The boy who grew up

The boy had seen the world, but had not yet understood the world of humans. He knew the language of the heart, but not the words that people spoke. He knew the natural art of being a human, but not the artificial artifice accompanying it.

But, this was all in the past. The incident I am about to relate to you had cured him of the malaise of being a human, and instead made him a man of the world. Now, my dear reader, being perceptive you may rightfully sense cynicism in my tone, and wonder if I approve of the change that overcame our central character. I assure you, dear sir, I have no intention of making known more than what I have already done as regards my views on this subject. After all, isn’t society too rigid a mountain for a single person to move, rendering it pointless for insignificant mortals to raise the flag of revolution? Let me, therefore, hasten to relate to you the story, and leave it to your thinking mind to cogitate over it.

It was late in the evening. The wind blowing across the town brought with it the gift of cold. It was fall, and the trees were devoid of leaves. The few that did retain leaves made a beautiful rustling noise as the breeze whistled cheerfully through them. The ones without leaves were bare and did not show signs of life; yet they were keen witnesses to what was about to happen. It was a holiday. The buildings in the town were closed. Sitting outside one such building, the boy had his computer playing songs to him. Music calmed his mind, soothed his senses and enabled the wellspring of life to reclaim its dedicated soldier. Spending time in the company of his own self, he had found a friend in his mind. Our friend was communing thus with his thoughts when the voices of the leaves were drowned by a shrill voice. Looking up, he could make out two figures some distance ahead of him. One of them was making those incomprehensible noises. The voice was that of a girl, or so the boy thought. Ahead of the two figures was a girl, to whom the speaker seemed to be addressing his speech, if you could use that term to designate those noises.

In a moment, as the three figures passed under the orange light of a street lamp, the boy figured out that the two figures at the back were boys. Their actions suggested the benevolent effects of alcohol. To the boy the girl seemed to be wanting to get away from the guys trailing her. He was faced with a choice. Passivity and the inertia that characterizes most conditioned beings would have willed him to remain a mute spectator to the drama playing out in front of him. But, if you would kindly recollect what we had observed at the very beginning, the boy was still a child of eternity uneducated in societal propriety. His innate curiosity emerged as the victor, and shutting down his computer, he decided to follow the trio.

It seemed the boy’s lingering suspicions were validated. The girl indeed did seem to him to be running away. She stopped abruptly in her path, turned sharply, and entered the nearest building. The two guys followed. Our friend, lagging behind, reached the building in due course of time, only to discover it to be locked. Evidently, the three of them had used keys to enter it, lacking which rendered our friend helpless.

The boy was again faced with a choice. Again, his piqued curiosity won over any feeling of unconcern and led him to call the local police to request their assistance in facilitating his entry into the building. Not sure whether to categorize the threat he perceived to the helpless girl (helpless she was, in his mind) as legitimate or to brush it off as the product of an excessively vivid imagination, he committed the cardinal sin of lying to the police. Cooking up a mundane reason for wanting to enter the building, he asked them to hasten to the building with the keys.

As luck would have had it, hardly had he got off the phone, did a gentleman exiting the building graciously allow our friend into it. The building was that of a school. The boy wandered through the corridors only to find the rooms empty. Unable to detect any indication of wrong-doing, he exited as he had entered.

At that very moment, a police officer, with his neatly pressed uniform and well-rehearsed speech, arrived on the scene. The youth thanked him for coming, but informed him that he had been into the building already. As the police officer, still polite despite having had to negotiate the chilly winds on his motorcycle only to be informed that it had been in vain, was about to depart, the boy hesitated.

He faced a choice yet again. And again, the perceived danger to the girl won over the probable tribulations he knew he would have to face if he went ahead with what his quixotic mind perceived to be the correct thing to do. And he informed the police officer of the actual facts of the story.

The polite officer, evidently agitated by this revelation, called in a couple of other officers. The boy was interrogated. The prima facie evidence would have wrongly implicated the boy had any wrongdoing been discovered. The boy was taken to a police station for questioning, while the field officers tried to ascertain the truth behind the facts revealed by our friend. And he was let go soon enough.

Drained of energy by the events of the night, the boy slid into a deep sleep. As he awoke the next morning, he realized the benefits of passivity over action, and with that he had completed his transformation into a product of the larger society.

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