A favorable coincidence. A happenstance.
Two incidents in my life, that occurred at two different places, with a gap of a year in between. But somehow, they remained etched in me. Somehow, they were vivid and clear enough, to create a deep impression in my heart.
After a whole day of seeing around, we chose to walk back to the apartment. It was a pleasant, refreshing night, close to eleven pm. Looking around, I found that the roads were quite empty. So were the streets. A small pub’s name board stood out, lit with fairy lights. At this point, I looked to my right side and found myself looking into a hall where a wedding reception was in progress. The bride and groom, their friends and family, all dressed, all bright. All smiles. But next to this, was a small church. A board read “The West Lake Tamil Church”. Something about it made me stand and look at it. It was dark and its small gate remained closed and padlocked. But what caught my eyes were two small candles, lit and kept on either side of its wooden door, which was further closed by a grill. The small flames swayed a little as a cool breeze kept blowing every now and then.
In a moment, the parallel flashed before my eyes. While the pomp and splendor of the reception went ahead on one side, two tiny flames of the candles lit the small church on the other.
A thousand questions raced through my mind.
Who lit them? What was this Church’s story? And most of all, why had this image created such an impact on me?
About a year later.
I walked on. The weather was amazing. Cool and refreshing, as against the dust and pollution of the hot day. The city looked like the night sky, dark yet dotted with lights. I stopped to wait for a bus. As usual, my eyes wandered around. Looking through the faces, still managing to catch the small things. A woman talking over the phone. Happy, giggling. An old man tapping his feet nervously.
Vehicles passed by nonchalantly. And then I saw an approaching bus.
Alright, here I go, I thought and hopped in.
Finding an empty set of seats, I crept into one, sliding into the window side as usual. After getting my ticket, I accidentally dropped a coin and bent down to pick it. And on the floor of the bus was a string of rosary beads. What surprised me was this. Unlike something that must have accidentally fallen out, this string, old and worn, was perfectly coiled. As if it had been carefully placed there. Picking it up and placing it on a seat, I tried to make sense of what I’d seen. And somehow, the next picture that popped into my mind was The West Lake Church. As I got down from the bus, nothing else was on my mind, but this.
As I share these two incidents here, there might be a difficulty in creating sense out of this. But on a level inexplicable, I find myself deeply influenced by these two images. The two lone candles on either side of a dark church door, the neatly coiled rosary beads on the bus floor. The hands that lit those candles, the hands that ran over the beads, the prayers that might have gone into them.
The mind creates connections and scenarios that might create little sense to another, but a lot of sense to the one who experienced it. And when shared, everyone, unfailingly, would remember such happenstances, incidents too small yet too significant, all at the same time.