Lamplight

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BY: ZAKARIYA IRFANULLAH, M.B.B.S., BATCH XX

The boy held his head in his hands while, outside his window, an owl hooted twelve times. An old fashioned oil-lamp lay on his desk and the fire inside was breathing its last few breaths. He stared hopelessly at his Anatomy textbooks. The blacks and whites on the page had begun to melt into Gray’s. The boy slammed the book shut with a scowl; he couldn’t take any Moore. As he thought of the crushing workload, his heart sunk and the fire in his lamp flickered and died down.

They say motivation is a mind-game.

Me: “Why am I doing this?”

The book: “You realize that you’re talking to an inanimate object. Get some sleep”.

Me: “You didn’t answer my question”.

The book: Perhaps… perhaps you do this, because today, in Aleppo, a seven-year-old boy lost his parents in a bomb blast that wasn’t his fault. His grandfather will take him in, and love him with the gruff tenderness and wise care that only a grandfather could have. Fifteen years from now, when the boy falls terminally ill, the old, old man will beg his Creator to spare him from the grief of losing both his son and grandson in one lifetime. On that day, your practiced hands will be the answer to the old, old man’s prayer.

You do this, because today, two lovers met at a rose-garden in Vienna. He looked at her, and she looked at him, and, in one another’s eyes, they each discovered their favourite colour. You do this, because a decade from now, when he is diagnosed with cancer, you will be the answer to her prayers. You will have the honour of being an instrument of God’s Will.

Me: “I can’t believe I’m talking to a book…”

The book: “Of course you’re not. This is your heart talking to your mind.”

Me: “Ohh. Well in that case, go on”.

The book: “You do this, because the probability of your existence was infinity to one – and yet here you are. You have a debt to repay your Creator for the Miracle of Life. He expects greatness from you. Saving a thousand lives still won’t be enough to put you in positive balance, but it’s a start. In truth, it’s only about one life. Once you save just one life, you’ll feel like it was all worth it.

When you take up arms and go to battle, remember that you fight for Life – but you also fight for Love. With each life saved, you save so many hearts from breaking.”

The lamp on his desk now burned powerfully. A confident, golden flame.

A soft smiled tugged at the edges of his mouth. Michaengelo, a man who spent almost his entire life studying the human form, said that this fundamental vehicle of expression beautifies us because it creates greater symmetry between the planes of our face.

He got up slowly, and made his way to bed. It was time to sleep, perchance to dream, but he would awake the next day with fire in his heart, and purpose in his lamp.

About the author : In my experience, the two greatest indicators of one’s intelligence are their writing and their eyes.

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2 thoughts on “Lamplight

  1. Old friend, you have written something true and it is evident to anyone who reads it, most of all you.

    The best writing reveals something of ourselves to ourselves and leaves us the richer for it. This does that.

    To my mind, it recalls a passage from Bulgakov’s ‘A Young Doctor’s Notebook’ — of the lone lighted window of the clinic in the dark heartlands of Russia, and the young doctor at his desk, writing late into the night; a beacon of hope and science in the darkness of superstition and illness. And also of the monks whose lamplit cells during the Dark Ages preserved the knowledge and wisdom of the ages past.

    So you can be proud to be a part of that illustrious pedigree with the verse you have contributed.

    Liked by 1 person

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