Some places are like people: some shine and some don’t. – Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining

And the saddest part of the sentence is that full stop after the don’t. I could wish all day and all night for a comma or a semi-colon or a haywire to hang on. But at this point of time, the author regrets that I couldn’t be included. Thats it. Some shine and some don’t. Call it anything you want, like ding, like somebody hung up without even talking.

Some people shine and some don’t. Yeah.

Curious. I work in a valley surrounded by green hills, hills green with coconut palms in the day and dark and threatening during the night. That night, one hour past midnight, I was driving home. Do not ask me what I do till then, nobody knows, neither do I. At the circle where bike accidents occur every other day, I saw something crossing the road. A little black object crawling slowly across the road. I’m not afraid during night times as much as I am during day. So I slowed the bike, removed my helmet and welcomed the visitor.

The circle is a spectacle to begin with, five neon lamps wash the place with their heady glow, the place including the road is orange in color. Literally. The black tortoise finally stopped a few feet from me. I park the bike and stare at this new intrusion into my life. A new messenger. Otherwise of everything in this world a black tortoise! and it appears before me in an orange junction. I know I have to read symbols if I ever need to be an alchemist, I didn’t want this mother of all omens to pass. I wanted the universe to conspire to get things done for me.

“What are you doing here?”, I wanted to know, there was no one around to be embarrassed.

My upbringing is so conservative that, if the tortoise replied, my life would have been destroyed then. I can’t handle shocks without self-destruction. I’m a masochist in certain ways. The tortoise didn’t reply, helpfully.

I looked at my destiny’s point person for a few minutes. Once in a while when it withdrew its head like a coward into its black shell, my optimism tinted with white horror in the realization that this could be just another mortal tortoise. Then the head came out and I was hopeful again, there was some message waiting for me there, finally my confusions were about to get cleared. I’m the second most optimistic person in the world, you, who expect something worthwhile from this curious incident of a tortoise in the night time can take the cake.

Black tortoise, dark moonless night and a place that shines with orange light. What was the message? The place shined, but my eyes got accustomed, ennui set in, the message remained elusive. Of everything, a black tortoise. Black tortoise, dark moonless night and a place that shines with orange light. What could it mean. It meant go. I started the bike tired of the pointlessness, leaving the cornered tortoise to its own confusions on where to go.

I needed a purpose in life, and this was my chance. All I asked for was some order, some meaning to all that was happening and not happening, and what I get is a dark, blank, indifferent silence of the Universe. I did have faith. I believed. I even consciously disregarded the fact that there was a stream flowing quarter mile from where I found the tortoise. I denied my logic to have faith in a tortoise story, because I needed a myth to move on.

The sad part is we need myths to move on. Like that man up in the dusty Deccan mountain, with a cave full of pamphlets – one for each of us with our destiny written on it. Or else settle down with that Almanac which tells you why you are special, why the moon, Neptune and Saturn were wherever they were when you were born. Or sleep on the terrace to spot that shooting star. Or wait for the red mail van to come around the corner. Or keep searching on google till you find your niche.

I’m sorry I couldn’t do to you what Coelho did to people who shine, they anyway would have. Like faith did to my class topper, he anyway would have topped the class. And we are left praying in front of sanctums, asking for boons which no one can give. Rather asking for boons which we are never sure of. There is no destiny because there isn’t one. Perhaps we could ask for a little humility, to understand that there is no script already written, to stop searching for it and come to terms with the truth that some people shine, some don’t. The earlier, the better.

And dear Freud, you would be analyzing the state of my dreams by now. Lack of direction and self-esteem compounded by a false sense of superiority and misplaced aspirations in an underlying mosaic of negativism, lack of talent and sheer escapism. Maybe, maybe not, maybe why don’t you go fuck yourself. No hey, I’m sorry. I’m all yours to analyze my self-help guides of good living, but right now I’m not free. The truth will set me free. But right now, I’m getting fucked by the truth from all sides. Maybe the truth will set me free, some day.