A Town Called Life.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Symbolism of life.

Submitted: July 30, 2015

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Submitted: July 30, 2015




The town is in the midst of a vast desert and no one knows about its origin. To tell the truth all conjectures about its age or its destiny has been as futile. They say that there is a curse on the people who try to decipher or gauge its inner knowledge but such is the curiosity of the mankind that they will go to any lengths to catch even a glimpse of its inner secrets.

 Their fate is always the same – blindness, leprosy, loss of memory, madness or simply loss of appetite leading to starvation and death. There are other catastrophes, too horrible for human contemplation.

 Such is its fascination that all ages of men have a go at trying to find its inner core. Grown ups and old have devised their means within collective enterprises, through sacrifices, or shunning their personalities, by loving their fellow men as themselves or through other collective worships of various kinds.

The very young do it through play-acting, in imitation with its supposed structures and invent extremely complex games, which have their own rules and regulations. Youth feels its casting shadows of sensuality and try to reach it through intimacies of physical love, a sort of mystical union through affecting their brain centres with doses of ecstasy, potions & hedonism.

 But all these actions done through collective consciousness end in disillusionment. Consequently each individual learning from such futile behaviours go to other lengths .The old men pursue a solitary path. You could see an army of them criss- crossing  its streets, courtyards and squares; disillusioned, blind and in total despair. With their dimmed senses they have taken to dark and dreary places. They have dug shallow pits in which they lie and cry their heart out in tune with the agonies of their souls.

The town is divided into numerous sectors and surrounding each sector there are enormous tall trees with wide girths. These seem to be centuries perhaps millennium old. In comparison human life seems to be so short and tragic, doomed from the start. Perhaps in the memories of these trees there are stored secrets of the past and tales of other vistas of vastness. Each ring of tree stump might contain histories of perhaps scores of generation of men.

 These trees have learnt to defy the elemental forces of nature. In them there is a dignity of survival going beyond irregularities of sunshine, shadows, icy winds, summer showers, twilights and storms. They seem to have some elemental knowledge of the forces of nature, which men have lost through pride of their egoism and intellect.

Most men have reverted back to their logical instincts. They shun outdoor and tend to congregate indoors in small boxes of their habitations under solid roofs, breathing the dark stale airs of their chambers.

 The curious thing about that this town is that it has a huge prison in its central space. You do not have to be a criminal to join it. Contrary to common thinking, it is considered to be a privilege to belong to it as a prisoner. So many people are anxious to spend their lives here but there are limited spaces. So when any prisoner dies or is thrown out under its complex rule, there is rush of applicants. A lottery draw has been devised to cope with such a situation.

 The names of the perspective applicants are put in a container, stirred and then some chosen children from the town are invited to draw names. Then there is a big celebration by successful applicants and their families, feasts and dances, which can go on for weeks.

The prison is divided into numerous cells, each with its essential amenities. Each cell is of similar nature, in construction and layout but each prisoner thinks that his/her cell is far superior than that of their neighbours. Fights have broken out on this issue and even prisoners have been killed but all have taken it with a touch of stoicism as is generally thought it to be a privilege, to die for an honourable cause and martyrdom.

 In order for the prisoners to have their daily exercise, long circular corridors have been built in spherical manner on the boundaries of the prison and which are kept open day: for the prisoners to take their constitutions. It will be not an exaggeration to state that the prisoners have taken to it like ducks to the water. It has become a way of their lives, to spend long periods walking these corridors as it gives them an illusion of eternity. This perpetual movement give them a deep mental relief from nervous tensions and occasional depression.

But at the same time this perpetual motion obliterates their intelligence, which is starved due to lack of mental exercises, for want of stillness and contemplation. It has become the preoccupation of their scientists and psychologists to devise laws in accordance with the varieties of these motions and measurements. These scientific laws are held in such veneration that even to question these is simply to indulge in blasphemy.

 The perpetual walking about is an exhausting process and people return to their cells exhausted and take straight to their beds. The skylights of the cells emit a muddy coloured light which changes to an orange glow at dusk and dawn and which can have a depressive effect. The only escape from this humdrum existence is to sleep and dream; dreams of some other lands, some other times of some less oppressive lives. The oblivion claims them for the times of nights but still there is awakening to mornings, to that unbearable reality.

Some one found a way of escape by reinventing his dreams and soon the news went around and more and more people took to this process, of ignoring mundane logic of their lives and embracing a non- mundane logic of their dreams. They put jumble of words on paper about their daily existence and the existence of their dreams. Soon there were so many individual sheets, which were tied together and passed around the prison. There were some strange lyrics and prose dramas pointing to some other transcendental spheres of existence.

Obviously the authorities were not pleased with this and prisoners were ordered not to indulge in such foolish fancies and superstitions. When this order was ignored, all the copies of their creations were confiscated and destroyed. They were reminded of their sins committed in indulging in such obscenities. Most of the prisoners went back to their daily routine of physical exercises and forget completely about this episode.

A few kept indulging in their writings, by creating dossiers of their solitary confines and of their dreams. They felt that they might have found a way of escape out of their imprisoned lives.

Copyright© 2015. Durlabh Singh


© Copyright 2018 Durlabh. All rights reserved.

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