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

I dont have an answer to this question.

But I also dont have an answer to why Aishaat Abu Aishaat, the mother of two children, opted to blow herself up at an Israeli checkpoint and leave her toddlers at the mercy of fate. I fail to understand why Mohammed Atta, a professional degree holder from Cairo University and masters graduate from Hamburg with the highest credits, volunteered to use planes as missiles, on 9/11, in THE worst terror attack on America. I am dumbfounded about why Subedar Baan chose to get posted in Siachen Glacier, the world's worst battleground at -60 degrees and 22000 feet, where a loss of concentration for more than 30 secs would get you shot to death. I have no idea why Sudan loses 14 black Catholic minorities every hour, why Daniel Pearl walked into a beheaded end, why Siddartha left all his riches and went out in the search of truth!!

I ask this question every moment I meet somebody. Then I feel maybe I am getting unnecessarily judgmental. Maybe I have started believing in some utopian lifestyle and starting getting opinionated against everything else. I dont know makes me tow this line... is it ego?

The above references were extreme. Terrorists, Psychos and Military are objects of curiosity for most people. Ordinary people that we meet in everyday life also are things that I wonder about. I observe the wayfarers... people waiting in the bus-stop, shopping at the market, selling wares, cops trying to be in control, beggars trying to get sympathy in the form of alms, street children making a toy of almost anything they get their hands on, motorists trying to get into any small space available... people at a hotel, the waiters going about their work... gathering at a party... multitudes of attitudes and so many different philosophies going around. Is there a common thread in all of them. Is there something common that drives them all? What makes them be like the way they are? Why are they and the whole of the world as it is... and why not in some other way?

Probably its easier to get that answer for the examples that I took above and not in the case of the commoner. Sometimes I just resign to wonder and rest my mind with the fact that probably nothing can justify the cause called "Survival"...
"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.." ...and I did not think much neither do I remember which one I took, but I know that has made a lot of difference.

"Just imagine what Columbus would have discovered if America had not got in the way!"

The Columbus analogy draws a very subtle picture of potential and accomplishment. Even if the whole world lauds one's achievement, it could be far disparate from what one really wanted to achieve... what one was capable of... I had met a very accomplished personality at one point who had a very happy family, smart kids, loving wife and a very powerful job. Everybody he knew was proud of him, except himself. Somewhere deep inside he used to want to always do something else. He used to tell me it was to be a mathematics school teacher, but I am sure that was not "exactly" what he wanted though I could sense the feeling.

The world has a pre-conceived notion of what life should be. An accepted set of rules to measure the success of one's life. And it is this that breaks some divine journeys well short of their success. We all tend to measure ourselves up with the yardstick that is set by the convention. Even the ones who call themselves radicals, are eventually just following a convention less followed.

Why can't each one of us just have their own rules of living their life. It is true that SURVIVAL is the ultimate goal and there are some basic tenets of having to live in this world. In order to survive, everyone has to go through one of the set paths. So, then is it being a human that stops us from venturing out in the wild? Even though we are the most intelligent of beings, dont we really have the freedom to use that intelligence?

Can't we see life in a totally different perspective? Not have a yardstick to measure at all, not have standards to live up to, not have conventions to follow? Can't each of be free to take the path of our choice when we reach the cross-road of life?

Alas! the paths that we can see are the ones that have been tread upon by others. In that case, do we really have to choose a "path"?