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The Flash

It is night. J walks the intermittently lit streets of the city. He is not thinking anything in particular. Thoughts flit randomly across the landscape of his weary mind. It has been a tough day. Not so much tiring as wearying. He is searching for the answer to a very important question. It is a logic-altering question. One that has plagued perhaps every mind since the dawn of time: identity. What is it? Does something like a true identity exist? However, he is not really thinking. The thought is running in a constant rhythm through his mind, much as the drone of a machine.

A few steps ahead. A streetlight is flickering on and off. Each state endures for a few seconds and is accompanied by an unusual rustling noise. J is intrigued. He walks until he is directly beneath the light. There is an alleyway leading off to the right. By the light of the flickering lamp he is able to discern a human shape seated on a pile of nondescript boxes. He stands still and waits for the next flash of illumination. It is a homeless man who is attempting to read a newspaper. The rustling noise is due to his turning the pages of it. The light flashes. The man looks up. In the light of the flash, for a few instants of time, they are transfixed. Each sees into the eyes of the other.

J feels a sense of empathy, a sense of likeness with him that he has hitherto never felt before. It is quite different from the usual indifferent disgust or pity he has hitherto felt towards others of this kind, J's mind reasons quietly behind the scenes. J is rooted to the spot. Those seconds are eternity. Here at last is a kindred soul. A seeker. A learner. They are one. They are everything. And they are nothing. His mind is ecstatic. Transported. He feels as if he is seeing himself for the first time. Unusual how a random event can cause the generation of such conclusions, his mind tells him, still working in its unobtrusively continuous way.The light flashes on again.

"Hey J! What're you doing down that dark alleyway?" a voice rings out in the darkness. It is S. One of his colleagues at the workplace also walking home. The moment is gone. The seconds have passed. J's cold logic reasserts itself. He collects himself and walks towards the disturber. "Nothing S, thought I saw something", he replies, "Just an old bum."


  1. Identity is important. But identity changes frequently. For example, in my village, I am son of so and so. In my native state, I am from so and so village. In some other state in which I work, I am a person from a particular state. In another country, I am an Indian. When I will die and go up somewhere, they will say one more mortal has arrived today. However, each of these identities are relevant to the specific areas of concern. One must have many identities, but he should remain as one, a rational person. By the way, I could not fathom the reason for a "cold" seasoned photograph of the blogger. Why the sweaters on? It gives me an impression that, the blogger is very protective of self and remains only in one identity. Is it true?

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  3. What are you waiting for? Get those cameras rolling, right away. The flickering lamp and J's overwhelming emotion(though, microsecond long) is very lifelike.. and the analogy, of course is truly amazing.


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