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




The Precedent
 
They were a  very talented tribe. Fashioned by the God himself. Each member unique and accomplished in his/her own way. There was none like them, literally! For all around them, stretched miles and miles of grasslands. No sight of any other humans at all. They were, in all probability, the only human tribe on the planet.

Talent-wise they were super-stars of their time. While some were master story-tellers, some others were resourceful organizers. While some were expert technicians, able to craft tools and implements out of thin air, few others were smashing combat hunters, deft at the martial arts. Their talents kept them busy. They were communicating, interacting and active all the time. Everyday they would enjoy loud lunch gatherings and night-long celebrations. The tribe just had so much life...

Yet in their midst was one, very aloof and lonely. They called him the bearded guy. He would roam the woods alone, sit evenings by the river, and eat fallen berries. He would sleep the night in open ground, resting his head on a log and watching the stars, while fighting a strange paranoia that something was going terribly wrong with the tribe. A feeling that said, "Yes! there is a lot of life in the tribe, but are they all really living well?" Each tribe member was good, no doubt, but they were also constantly trying to get better... than the others!
 
It troubled him often, that maybe his brethren's talents were growing beyond limits, that someday they would clash due to it, and then they wouldn't be able to live like brothers anymore. And everytime the thought came, the night wind howled in his ears, sending a chill down his spine, as if it was trying to sound him a warning...
 
The Plague
 
Then one day, the unthinkable happened. A plague hit their land. Animals died in scores. Some of their brothers succumbed too. The tribe was forced to migrate. They hastily took off, leaving their homes behind. Crossing the barren plains, they reached a cliff, which overlooked a gargantuan rocky mountain. They had never gone beyond it, but heard that a promised land, a land of milk and honey, lay on the other side of the mountain. Thus the tribe embarked on its legendary journey.
 
The Exodus
 
As the group traveled, walking by foot around the mountain, tensions began to mount. Hunger, fear, fatigue and restlessness preyed on their minds. In the sadness of losing their homes, they started blaming each other. The story-teller accused the organizer, while the hunter got into a fight with the technician. The bearded guy watched all this, and felt a wrench in his gut as his fears were coming true. Then, as he was about to cry for peace, there was a roaring thunder and the mountain top exploded with blinding light...
 
The tribesmen ran for their lives, hiding under scattered boulders. There was fire and ash and a roaring voice that none understood. It went on for an entire night. In the morning, when normalcy returned, they came out of hiding to find green pastures beyond the mountain. It was their promised land. As they ran towards it, they stumbled upon two etched stone tablets at the foot of the hill. They wouldn't stop to read it themselves. Also, when the bearded guy picked them up and started reading aloud, none would stop to hear him either.
 
The promised land of God had been gatecrashed. No! they were not ignorant; they only chose to ignore..

The Consequent
 
The promised land had much to offer, and the tribe went forth and multiplied. The technicians spawned scores of engineers and doctors. The organizers gave birth to leagues of politicians. The master story-tellers bred generations of journalists and artists. The hunters descended into hoardes of military. In no time, the land was full of life. And in no time, resources became scarce too.

There was much talent, but no opportunities. Forests became deserts, and what little was left was guarded by high walls. Creativity was tied down by norms and conventions. Religion became the opium of the masses. As need increased, greed did too. Everyone began to hone their talent to survive, and the talent to live was all but forgotten. The world began to huff, puff and pant, struggle and bellow to get its act together. Morals were relegated to murals. 'Civilized man' was more of an oxymoron. Trust and Faith, mere keywords. Truth and Loyalty, were names of fashion brands. Love became more a verb, than a noun. Respect, was the name of a dog that lived on the garbage dump.
 
>> And the Moral Awaits...
 
The mountain of life was on fire and everyone was running, running and running. They waited out the night in shelters, hiding from the howling night wind; in the morning they begin running again.

And the commandments continued to wait for its believers - to shine forth upon the world. The rays of life waiting to help those lost in the race of life.

They say the bearded man continues to roam the woods, alone. That every night he climbs up the cliff, not to look for stars, but to hold aloft the stone tablets, for all to see. And that is when, they say, the night wind begins to howl into everyone's ears down below...
 
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PS: A submission to the "Moral of the story" contest on Indiblogger in association with Colgate Pro-gum Health 
 
Disclaimer: Any resemblance to traditions/myths whatsoever is only with illustrative intent and not to derogate or ridicule any institution/religion or their beliefs therein.
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