The sun beamed with confidence, or so it seemed, while the dry air exemplified its glory blatantly. The helpless sand, spread over a breadth of overwhelming magnitude, bathed in shades of yellow, much like the oppressor itself. The sparse population of shrubs over the vast expanse of listless sand defied the inherent morbidity of the surroundings. In every direction, as far as the eyes could see, the sand lulled in the bosom of Gaea in complete harmony, much like the boundless oceans, minus the serenity. Any sane person would argue that it was almost impossible to survive there, but nature has a fondness for proving humans wrong.
Much like the misplaced foliage, a trail of footsteps led across the enduring sand, crossing dunes and drifts into the infinite expanse. But if one looked closely it wasn’t difficult to deduce that the trail was fresh and if one was passionate enough, and perhaps had a pair of binoculars at hand, one could easily make out a person like figure at a distance walking on the inert sand. The man was dressed in Hawaiian shirt coupled with camouflaged bermuda shorts, and causal sandals – the perfect dress for a desert safari. But this wasn’t a desert safari and the man in question was way beyond traditional sense; presumably at a much higher, and unstable, state of being. He walked along with the lingering silence of the golden ocean without a particular thought, or destination, in mind. Proximity to the solitary sands and remoteness from the hubbub, he had presumed, would put his mind at ease; that the deafening silence of loneliness would be more soothing than the reticent noise of survival. So far, reality seemed to be dictating the terms of this atypical undertaking but that didn’t affect the man in the Hawaiian shirt in the least for he was, as any sane man would presume, at a higher state of being. The conventional concepts of success and failure were now distant memories of a clueless childhood; a time when he, too, was a part of the rat race – a period he wasn’t particularly fond of. Moreover, rats didn’t survive the vicious circle of life where the only guiding principle is ‘survival of the fittest’, and he was well acquainted with that fact.
The shadow of doubt looming over his vulnerable self seemed to be dispersing, thinning, with every footprint in the uncharted expanse. Occasionally his mind drifted towards trivial matters and distant memories, but that was to be expected of someone traversing such inhospitable surroundings. The hostile environment was compelling enough to instil a fear of the unknown in any mortal instrument; a creeping anxiety that tightens it grip ever so slowly that no one suspects it until it finally chokes you into obsidian. But this was no ordinary man, and his sense of adventure far outweighed his insecurities and indecision; a trap which the common man is just too clever to evade. He advanced in the strange land with such certainty that one would believe he belonged there – although the idea stems from the apex of idiocy – unlike the sparse foliage.
In the distance, to his right, he could see another figure; another shadow. Any sane person would assume it to be another misplaced entity – another misguided soul that wandered the land of the golden sand in pursuit of answers; a soul that needed guidance; a soul that needed help. But the man in the bermuda shorts knew better. He had been tricked far too many times to be tricked ever again. And so the lousy attempt by the corrosive desert dissolved into nothingness, like a mirage within reach. A faint smile curled upon his lips as he registered this fine victory against the revolting desert. He knew that this was neither the end nor the beginning for he had been at odds with life since the time he could remember, or chose to remember. But this was certainly a step in the right direction because no one actually cared to stop you from moving in the wrong direction. This modest victory steeled his resolve to continue on his journey with a newfound confidence; another brick in the towering wall.
The trail of footprints in the golden sands kept on elongating as the mighty sun retreated from the majestic sky, its fading light casting shades of orange and red over the golden ocean, bidding farewell to the Buddha in the bathing sand. Buddha’s journey would be long and remarkable and the mighty sun didn’t want to miss the opportunity to greet him with a beaming smile the next morning. And while the charming night enjoyed the company of the man in Hawaiian shirt coupled with bermuda shorts and his cultivated thoughts, the mighty sun waited patiently to illuminate the ocean of golden sands and the Buddha’s receptive mind.