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

I saw a boy at a construction site today. He was, as expected, caked in cement dust and carried a banner of unkempt-hood. But there was something painfully unkempt about him.He wore a blank look, was being ordered around - even by the other menial labourers - and did his tasks without any regard for his surroundings or for himself. To make it more unnerving, his teeth were dilapidated and his eye-balls gouged out of the skull like they were seeing no-where and every-where, both at once.

He seemed to live a transparent life - or was it an invisible life? Not only did the world ignore him, but his face wore a look so blank that he seemed ignorant of himself. On a usual day, I figured, nobody would have noticed a person like him; someone so destitute that he wouldn't even be looked away from. Neither loved nor hated, there stood in front of me a blatant and perfect example of anomie: the breath of nothingness.

What would the world make of such a person? Why would such a person even exist? Our social structure, in which the capable and bright folks struggle to find a place, would such a person even exist?

Yet there he existed, in stark contrast to his surroundings. Even the trees and inanimate objects seemed to have a personality in comparison to him. Every object around him had a gait, a disposition, and a place in the 'scheme of things'. Even the numb twigs lying by the roadside would be picked by the birds to secure their nests. The pebbles would become a child's marbles, the dung would decorate a poor man's yard, the dusty flat tire would enjoin a swing someday. But he did not fit anywhere. He wasn't just a misfit, but an anonymous misfit. One who did not even know the nature of how misfit he was.

Was he a manufacturing defect or was he a symbol of a defect in the manufacturer?

A very respected professor of mine believes that a person's identity comes from three aspects: Name, Face and Voice. Any man or woman will be truly represented and uniquely distinguished only when all those three facets of name, face and voice are endowed upon the person, given their due recognition and space and when he or she exercises all three with their own free will.

He had none. I doubted if anyone knew his name. His face disfigured any notion about him, and his voice was never to be heard. In short, he was attribute-less. [Maybe as a confirmation of my observations about him, he did not turn up to work the next day, or anytime subsequently. And quite obviously, nobody seemed to bother]

Legend has it that twelve hundred years ago a saint roamed the length and breadth of this country speaking of a strange philosophy called the Advaita. Everyone respected him - many wouldn't understand his notions and many would even come to reject him. Yet the Advaita stood unchallenged - a great philosophy that built abstract bridges to fill the gaps of all that we would never know. Even though the masses found its practice nearly impossible, its essence would remain bright and clear. The saint became a legendary landmark, and his philosophy a hegemonic hallmark, which continues to be vigorously debated and vehemently defended by legions of brightest minds all over the world even to this day. Sankaracharya, as they called him, told just one truth... that God was attribute-less.