Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Island of Loneliness

Lost in the vastness of humanity, there is a soul, a lonely soul. He lives in the guise of an old man in a small island surrounded by the strong waves of the ocean. He has lived there for a century and the island remains his home.
A long time ago, this island was actually a part of the mainland. It was green and lush and covered with thick foliage. It was a place where humans and other species lived, breathed, fought, loved and bred young ones. There was life and there were the companions of life...laughter, jealousy, greed, passion, romance. The daily chores of survival posed a challenge for passion and romance to survive and slowly they faded away and died. Laughter too vanished after some time and jealousy found no support to continue. All that remained was greed.
Greed, being lonely, invited a few friends. They were lust, chaos and obsession. Together they decided to create their own space. So they cut off from the mainland and drifted away till they were sure they had broken all connection with the rest of the world. The rough tides of the ocean shielded and protected them from any unforeseen foreign intrusion. Many centuries passed. The constant lashing of the waves made the island rough and rocky. Cut away from love, greed and its friends were stifled by their own company and died a natural, inevitable death.
Emptiness always invites new life. The island evolved itself to be a breeding place of many species of birds. One day, a storm created havoc and capsized a ship. The lone survivor, a young boy, was washed ashore, in the rocky coasts of the island. When he regained consciousness, the boy realised that he was saved from death. This realisation brought a tide of relief which swept through him. The relief was soon replaced by fear, the fear of being alone without a soul to share his loneliness. The fear soon became stronger and stronger and almost exploded in a burst of panic. The natural instincts of hunger and thirst prevented such an explosion and survival became the sole motivator to keep him going.
In the days that followed, the boy learnt to overcome his fears but the emptiness remained. He longed for a connection with someone. He longed to pour out all the tides of his restless mind, all the questions, the theories, the hopes, the anguish with someone who is also marooned in the same way; for that soul, he knew, would understand the meaning of his island. He began to hope that one day his saviour would appear and they would together manage to escape from loneliness. In the meantime, he made friends with the birds, the bushes, the wildflowers and berries and the squirrels that provided him silent company. After a while, the silent company became a language of signs and sounds which he began to identify and understand. He never realised how long it had been but he ceased to be lonely like before. His wait for a saviour was replaced by a wait for a soul who understood and would share with him the signs and sounds of the island.
Then one day, an expedition of explorers came to study the flora and fauna and the birds and bees of this long-forgotten island. The boy was overwhelmed with hope. Maybe, He had arrived. The boy was alone no more. He became the guide of the island. The expedition took a few months to complete their research. They dissected each and every aspect of the island to search for evidence that supported their theories and ended up losing the meaning of the island. As the boy tried in vain and yearned to make them see, he started experiencing a vacuum which was all encompassing and much deeper than the emptiness he had felt when he first arrived. He realised through unbearable agony that he was now more lonely than he had been when he was alone. And when the expedition, returned to mainland with their research results, they offered the boy the passage of return, for which he had waited for ten years.
The boy, who was now a young man, returned to mainland. He was soon surrounded by sights and smells and sounds. He strove hard to relate to the assault on his senses. He sought love, romance, and passion. He was told that they were long dead as there was no time for them in the mainland. He waited for that connection, which would transform all the activities and resources to a music of enlightenment. He soon became more and more disillusioned. He could not bear the loneliness he felt in the crowd. When you are lonely alone, at least you do not have a soul with you, from whom you can crave for understanding. Hence, that loneliness carries no pain.
Pain. It was pain that drove him to get on that boat and sail to the island that had been his prison. He set foot once again on the rocky shores and felt the waves drench his soul with relief. He was back home. He was at peace with this loneliness. There was no pretence about it. It was not guised to deceive.

Lost in the vastness of humanity, there was a soul, a lonely soul. He lived in the guise of an old man in a small island surrounded by the strong waves of the ocean. He had lived there for a century and the island remains his home. Then one day, he saw a boat approaching.It sailed with ease and purpose towards the lonely island.The waves broke into a thunderous applaud and the island echoed the sound in each and every heartbeat. He knew the signs. He knew the sound. It had been a long time, but now his wait was  over, at last.


  1. This is totally gripping, I felt a stirring in my soul for this old man. His comfort in solitude and his ease with being lonely.
    So many people live among other souls but feel exactly the same way the old man feels. Hopeful and waiting to find another soul who would understand without saying, who would hear without words, who can feel without touching. When the spirits meet, they just know.
    This is beautifully written again, as I expected, and you have never failed my expectations. :D

  2. As humans, it seems, we can only take loneliness for so long, before it erodes our very being. We are social by nature (witness the phenomenon of the web), and dependent upon human contact, however it comes, and whatever its guise.
    I thought you captured that very well in this post.

  3. Wow. This brought a tear to my eye, and I don't even know why. I don't even need to know.

    Truly touching, in the deepest sense of the word.

  4. lonely in a crowd, i know that feeling