I sit in the very middle of a stream that is rapidly descending to nowhere. The rock that I recline on transforms – first into a fiery dragon with an inescapable grasp, and then into a towering edifice. The name Rapunzel resounds within my hollow mind. I test my powers of vision against the resplendent sunlight, even as I am flooded with golden warmth. A butterfly – yes, that quintessence of natural beauty – hovers between me and the celestial blue yonder. I shift my gaze and see… fellow classmates jeering at me from a distance. There is a sudden transformation, one that drags me back to the sordid consciousness which shackles the free spirit with responsibility. The reverie abandons me – as I, unlike other inhabitants of desolate towers, detest intruders climbing their way into my universe. They bring the desert with them.
The pleasure of solitude is unsurpassable. This is simply because life on earth is a struggle and the tranquility derived from solitude, a whiff of fresh air, is what a being strives for. Solitude serves as the basic ingredient of emotional sustenance in a world full of the din of activity. Solitude provides a route of escape from mundane matters. Every form of escapism – books, movies, poetry, games – is after all the product of our imagination. It is in imagination that we find solace and exhilaration, and a myriad emotions simultaneously. While the physical being is limited to physical surroundings, the mind can probe into the farthest and the minutest with little difficulty. The mind’s functioning is contingent on solitude as far as imagination is concerned.
In short, solitude is a manifestation of freedom through which we can break the barriers imposed by every physical law, whether artificial or natural. It is human tendency to question the restrictions imposed on one. Since one is not always in agreement with laws that he or she is expected to abide by, the wild mind serves as the perfect outlet. The unwritten code of conduct of any society results in its stratification (generally according to financial status), the imposition of taboos and a process of determination of what is morally correct and what is not. This seeks to hold together the continually drifting archipelago of human society. But the solitary man defies the mores of society, for he is a society in himself. He can set his own standards and do what pleases him most, without fear of consequences. For example, while modesty is the essential ingredient of a gentleman in society, solitude gives man the power to exalt himself to any heights. It gives him the power to be God - it bestows him with the capacity to acknowledge his assumed omnipotence or omniscience without a tinge of shame or the reek of annoyance. And during these trying COVID times, I believe that we all, no matter what creed or cast, have learned to appreciate it more than ever. It united us. Stuck at home, we were forced into an involuntary solitude. We were provided the rare opportunity to reflect. And as time itself embarked on its own little holiday, the world seemed oh so still and silent. The once bustling streets - momentarily idle.
Solitude is a boon, the significance of which is most visible in this ever-augmenting welter that our world. I do not blame Siamese twins when, despite mutual love, they wish to live lives of their own and are willing to risk even death to achieve mutual separation. Nor do I blame society for its incessant comings and goings, its commotion. But, call it vanity if you may, solitude is certainly more enchanting than any love in this world.