Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Storming Of The Fortress

(This is the story of a tramp that I know of)

A poor tramp once heard of a great fortress somewhere.

It was a period of terrible famines and desolation. It hadn’t rained for a long time in his land, fields did not yield anything, lakes, rivers and water sources had gone all dry. There were rich and powerful people in the land but they were all hoarders. They had amassed great wealth by stock piling what they could obtain for a long period of time.

None gave anything to those they did not know.

Everyone was looking after their own interests. People had lost faith in humanity and barely smiled at others. Every new face was viewed with suspicion. They were seen as infiltrators, enemy agents to sow seeds of disharmony within the near and dear.

So the tramp had gone hungry and thirsty for some time. Whenever he approached anybody for assistance they would drive him away.

You lazy bum, first learn to till the soil, learn to weave clothing, learn to fight the enemy, learn to draw water from wells.

They would say.

Hence the tramp did not get anything. He did not have the soil to till. All soil was taken up by the powerful, he did not have the cotton to weave clothing, all the cotton fields were under privet ownership, he couldn’t fight the enemy, for he had no enemies, he could not draw water from the wells, only the tax payers could use wells and he did not own any wells. He was penniless. He had never felt the need for any.

So the tramp subsisted with what he could obtain from around him and that was not much. All the while he had been hearing in hushed tones about the siege of a great fortress somewhere where there was immense wealth.

He had nothing to gain by staying where he was, so he trudged towards the great fortress everyone was talking about with awe. He had no grand aims in this, he only wanted to appease his hunger and thirst if he could.

He was hearing the noise of great battles going on from afar, the air was cloudy with kicked up dust and the smoke from mighty guns, great battle cries were heard, giant machines were roaring, new recruits were arriving every minute to join the various armies.

Now he could see the fortress, it looked inaccessible, impenetrable and inviolable. Giant armies were lying in siege to the fortress, there were unending raids going on, all the sides of the fortress was covered, ladders had been put up on its sides and soldiers were seen crawling upwards on them. Maps of the fortress were being studied, underground tunnels were being dug. Strategies were being discussed. Fights were even breaking out between the armies, all laid claim to the best action to overcome the fortress.

The tramp walked around viewing the massive goings on and became aware of his own insignificance, he had no valor to join in the armies and in fact he was foot sore, tired and needed a place to rest. No one would grant him any, all the places were occupied. The soldiers drove him out from everywhere.

You bum, clear off, what has the cat to do where the gold is being melted. Go and ply your trade somewhere else.

But the tramp had nowhere to go. So he looked on the fortress with wonder, what is in there to attract so many, it seemed not resisting or fighting back. No guns were seen on the ramparts, no archers were seen anywhere.

The tramp had nothing to lose, he would die anyhow, he had no baggage and he carried no arms. The fortress had nothing to fear from him. So he decided to go and see if the fortress would have him, if no one else in the world did. He looked around for a path to get to the fortress by the easiest route and without directly coming under fire from the legions fighting it. He found an unoccupied path; it seemed to be the only path too.

He got on it and went towards the fortress.

There were laughter all round, everybody was jeering.

Look at the tramp; he is going to assault the fortress all by himself.

Hey tramp, join the armies.

The fool is on a path of self destruction.

The tramp did not mind, he had been called everything even before, but none had helped him, he had nothing to lose.

The path was uncluttered, everyone had carefully kept away from it because it was the most uninteresting of all, there was no valor in going that way, it was a smooth and clear path, there were no chances to show ones prowess on it and so it was kept out of the charts and covered up intentionally.

The tramp was not proud, so he went forward on it and reached the gates.

Wonder of wonders, there was no gate, there were not any doors, there were no sentries, and nothing obstructed his path.

He went in and looked around. Suddenly there was no fort anymore, there was no siege, there were no armies, there was no tramp, he realized that the fort is within himself and all that supposed to lie outside was also within himself, there were no barriers, nothing to conquer. He was the lord and master of everything.

He was no more a tramp.

He was at peace. He had no imaginary thirst to satisfy then, no imaginary hunger to appease, no imaginary places to rest.

He had become the truth, the consciousness and the bliss. He also knew that he had been so all the time and there was no one to take it away.

He stayed there a while.

Then he was drawn out by his tramp-body and thought, now that I have seen the fortress and knows that it is within me all the time, why not go out and play around for a while.

He again assumed the grab of the tramp and left the fortress. The legions roared with laughter.

Here comes the crazy tramp that went to conquer the fortress.

Oh ho the lazy pig was driven away; you see how the bum looks.

The imbecile thought it was easy. We couldn’t do it with umpteen forays.

The tramp laughed with them, called himself names, kicked himself for the foolishnesses he committed and begged them for food and shelter.

This time they did not drive him away, though useless he too had returned defeated from the assault of the fortress.

The tramp now placed himself on a knoll behind the field of battle and watched the proceedings. There were great heroes like Achilles and Arjuna in the fray. The assaults were on. He wondered at the great prowess exhibited by all the great warriors. Goose bumps would start down his spine when some great forays are made.

How brave and heroic these people are! They are relentless. The tramp would think with wonder.

Now and again he would leave his place and beg for something to subsist with. They were kind to him this time and would give him a morsel.

Out of gratefulness he would say to them:

You know, the fortress is always open; you can go in just like that, there you see, is the path to it.

The soldiers would look at each other and try to hide a smirk. They would say.

We know all about that. Now leave and keep out of sight, don’t let the great generals see you.

The moment his back is turned there would be an outbreak of uncontrollable mirth.

The poor crazy bum, telling us about the way to get into the fortress……..He became totally unhinged after his try.

The great generals would show their contempt for him whenever he was in sight.

Who is he?

The soldiers would cover their mouths not to laugh out loud.

He is the one we spoke to you about sirs.

Oh, the one who knows the path to the fortress?

Then they would all laugh outright. The tramp would also join in.

Anyway keep the nuisance out from the fields; we wouldn’t want to hurt the path finder would we?

Oh that’s difficult sirs; he is irrepressible, jumps into the middle of the fray from time to time.

Well a sad case it is.

And the generals would leave.

As they said the tramp would sometimes join with the armies that helped him and would run with them to the fortress throwing small stones at it. They would not go very far, but the soldiers would cheer him on:

Bravo tramp, you have the spirit.

Did you look at the distance he threw the stones, whew!

He also used to get in the fray between armies, joining forces with the one which helped him. Calling names, throwing stones till his energy is exhausted with the effort.

He knows its all play and has no meaning in the real sense whatsoever.

Other times he would be back on the knoll, watching. He knew he had to kill time somehow till the body wears off………..

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