Adam and Hira had just turned twenty, when they realised, they were in prison. Now they could see four monumental walls topped with barbed wire to the north, south, east and west. Now they could make out the prison officer uniforms on men and women they had not noticed before. Now they could see other prisoners around them, looking and behaving much like themselves. Fear and anguish grew chains around their hands and ankles; the couple struggled to move as the realisation took hold of them; their breaths quickened and sweat trickled on their heads. How on earth did they not realise this before? Why were they prisoners? What had they done wrong? As far as they knew, they had lived an average life in an average town, following the law of the land, most of the time, and keeping out of trouble. Yet now they found themselves languishing behind towering walls and barbed wire.
“Can I help you?”
Adam and Hira were interrupted by a strange looking man and woman with strange smiles on their faces. Strange and somehow comforting. They beckoned Adam and Hira to follow them. Adam hesitated, as did Hira, but the strange comforting smiles impelled them to move along and gave them respite from the terror of being inside.
These rather bizarre strangers, with long, white flowing clothes and inexplicable smiles rested under a nearby lote tree and patted the ground for Adam and Hira to sit next to them. Their smiles flowed into the prisoners and guided them to settle down. People on their way to work, many of whom were unsuspecting prisoners, walked by in a state of ignorant bliss. Hira shuddered at the thought that all these people would one day see the great walls and guards around them. Adam stared out, wondering if he was in a lucid nightmare.
The strangers smiled once again.
“We were prisoners like you once…”
Adam and Hira now gazed at the other two in surprise.
“We were prisoners, like you, realising that all our lives we had been surrounded by walls and guards, but then we found a way to escape…” Began the man.
The smile and the words smothered Adam’s terror momentarily. Deep within, Hira knew that this man and woman before them were free. They had found a way out…
“What do you mean?” Adam stuttered. “How are you free?”
The stranger looked at Adam and Hira with great vigour. The woman said: “You have to break down the four fortified walls; then you will walk free.”
“How on earth is that possible?” whispered Hira gloomily as the great shadows of the four walls cast around them.
The stranger glanced around the prison also and smiled yet again. She said:
“The bricks of these walls are composed of four elements: the obsession for food and sex, the lust for violence, hatred of others for race and creed and, finally, arrogance and worship of the self. To break these walls and to live a free spirit in the world, you must dislocate every brick of these obsessions. Every man and woman in this world are born free, with infinity, but then allow these walls to form around them, until they walk the earth in a self-made prison. Very few realise where they are. Very few see the walls and the guards. And you have seen the walls and guards, my friends, you have seen them. Will you now just be content to wither away behind these walls?”
Adam and Hira were in a stupor by what they had heard. The initial shock was still gripping on to their limbs, but these words had a ring of truth. They yearned to be free.
The strangers gave each of them what looked like precious objects, wrapped in soft, shining, velvety materials.
“So, if you desire freedom, then take this, find what is inside and use it, like you used to as a child, and we will come to see you from time to time. Loosening the bricks usually takes time and work and tears. If you desire the infinity beyond the walls, start using what is inside this….” The man said pointing at the coverings.
With that, the strangers disappeared, through the guards and prisoners.
The walls seemed to grow taller, more magnificent and enclosing, the guards seemed more menacing, the prisoners seemed to be filling the area. Then Adam and Hira untied the soft coverings, and began exploring what lay inside…