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

"Sir! I am calling from the Nobel committee. The rumours in the press are true. The committee has indeed finalized your name for Literature prize this year. I confirm this only for you, as we would like you to be mentally prepared for the formal announcement in a fortnight."
"Please keep this only with you until it's officially out."
"Thanks for your time sir. We'll get back to you soon. Wish you a good day"
Phone hangs up. The beep in the line coincides with his aimlessly batting eyelids. All his life he had been running, but now it looked like he had reached a dead-end.

He wasn't like the other writers, those bright names that adorned the Nobel heritage. They were honorable, maybe! They gave their heart to what they wrote. They believed in it. They stood by their books and defended their views. Nobel prize winners evoke awe, for the lifelong dedication the laureates put into their passion. He was just so unlike them.

In fact, he didn't even remember how many books he had written. Lately, he had even stopped corresponding with his publishers. He never attended any launches or book readings. He rarely appeared in public to sign autographs. He had avoided countless invitations to speak at ceremonies. It wouldn't be totally wrong to say that he never cared for what he wrote. Everytime there was a critique or censure targeted at his writings, he would shut his windows tight and sleep it over.
Writing was for him, more often than not, a time-pass activity. Like a bored traveler who sits on the bridge and throws pebbles into the river, while wondering which train to hop on to. His essence was the waiting; his purpose was that train, but it turns out the world focused on his pebbles more than any of his real stuff.
That's the thing about the world. They keep nibbling at the surface, and never get to the core - the reality, the truth. They chew the fat, and throw the bone. He had realized it and written about it all the time... and maybe that is what they liked to read too. Fancies and Vanities. A 'conscience' deluded by the 'cons' of 'science'. People tickle themselves into laughter and like to think of it as happiness. The Nobel seemed just like one of those big tickles.
All the writing that he had done, was solely because he couldn't think of anything better to do. Some people eat in order to divert their mind, some sleep, he wrote. He wrote, not for someone to read - but they did read, and it didn't bother or concern him that they did - he wrote with a hope that the voice of his soul may spill over through his words and finally he could find himself. It seemed a futile attempt sometimes, but he could never indulge himself in anything else. Traveling seemed even more escapist, sex was just a passing passion, family was a noisy pig sty, and getting a salaried job was like sheep going to the slaughter house. Writing, in comparison, looked much less vainful, and much less painful, so he wrote..
Writing gave him a sanctuary- a way to train his mind to thrash itself. To first squeeze out all the muck - those tumors of emotive bundles that plagued his mind - and once that was out, he could hope to see something pure. A heavenly beam of genuine worth.
But panacea, there was none- only a delusive haze; sometimes puritan, sometimes puerile, but never the purity that he beseeched.

For a moment, he tickled himself with a funny thought. Why not refuse the Nobel? But then Jean Paul Sartre had rejected it too, and what happened to him? He got sucked into the swirl even more. They never chose an alternate and tagged it to his name (though he had rejected it). People admire Sartre even more now. And that's exactly what Sartre warned us about. "The other is hell, because the other labels you. In your world, you are a living person, but when you meet the other, you get labeled. The other, comes and objectifies your existence"
Sartre's words always echoed in his mind. He wanted no labels - neither the noble (pun: Nobel) ones nor the derisive ones. He just wanted to be left alone. And now, with the prize, he would be labeled, not just in one person's world but in the world of worlds. The last of his sanctuaries was being taken away. He had no place to run anymore.
"Hey wait, hold on for a moment. The guy on the phone said they have a fortnight to make the announcement, which means, they still have time to reconvene. Nobel cannot be awarded posthumously, so let me force them to choose an alternative."
And then, it dawned upon him, that writing wasn't his sanctuary at all- it was actually his train, that drove him through the tunnel of life, into a blinding light, where lay his eternal sanctuary.