Saturday, February 17, 2018
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There was a time when in winters people use to light bonfires in their compound and have fun around it especially on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. But that practice has disappeared because heaters have replaced bonfires. Moreover there are hardly any bungalows left with sprawling compounds to make that possible.   In olden times we had fireplace in drawing rooms.

Logs of wood would be lighted and the smoke would go upwards through the chimneys. I recall spending some fine New Year Eve functions at Rajiv Dhavan (Justice Ravi Dhavan’s residence)’s house. They have a fireplace. The crackling sound of the burning logs was music to the ears. That fireplace is still there and I am sure Justice Ravi Dhavan must be enjoying the delightful warmth generated by those logs.
We had a fireplace in the bungalow on Kutcherry Road now owned by Gopal Chaturvedi. I haven’t  been there for a long, long time. But I am sure if I request Gopal he will allow me to visit that room and relive those days of my childhood. Barnetts also had a fireplace in Room No 7and several occupants would prefer logs of fire to warm them and not the heaters. I also recall a fireplace at the residence of Mr Justice S.K.Verma on Elgin Road. There vis one at snior advocate S.N.Verma’s  residence too.
But the magic of bonfires can be relived on special occasions. And I had the occasion to enjoy the logfire warmth on Christmas day when my neighbours Amit Negi and Shahina Negi threw an XMas party. Every thing was wonderful-the chicken, the ‘seek kababs’ and of course the delightful cake. But the charm of the evening was enhanced manifold by the bonfire which he had lit in the centre.  It was so warm and pleasant to sit near the bonfire. These bonfires were also arranged at the GHS, BHS  annual functions which I attended. And I am sure SJC have done it too. St John’s Academy I am sure must have had more than one bonfire. Afterall their Christmas joy had leaped to tremendous heights due to reasons I need not mention!
But there is the other side too. I was talking about the luxurious side of these bonfires. But these bonfires are needed even more by the shelterless people who sleep under the open sky . Near bus-stops and Railway stations the necessity of these bonfires is felt more because those stranded there are all well to do people. They have to suffer the cold waiting for  the bus or the train.
Incidentally the district administration and the Nagar Nigam both have made announcements about setting up these bonfires. Maybe funds too have been sanctioned. But the point is: Has some one from the seniors ever gone out to check whether the sanctioned ( and withdrawn) money has been put to use? There are many who suspect that bonfires are sanctioned on paper, they are set up on paper but in reality that may not be so in all cases. 

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