You’ll not have troubles locating candles in Stuttgart. They are practically everywhere. It is a religious town with beautiful Churches but that is not the only purpose that these candles serve. They light candles in the kitchen after cooking, candles on the dinning table, candles on the door steps every night, candles in the drawing room on stands, candles on bed-side tables…and trust me, the electricity that we all know has reached here. They use electricity for everything else. I should say electric bulbs seem to be facing a strong competition from candles here and lose a lot of times too.

But I’m not complaining. As if Dimple Kapadia was born here, you’ll find candles of various shapes and sizes in every store small or big.

It all started last year, when we had landed in Stuttgart on first week of November, on the day of Diwali. Kumar had to get back to work the same day, I was trying to figure out where I was. He just happened to bring in four candles that evening for Diwali. But we got busy exploring the city from next day and Diwali just passed by. The candles didn’t. They stayed.

This year, I brought in more candles while setting up the new home as I saw more of them. More candles sneaked in when we celebrated our first anniversary and they stayed as we were out for most of the time. As Diwali approached, we were determined to celebrate it well this time. That meant some more candles. Finally the day came when Mom informed me that the festivities start from today, I can light the diyas (read Candles) from today for next ten days as a part of celebration. Little did she know I can light candles in this town as many days and nights all the time…

24th October, 2008. 7:34 PM, Plieningen
Finally I thought of those four beautiful candles Kumar had got last year. (In an attempt to feel organized, I wanted to light them in the order they came in.) Along with being the town of candle lighters, Stuttgart is also a town of cigarette lighters as you’ll find most adults making cigarettes, an inevitable part of their dress-code. But neither of us are smokers. And we hadn’t lit anything in this house till 19:34 PM today. [Please don’t connect me to the Time Table of Dil Chahta Hai ;)] We don’t need lighters for our electronic cooking system either.

Thus, there was a silence of almost a long minute or more when I asked Kumar, how do I light the candles? He did come up with a spark and said there’s a match-box in the store-room perhaps brought in two years back and sitting in oblivion. After some efforts, we did find that match box that had survived many cities and shifting in past two years.

Then what? We lit the candles.

Happy Diwali world…

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