"A profound unmitigated loneliness is the only truth of life"
- R.K. Narayan




When he was born, it was prophesized that he would be an extremely smart kid but would live only a short life of 12 years. His parents could not digest it in the beginning, but as time passed and it sunk in they began to prepare for that fateful twelfth year.
 
Though they did not believe in prophecies, they did not want to leave anything to chance.
 
So they prepared... the boy was fed utmost hygienic food with a bunch of nutritionists advising them all the time. He was kept under constant medical supervision - doing frequent tests and diagnoses to keep his health always in the best shape. He wore new garments every other day and lived in a moisture-controlled room. They made the tutor come to his home so that the boy was shielded from any risks from the health outside. They rarely travelled anywhere so that the chances of accidents was greatly minimized. The house was built with modern technology so it could resist earthquakes, cyclones, and even the biggest of thunder and lightning.
 
All this went on for twelve years and then... the twelfth year came!
 
The parents wanted to do additional protection for this year and, so, they left no stone unturned. The boy was locked up in is room, not even stepping out. Hi-tech scanners were installed all over the home to scan the food, the air, and every person going in or our, in order to kill even the minutest of microbes from getting near the boy. All this setup was to stay till the 12th year had passed, after which the prophecy would be proved to be wrong.
 
The boy continued to live in abject isolation. No more friends or tutors coming home to meet him, no television that would hurt his eyes, no games that would injure his body. As weeks passed by the boy began getting bored. He began cribbing to his parents but they would not relent. They had to protect him from the prophecy.
 
Finally when he requested from some books to read, they agreed. No harm coming from the books anyway!
 
They got him novels and comics. The 12 year old was way too smart for that. They got cookbooks and travelogues. It did not suit his taste. They got him subject related books, but he consumed them in an instant and began asking for more. In a few weeks, they began running out of books. Then they started getting random books on various subjects - astronomy, sports, music, gardening.. until finally, in a few weeks, they came down to books on philosophy.
 
Then, one fine day, while still in the 12th year, a book on Bounded Rationality made its way into the boy's hands. Just like all the other books, this one too had been scanned for microbes and sanitized.
 
That afternoon, after lunch, the boy sat down with the book. He began reading about the limitations of human life - about its inescapable boundaries of time, space and capacity. The book spoke about how life was merely a chance event littered with transitory accomplishments. He learnt about how passions and ambitions come and go like passing clouds. In about a few minutes, the aura of "life" began to fade away, and it dawned that the light of knowledge would never shine upon him.
 
That day, in the 12th year of his so-called "life" the boy put his first steps towards nihilism. The meaning of "life" changed for him. The zest and hope that "life" stood for was dissolved into absurdity. Life, as we know it, ceased to have anymore interest for him.
 
The prophecy had indeed come true...
 
 
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Sometimes I feel like something is gone here
Something is wrong here, I don't belong here
 
- Matthew Shafer, "In a Little While" (2002)
 
How does one belong?
 
In a world where identity is composed of name, face, and voice. How does a disfigured face belong? How do funny names chosen by imbecile parents belong? How do squeaky and whispering voices of inadequate larynxes belong?
 
In a world where speech holds power; even in democracies where dialogue and discussion is the basis of participation, how can a stammerer belong?
 
In a world where contacts are imperative, where nothing is accomplished alone and every task demands a network of influential and/or resourceful contacts, how does a loner belong?
 
In a world where knowledge is socially constructed, how does solitude belong?
 
In a world, where living necessitates buying and selling within transactional systems that invariably interconnects everyone - both the opportunists and simpletons - into a joint system of trade, wherein offenders easily transfuse themselves into the social milieu with such seamlessness that processes to flush out the guilty cannot be implemented without unduly troubling the innocent, how do the law-abiding self-respecting clean citizens belong?
 
In a world where courage is the basis of respect, how do the cowardly belong?
 
In a world where eating and breathing necessarily deal with violence of some kind upon some form of life, how do the perfectly non-violent belong?
 
In a world where Truth can never be unarguably verified, how does knowledge belong?

In a world of creations, how does the Creator belong? Thus, in that world bereft of the Creator, how do the creations belong?
 
In a world filled with imperfect bodies, how does the perfectionist mind belong?
 
 
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