One rainy day, a little boy was staring at his reflection on the window. He noticed that his eyes were a little darker than they looked on a regular mirror. He wondered on the possibility of another, darker world, hidden behind every reflective surface. He stared and stared, daring the reflection to blink or move. Nothing.

A few miles away from where the little boy was, there was a farmer’s wife preparing a pyre. She gathered the wet wood and arranged it lovingly and with great care, like she was caring for a new-born infant. This was one of the many rituals that she has to endure. Back and forth, stomping on the wet grass, not minding the cold or the rain, only caring about the ritual. Nothing else matters. They are all gone now. All that was left was nothing.


In a far-away land, far from the little boy and the farmer’s wife, there was a princess. Every day she bathed in milk and honey, dressed in the finest robes, and waited on hand and foot by a dozen hand maidens. She ate only the freshest fruits, hand-picked by the desert virgins and drank only the finest wine from a continent away. She had and could have everything she desired, but her she was, walking 3 paces behind her brother prince and her father, The King. She wondered what would happen if she removed her veil, let the arid desert wind blow through her dark, luscious hair. What would happen if she went out for a stroll outside the palace, on her own, without an escort? She wondered how true freedom felt like. She wondered with a heavy heart. Oh how she longed to feel the sun on her skin and sing to others about the beauty of the desert and of life. She did nothing.


In another country, a young man was preparing for war. He strapped the bombs to his body, and he tried to recite The Teachings. His hands shook and his fear was palpable, but he continued with the ritual. “This is for the greater good, this is justice”, he repeated under his breath like a broken record. Once everything was in place, he drove his motorcycle to the busy market. He tried to imagine the proud, smiling face of his late mother, but even now, so close to the end, he could see nothing. He stepped off his motorcycle and walked into the middle of the crowd. A crushing silence filled his mind. He tuned out all the voices of the innocents around him who are about to be sacrificed for The Almighty. He pressed the button. He felt everything, then he felt nothing.


Way out in the East, far from the frightened little boy, far from the farmer’s wife (whose sanity left her moments ago), far from the pampered, sad princess, far from the tragic young man, there was a woman on a train, under the busy streets of the city. Her eyes were glazed over, reflecting the lights from her smart phone. It pinged and buzzed and beeped, and she stared and stared at the screen. Her mind lacked the rich, yet dark imagination that the little boy had. Her constant typing and swiping on the screen lacked the ritual and love that is currently consuming the farmer’s wife. There was no gratitude or passion in the freedom she had. Her hair flowing from the air currents in the subway, her skin touched a strangers’ skin as she pushed her way out of the carriage and all around her was the song of the city, the song of life. All went unnoticed. She was a prisoner. She tuned out all the voices of the innocents and the sinners around her, not because she was about to make a sacrifice for The Almighty, but it was for the hungry, electronic portal she held in her hand. Everyone around her had their own portal, streaming information at the speed of light. They pressed a button and felt nothing.