Stories from the Burning Hearth

A sacrificial fire was burning at one end of the hall. People were seated with folded hands some distance away from the makeshift altar. Smoke emanated from the miniature inferno that was raging inside the receptacle. The priest was chanting hymns and intermittently interring articles like fruits , grains, ghee into the holy fire. Flames leapt out of the receptacle, like vicious serpents flicking their forked tongues trying to intimidate their captors. The room was filled with smoke from the ritual fire and was resonating with the hymns. The atmosphere was solemn and we silently sat and watched the proceedings.

The smoke and the reverberations in the hall seemed to dull my senses.  I simply gazed into the fire, my mind totally numb. It was akin to being in a narcotic stupor. I could see the flames jumping about randomly in unpredictable patterns. But as I continued staring into the fire, the randomness and chaos gave way to patterns. I could make out people, animals, objects in the fire.

“Hold On!!! Is it trying to tell me something?” I thought to myself. I felt a dash of excitement coursing through the coronaries of my heart, imagining that I was interacting with the fire; as if the burning oblation was reciting a story. I tried to concentrate to understand the message that was being passed on to me; as if among all those sitting in this hall, I was responsible for it; as if I was the’Chosen One’.

“Dada, let’s go out.” I felt a tap on my shoulder. My trance was broken. It was my cousin; he wanted me to go out of the room with him. I asked him to wait, took out my camera, focused it on the flames of the ritual fire and took as many pictures as I could.

I tried to find out if I could identify any shape or find any story in the pictures I took. Here are three of them.


This frame looks like the flames are depicting a pair of dancers, a tall man and a short lady with beautiful long hair.


1.Two ladies sitting side by side on a bench on a sunny day. The one on the left is holding an umbrella in her left hand. The one to the right is holding up her right hand to block the glare of the sun from her eyes.

2.Two ladies sitting side by side on a bench. They are terrified as they look over their shoulders to find a big monkey staring down at them.


An evil, air-borne wizard terrorizing people. A girl with folded hands begging of the wizard to spare their lives.


Can you see anything else in the flames. Tell me what you see. Share with me your story?

This post in response to the Daily post prompt Burn


3 thoughts on “Stories from the Burning Hearth

  1. An eagle falling down, the face of an old man watching a pair walking by, and someone kneeling in front of a person sitting on a throne. I is for imagination running wild=D Nice post, thank you for sharing!


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