We used to have power crises during our childhood. A gas lamp was turned on just before the power shut down. With little radiance, the whole family used to sit around the lamp on the wall and discuss their day. This family interaction time was much like a huddle of players before the match. It was the time of boosting confidence, setting reminders and keeping the momentum going. I often hated when the hour of load shedding had finished, for I used to be amazed listening to fascinating stories about medical school and colleges of my elder siblings.
A ‘prayer of a child’ was a poem that always intrigued me. It used to be on the tip of our tongues. Often the somehow related elders, catching up after a long time, after formal introduction used to come straight to this poem and make sure we knew the prayer.
The poem was a spiritual call of a child to have a life like a candle that illuminates; a symbol of knowledge, compassion and care for the poor and the elderly. It asked for strength to stay on the right path with a hint of helping out others unconditionally.
I used to question what the national poet meant by being a candle but never got a satisfactory answer. The way I perceived was it to be an alternative source of light that is lit during load shedding and where people come to sit around and get inspired..this understanding was not too far-fetched too.
During that period, I read about Florence Nightingale, the lady with a lamp, the founder of modern nursing, who despite her affluent lifestyle chose to help those sick and wounded soldiers in compromised conditions.
Facts about Mother Teresa also gave me a vision that, ‘ not all of us can do great things but we can all do small things with great love’.
Abdul Sattar Edhi also instilled knowledge that ‘no religion is higher than humanity’.
It was then that I fully understood, the true meaning of being a humanitarian, to have compassion without discrimination of race and colour. Such people indeed are the light and the joy of universal peace.
Their ‘lamps are different, but the light is the same’.
These days, I feel our new generation is more diverse friendly, they respect others unconditionally.
Yet a prayer, to be willing to illuminate, to help others in need with resources of knowledge, compassion, time and money are missing.
‘When you let go of who you are, you become who you might be’.
In a modern world of technology, perhaps as a family, we need a load shedding time with no screens or gadgets… a time to rethink humanity!!!
It’s the candle given in our hands, with a prayer to care, it’s light should illuminate our next generation too, for it’s not only a call, but it’s also a legacy … to
‘Shine, like the universe is yours’.