When the skies have darkened into their blackest hues, and there are only the stars to account for you, a bunch of people slip away into a silent corner of the night. In the shuddering cold, gathering stacks of wood, cut, break and rip apart branches from their origins. Then, slowly, they add charcoal to the embers of light sizzling over the dry, crackling wood. For a moment, we all stop and stare into the flames.
Around the campfire we settle down, and we play antakshari. Singing into the night, the world is bright and cheerful. And slowly, some people need to go. And the crowd dwindles to a group of four or five, stoking the fire to sustain it, and attempting to prevent smoke from rising into the sky. The music becomes a calm quietitude and then it is time for stories. We all decide to create a story. But each of us has his or her own idea of what the story should be like. Ghosts, dragons, black, red and transformations melt into the ground and the trees about us.
The cold is forgotten as the stories capture our enthusiasm. And when story-time is over, we all settle down to sleep, at around five in the morning. The winds are bitingly cold, and the rocks are freezing, but the fire sustains us. We decide to wait till dawn. Finally, we decide to leave, after a short nap.Somehow, though I was sitting silently through half of it, the fire leaves one in a trance, if you bother to look into it and let your mind drift off into wonderland. Feeding the flame, we also stirred the music of the heart. Off-tune beats that jingle in the mind, and can only attempt to be perfect. Finally, the night has to end. The embers have to die down, and the skies have to turn bright blue.