in joy. Soon, the lantern rose to a tree level, then higher than the tallest Marine Drive skyscrapers steadily, and then it was beyond the city skyline. I couldn't take my eyes off it until it disappeared, which brought me back to the earth, to the family now beaming with positivity.

A light smile played on the lips of the parents, while the elders couldn't hide their contentment. My heart was filled with emotions, but my mind felt empty. To explain it metaphorically, I felt weightless.

It is amazing how a simple act of letting go can make anyone feel so liberated. The sky lantern is bought not to possess but to release. It is with us only for a few moments but there is no joy in keeping it. We are happy when it is out of our hands and high off the ground. The farther it flies, the happier we feel. We neither give it any destination nor do we wish to know where it would end up and how.

It is a symbol of letting go, of the baggage of the past that holds us down, those sad feelings that have made cobwebs in our mind, things that clutter our material environment, and all what is within grasp.

As the glowing lantern soars, floating freely in the skies, hitting turbulence occasionally to rise again in the new wind direction, our lives can also be as light, as simple, as beautiful as the humble lantern, if only we are ready to let go.