On a secluded road stood a few lamp posts. Two of them were newly installed. Then came the evening, and the two suddenly lit up, for the first time ever. It was their birthday – their first day to ‘be’ the light. After a few moments of figuring out their new world, they got into an interesting conversation. For the sake of convenience, let us call them Shine and Bright.
Shine: Whoaaa… What place is this? What am I doing here?
Bright: Whoaaa… What place is this? What am I doing here?
Shine: As if you were the first one asking these questions.
Bright: What do you mean?
Shine: Well, technically I am a few seconds older than you. And, I asked the same questions a few seconds before you asked them.
Bright: Really? And did you get any answers?
Shine: Not yet
Bright: Huh… what is the point of being older then?
Shine: Ok, I will wait to hear what you figure out then.
Bright: Of course, I will, because it looks like I am the only ‘bright’ one here.
Shine: Ok, Mr Bright. But for now, take a look at those two guys. I think they are coming here. They may know something about why we are here.
The two guys approach the lamp posts and stop underneath.
A: Hey, did you notice these lights?
B: Oh yeah, they were not here until yesterday. Looks like the municipality just placed them. That is why they are so bright. Look at that old one there… Just like that old man, Chandukaka, running out of light, and life.. hehe…
A: True. But hey, this is good. This part of the road used to be so dark. I barely escaped an accident here.
B. Yes, there were many complaints of accidents. And there was one just last week. I guess that must have opened the eyes of the road authorities.
A: Well, whoever did it, did good.
And they leave…
Shine: Wow… what was that?
Bright: Wait, you don’t even know that?
Shine: No, I mean… I mean it answered so many questions.
Bright: So tell me what answers did you get?
Shine: Well, I think… I think we are here to help people see. Our light saves people from accidents, you see. That’s awesome, don’t you think so?
Bright: (wryly) Of course, I figured that out earlier. I like that part about us, and I guess they must have meant me, being brighter than others… than that old one next to you. Look at him, is he even alive?
And they suddenly hear a mature but shaky voice joining the conversation.
Old one: That’s enough.
Shine & Bright are shocked.
Bright: So you can still speak?
Old one: Yes, I can. And let me tell you, I have been here longer than you and know more than both of you combined.
Bright: So? You may have lived more, but that doesn’t mean you are bright.
Shine: Hey, that’s enough. What is your name, by the way?
Old one: Well, they call me Flicker.
Bright: That says it all.
Shine: Stop it, Bright. He is an old guy, he has been longer than the two of us. He must have more knowledge about our purpose here.
Bright: Ok old man, what do you have to say?
Flicker: Well, this, Mr Shine here is right. Our purpose is to help people see better when all around is dark.
Bright: So, you have nothing new to say, then?
Flicker: Well, I have. There comes a time when someone brighter than us appears, and they don’t need us anymore.
Bright: Really? Are you kidding, old man? Didn’t you hear what those two guys just said. WE help the people avoid accidents. I don’t know about two of you, but I am no less than any superhero here, ok?
Shine: Bright, I think you need to hear this old man out here.
Bright: I am not listening to him. His old age has gotten over him. He is saying, there are others brighter than us. Can you believe that? I mean you can, but I don’t. There is no one other ‘bright’ one. This old man here is jealous of us and so he is making up these stories to belittle us.
Shine: Well, hold your horses here. You think you have been here long enough to claim that no one else is as bright as you are? But what if there is?
Bright: That is a lie.
Shine: But what if that is true?
Bright: Ok, let us hear him out. But if he is lying, this will be the end of our friendship.
Shine: Oh well, thank you for considering me your friend. Mr Flicker, please tell us more about this big light.
Flicker: Yes, there comes a time when this big light appears. They call it morning.
Shine: Ok, so how shiny is this morning?
Flicker: Well, morning is the time when it appears. The light itself is called the sun.
Shine: Ok, and how bright is this sun?
Flicker: Well, to put it mildly, it is bright enough to make us useless. That’s why they will put us to sleep when it appears.
Bright: Enough. This old man is really out of his light. Didn’t you just hear, without us, there will be accidents here again. It will be all chaos. People need us. We are their saviours, don’t you just get it?
Shine: No, I do. I really do. But what if we are their light only for now? What if the morning is really coming? What if… what if people will not need us anymore, and what if we are to DIE.
Flicker: That’s the word—DEATH. Mr Bright, don’t think you are too far from it when you make fun of my light, just because you heard a couple of guys say nice things about you. You haven’t met those who love darkness and chaos, and hate light even if it were to come and live among them. And they will kill you for this very light you are so proud of. So be very careful of what you say.
Shine and Bright become speechless at that.
Flicker (clearing his throat after a brief pause): So, please take pride in your work, in your ability to shine, to expose darkness, but remember that your light is a mere shadow in comparison to that which is true light. That will keep you humble and confident. That is what I have tried to do all my life, and now my time has come. I may never see you again, but when you have seen the sun, please pass on this wisdom to other lamp posts.
Shine: I already see some light coming. Is it time for us to sleep?
Flicker: Yes, that is it. That is morning. The sun is coming.
Bright (shakily): Hey, Mr Flicker. So what now? Am I going to die now? I was just born. I don’t want to die so soon.
Flicker: You won’t. At least not now. For now, they may put you to sleep, until you are needed again. But one day, yes, you will. We all will.
Bright: Really? How do you know that?
Flicker: I once overheard two people talking. They spoke of a light that they said was brighter than the sun. They even said that perhaps the sun itself might not be needed any longer.
Bright: What? Really? That is kinda scary. What about us? Will we not be needed any longer?
Flicker: Maybe not, but we will find that out. Maybe when the True Light appears we will be able to ‘fully see’ our real purpose in its light.
Shine: Guys, stop talking… look at that.
Ficker: Now that’s what I was talking about. The sun… Maybe the last one that I may see in my lifetime.
All of them look at the sun, as the power is turned off and they are put to sleep.