Author: Divyang Arora
From the day we are born, everything’s fuzzy. It’s like we are surrounded by a layer of haziness and nothing is clear. We are told to live the same life that millions before us lived and billions after us will continue to, and most of us don’t question that. There’s a phase where we all think of rebelling, to go against the norms and challenge something that has stood its ground for years.
In the last few years I have met a lot of people who had a fire in their eyes as they told me that they won’t submit to the society’s expectations, that they would carve their own little niche in the mountain, separate from the cave everybody else has been sitting in. Slowly they all grow tired of carving it and you can see the fire die as they submit to what they sometimes call their pre-written destiny. When there’s already a well-made cave to live in, they say, why should we do all this effort when everybody else is comfortably settling down? Some of those who get close to carving it realise that they would be alone in it and that thought scares them. Maybe people will follow their example and bring their axes to expand that small hole and make another cave, but maybe they wouldn’t. If they don’t, well, nobody’s ready to take that risk. Maybe they realise they can’t build a fire in their hole because it’s too small and doesn’t have enough air for the fire to burn for long. They aren’t ready to stay cold till their hole is big enough. That struggle is more than they can handle and less than what others expect of them.
It’s tough to open your eyes in this cave. Sometimes your eyes are open but you can never be too sure. Is it dark because your eyes are closed or is it because your eyes are open but there’s no light in the cave? Sometimes you are too frightened to open your eyes because God knows what horrible sights wait for you. So you live in your illusions. You refuse to open your eyes and just feel other blind people around you and go wherever they are going because the feeling that you’re not alone gives you comfort. You touch the walls and walk alongside them, failing to acknowledge the idea that there can be paths in other directions.
You walk the tried and tested path, which has led everybody to not exactly a happy, but not horrible either, place. In retrospect they tell you that it’s been a fine journey, forgetting all the sleepless nights and the hopeless ends, because no one remembers bad times when they are gone, and you believe them. You trust their experience and refuse to hover over the idea that maybe what the majority says could be wrong. You live in your cave. You refuse to progress. There will be times when you will try to blame the other blind people that you held onto for the path you followed, but there will be no one to blame because you didn’t see their faces. Maybe then you’ll blame yourself for trusting the wrong person. In the end, though, you’re going to sit around that fire in your cozy cave, telling the newcomers with a sigh what a satisfactory walk it has been, hiding that you wish it had been something more than satisfactory, and they will listen to you, because somethings never change. Because no matter how far we reach, in some ways, we will always be cavemen.