He thought he was the hero of the story but it was a story without a hero, a villain or an anti-hero. It was a play with multiple bit roles and no main cast. It was as abject or as grandiose a tale as there are perspectives in the universe.

There were trials and tribulations, romance, heartbreak, tears and laughs, death and birth, loss and gain, betrayal and loyalty; an experience of every type of emotion whether words were ascribed to describe it or not. It was a random assortment of events, ruled some by happenstance and some by efforts and decisions.

He had touched highs he could scarcely remember, which seemed like dreams he had somehow invaded and which he could only re-enter through the miasma of scrambled time and half-forgotten memories. There were lows when he had to scrape his broken self from the ground to get through the day. There had been those butterflies in the pit of his stomach- first love, second love and some random instances inspired by some face in the crowd. He thought he was born for an epic romance, some great success and perhaps even fame and his fair share of glory, but things had a way of bringing him back to reality. And not gently at most times, his imaginary castles had crashed and burned more often than not; and even when they had lasted they had crumbled with the passage of time and ultimately turned into ashes he had swallowed and kept down for the sake of maintaining the farce of propriety and adhering to some imagined honour code. Every time that happened, he kept to these codes for a while and then wisps of doubts pervaded his consciousness; and some reminder of his mortality and fragility made him believe that perhaps it was time for the next try at doing something else.



He commiserated with himself saying fame was but a worthless pursuit for today’s fame fades by the morrow and if not by then ; perhaps it may last for weeks, months or years but entropy affects glory and ignominy as much as an anonymous existence. Nothing remains in the end except naught.

Only one thing was constant and that was impermanence and confusion. He felt decisive at times but eventually realized that those were fleeting moments of self-delusion and he was back at the crossroads again and again. The crossroads felt like home finally. So he travelled to many places; always seeking he knew not what. Sometimes he wondered whether not belonging to a place was the only thing he subconsciously desired. For putting down roots always tended to hurt him or bore him sooner or later.

Not belonging, that was a fine way to be. No heartbreaks when there are no cues for love, romantic or platonic. Tasting morsels from the platter of existence and not gorging at the buffet of a defined life was the thing for him, he decided. He surrendered himself to being a nomad who reveled in uprooting himself and discovering himself and the world anew. He was not likely to drown in the cesspool of existence if he was a man with no depth and did not aspire to attain it. He was content to be a surface dweller in others’ existence; in the morasses of morality; in events important and insignificant; and as he eventually realized pretty much everything. For every human he met was a mess of contradictions. There was seldom any definitive truth about anybody. It was a journey of discovering truths or what felt like truths at the time within and without; and yet not knowing anything conclusively; he was always on, to his dying breath. It was beautiful, yet pitiably scarred. There was the tantalizing promise of some ultimate destination dangled in front of him, mostly by his vanity, ambition and desires. But the destination was a mirage and harsh or not the journey was the reality.


Perfectly imperfect was the only way this voyage could be almost accurately described. For it was a life like any other. Uniquely common and similarly different to what millions were going through, have gone through or will go through at some time or the other. The conformity to a type was an irritant to him but we have so many types of existence if we seek to qualify them as so. Although subtle variations may exist within these types but there’s a similar human existence somewhere else. Uniqueness is a hoax. We humans and our lives are remarkably unremarkable.

Life and its’ messy undertones clung to him till nothingness brought the blessed cloak of oblivion. So he began; he experienced the exquisite and excruciating events that mark any life, some lives more so than others, or so it seems to our circumscribed perspectives; and eventually he became extinct. As his consciousness dispersed into the corridors of the infinite multiverse his last thought was – Ah! I lived an exceptional life, perhaps just like yours and everybody else’s.

By- Aseem Mahajan

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