Zen Questa IV

Isolation brings the worst out of any ordinary human being and our young man was not any different from the likes he had left behind in the village. Nonetheless, there was something in him that set him apart as a curious character in the village. Not that he did some strange things, or majestic deeds or utterly stupid acts to impress others; the fact was he was always unsatisfied deep within with everything the villagers had to offer. The doubting, questioning and curious mind could lie in slumber but cannot rest permanently. it had played out its card before; but this time it had played an ace.

Bereft of all associations, Xandu was now getting slowly susceptible to the games of the mind, which will gain in strength with each passing day. He felt a bit tired and hungry at this point, He dropped his stick carefully on the ground and set about to open his bag. He looked into his bag and the things stared back at him. He picked up and apple and just as he was about to bite it, a thought struck him. The food will not last any longer than a few days. What if he is not able to find the hermit within these days? What if he gets lost and never finds a way out? What if he get attacked by a wild animal and devoured for its dinner? The shudder went through his whole body and and he felt and uneasy feeling in his stomach. The panic had set in and it meant the end of his hunger and the terror snatched away his desire to catch some sleep. He looked around to find a suitable tree that he could scale and get some rest away from the claws of a foul creature that silhouetted in the darkness must be lurking in the dense forest. Even if I am going to be eaten, he thought, i will not make myself an easy prey. The desire to survive is at the very foundation of all life form on this planet. However, we humans are more conscious of this longing and make elaborate arrangements for our survival.

This was his first night away from his home and it was not particularly easy on him. He finally decided to scale a mighty banyan. He scampered as silently he could to climb it. He got close to a mighty trunk and tried to judge where to settle himself in the extensive network of various branches. Finally, he settled for a robust branch that would be his bed for the rest of the night. He was by no means an alien to such a kind of exercise but for the fact that when the agility of a much younger body allowed for a swift scaling. As he was half way through this tiresome and cautious venture, the tree seemed to conspire and suddenly there was a crackle, then a screech and finally a thud. He had misstepped and landed on the ground without much grace and had hurt his bottom, however not so badly. The fall had pricked a few ears, rolled a few eyes and trees seemed to mock him in silence. Was this too embarrassing for him? Had it been his village, he would have turned red faced and would have avoided going out for a few days. Humans – we have a weakness, and that  is we look around into the eyes of others to judge, to confirm and to assure ourselves of our capabilities. And more often than not these judges reside in our mind.

But here, in the isolation of this forest it was worry and fear that overwhelmed everything else in his basket of emotions. They turned him back on his feet and he gingerly began to climb his way up again with his breath almost held and every sinew in his arms and legs held taut. He reckoned that his breath has changed again and was aware of the tension held within his body. This was stress building up. The breath taken deep but held tightly in his lungs made him focus on his physical activity. After a series of slips and near falls, he managed to perch on a big bough that held out like a mighty arm of a giant.  His heart was pounding heavily and he felt every beat jumping out of his chest with loud thumping sound in his ears. 

Minutes slipped by and still the sleep wan’t coming. Sometimes, it felt crazy to him to imagine about people and friends he had left behind. He would smile, sneer, giggle and even chuckle to himself as he lay there. Then, just for a fraction of second, it would flash upon him the utter absurdity of imagining things and emote over them. He became vaguely aware that he was living in two different worlds;one of his own making and the other of providence. The body was tired and needed rest and the mind also yawned in the search for sleep. The mundane silence is much like a snack to it. Would it leave him alone for the rest of the night? Indeed, any thought of that would be a misplaced hope. The night would bring its torments which the day had spared him. The interplay of the subconscious and the deeper layers shall weave a net of dreams and throw him around at their mercy between the shores of glee and gloom. With eyes closed and awareness on the sounds happening around him, sleep overcame this tired man and he was tossed into the world of dreams.

Continued…

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