In search of solitude Whenever someone attempts a near-impossible task, it is customary to deride him saying he could be better off trying to count the stars in the sky. Counting the stars in the sky has somehow become the benchmark for the ultimate impossibility. I too had pledged my faith in this time-honoured benchmark until I visited my toilet this morning. I am not one of those keenly observant chaps but I’ll certainly pass muster as an above average one in that category. So when I entered the bathroom this morning with the last traces of sleep still clinging to my eyes, I observed it trying to enter the crevice between the wall and the washbasin. I call it ‘it’ because I have never seen anything like it in all my 70 plus years of eventful life. Maybe some hyperactive biologist had sighted it before me and had even given it a tongue-twisting name like Drosophila melanogaster but I must unashamedly confess that I was totally clueless about it. It was small, about half an inch in length, hairier than Sean Connery of his James Bond days and with eyes protruding like antennae. If it had been 4 feet long instead of a mere half an inch, I would have sworn that it was from Mars or some other planet whence such aliens usually visit our planet. I was telling you about counting the stars in the sky being the accredited benchmark of ultimate impossibility but after sighting of this creature in my bathroom for the first time in my life, I realized that counting the living beings on this planet would be an equally awesome task. Imagine living here for 70odd years and continuing to encounter new species of living things! I just could not take my eyes off this new creature for quite a while, not because it was an Aiswarya Rai of the insect world but because I was lost in thoughts. Talking of human beings, we are told that every one of us is here for a purpose though most of us kick the bucket even before realizing that purpose. I am sure that the same law applies to other beings as well and not even a blade of grass exists on earth without a purpose. But alas, only the Creator knows the purpose and He is very tight-lipped about it! Look heavenwards for clarification and mum is the word from there. Looking at this strange creature trying desperately to force its way into the crevice behind the washbasin, I pursed my lips in doubt if it could ever have a purpose in its life. Even if it had one, I knew that it was looking for it at the wrong place. A crevice in the wall could hardly be a place to seek the purpose of one’s life, I thought. Forget the purpose of life and all that esoteric introspection. I had more on my mind actually. Since I had never seen such a creature ever before, I presumed that it belonged to a place where I had never set foot before. That leaves me only with some remote area in Lahul-Spiti valley and Meghalaya. If this creature had crawled all the way from such a remote location leaving all his kith and kin, that left us with a lot of intriguing questions. Everyone knows that the tendency of every living thing is to stay close to its kith and kin for obvious reasons. The moment it strays away from its stock, it becomes an easy prey to the dangers of life. What could have been the pressing reason for this particular creature to stray totally out of sight of its kith and kin to take sojourn in my bathroom? If it was one of those mystics who traveled long distances in search of the Ultimate Truth, then why did it come to the crevice in my bathroom? If its intention was to attain Nirvana, the only nirvana that could be possible there was physical and not spiritual! If this creature was in search of solitude, its long voyage could be understandable. Even I, a mere human being, have longed for solitude of a permanent nature. Have you noticed something there? Seekers of solitude merely avoid being in the company of their own species. They find the chirping of birds and other sounds of nature as very soothing and conducive to their meditative solitude but one human voice is enough to throw them out of gear! Naturally so because a human can be bored only by another human and not by a bird or animal or a tree. A bore, as you ought to know, is a person who robs you of your solitude without providing you company. Viewed in this context, the creature’s journey from wherever it originated to my bathroom was quite understandable. I became aware of yet another significant fact. If this creature could come traveling half the country in search of solitude, there must be far bigger bores in its community than among humans! Having been in search of solitude on many an occasion in the past, I could understand the feelings of this strange creature and left it undisturbed. As I left the bathroom in a reflective mood, I just wondered if this creature’s kith and kin back home would be missing it or thinking of it disappearance as good riddance!