Lone Scavenger

Somewhere between Wuthering Heights and Dubliners, I begin to wonder about my purpose. Why do some of us even want purpose? Is it because deep down we’re all selfish fools terrified of ceasing to exist?

Some days I don’t even know why the hell I want purpose. I just know that I need it and must have it. Perhaps, just perhaps, if I can give meaning to this existence of mine then I can prevent time from eventually erasing the fact that I once existed. Battling time for a shred of immortality, such a bloody waste of time, of energy when the outcome is inevitable.

It’s a hot day. Sweat crawls down my back like those fat, slow, nasty, old slugs I’ve always hated,  and greases my armpits into slippery wetness. Nani insists on battering my ears with her latest collection of ancient Bollywood songs and my dog has decided to bless me with a symphony of his most irritating cries. Yes, here is where I sit while I think of my secret weapon, purpose, in this battle with time.

Ideas, like millions of scrawny shrimps, swarm the lifeless hemisphere of my mind devouring the long dead, stinking bits. Scavengers, yes, even they have purpose; to rid us of the dead so that life can burst forth unencumbered. But who remembers scavengers when we think of life?

At least they work together with singular purpose towards a common goal. Not even when we find a cause that’s worth pursuing, do we manage to work quite like them. And too often, we’re left standing alone, a mere spec in the bloody universe, shouting into a vacuum, hoping to be heard someone, anyone, anything.

Strangely enough, I find the idea of floating in black nothingness, shouting everything to seemingly nobody so bloody exhilarating. Why the hell should I care if nobody else wants to join me in eating the deadness away? As long as I’m doing it, it means that someone is doing it and it being done is what really matters. It’s times like these I really feel Tagore’s words and I realise that being a lone scavenger isn’t so bad:

If they answer not to thy call WALK ALONE,

If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,

O thou of evil luck,

open thy mind and SPEAK OUT ALONE.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,

O thou of evil luck,

trample the thorns under thy tread, and along the blood-lined track TRAVEL ALONE

If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,

O thou of evil luck,

with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart and let it BURN ALONE.

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