Some solitude now and then is good for your soul and good for the pen. Although for many it may be a discretionary task, for writers and artists solitude comes as a necessity. It is true that we are afraid of loneliness presiding over our lives but solitude is not loneliness; it is something else. Solitude is when you are ‘you’; can you tell me how long you are ‘you’ and how long you are for others? Solitude is the moment of peace, the cursory respite from the world when you are allowed to muse and ruminate in your own thoughts.
It is true that we all cannot be sages or saints engaging in some spiritualistic contemplation on the banks of the flowing waters of the Ganga or meditating on the top of the world. Rather, we are not in a position to do so. For instance, a prolific businessman cannot look up at the mountains to live in solitude. Neither can a man who has to look after his wife and children leave his job and renounce everything. It is almost impossible to get away from the shade of material canopy and depart for solitude. We are fettered to the material world and how much ever we try to go beyond our material means, we are pulled back. In that case, how can one experience the bliss of solitude?
Great writers separated themselves from the world. Keats, Shakespeare, Shelley and Tagore went under the refuge of lakes, rivers, oceans and seas. Tagore swayed on the River Padma carving out immortal poems, Shakespeare faced towards the oceans and went on composing more than 200 legendary works, and Mark Twain kept a window which opened up to the seas. Indeed, it is true that the flowing waters have been a fatal attraction for writers since ages. While Tagore, Shakespeare and Conrad took to the resonances of flowing waters, Bernard Shaw, Dylan Thomas and Dahl chose their secluded, charming studies to write in solitude. The legendary playwright, Shaw had a distinctive rotating hut on the grounds of his only residence. One cannot deny the fact that these writers reached the optimum mark.
Unfortunately, however, today, solitude is a thing of which most are scared. People are erecting more complexes to accommodate more people and avoid the intrusion of solitude in their life. Sadly, it is also true that today we are seeing a number of people leading lachrymose lives lost in the sea of anxiety and megrim. Someone rightly said, “The man who needs a mob to nerve him is much more alone than he imagines.”