The Wastelands Of Our Lives

Photo by Kyle Wehner.

The question of discovery

Begins somewhere

How do we find our better selves?


Perhaps the desert

Holds some answers

These peculiar wastelands

We read so much about

Yet know very little of

We read of heat that scorches

And cold that bites

But do we truly appreciate

What deserts have to offer?

Do we dare venture

Into such discomfort?


We are always amidst the deserts

Spaces that surround us

Yet spaces we dare not acknowledge

A life always seeking the greener pastures

Do we acknowledge the sands that surround us?

The sands that may potentially sink

All our dreams to dust?


The pursuit of happiness, the pursuit of pleasures

Demarcates the paths we often take

We direct our steps away

From pain, from sufferings

Away from the deserts that sear and scald

And bite and freeze

But these are realities

More often met

Than the successes we so often dream of

We seek release…

The battle though

Is not so easily won.

Photo by Kyle Wehner.

The coin of life

Offers two different views

One of plenty

And one of want

Though the possibilities may seem equal

The land of milk and honey

Dreamt up by hopeful hearts

Life seems to play a cruel trick

Seems to tip the coin

And it mostly lands

On the desert wasteland.


In a world delighting in plenty

The desert’s frugality

Can be humbling

When urban spaces promise

A world of possibilities

Deserts make no assurances

When the global space

Offers access to limitless delights

They all answer to calls from without

Never addressing the screams from within

It is a scuffle

Between worlds

One that tells us what we are

And one that demands a quest to find ourselves.


These desert walks

Have much to offer

Agonising encounters

Remind the desert pilgrim

That life with all its beauty

Is also filled with much grief

And one must walk

Despite the pain.


But suffering is a tutor

That teaches better

Than any visions of plenty

Though the lesson

Has its price

It may lead to deliverance

Or to death.


Though reprieve is sought

It never comes

As we think it should

Or as we want

The optical illusions

Promising release

Like mirages that only deceive

They may never truly relieve.


In a life that seeks to shift the blame

Rather than shoulder any faults

Self-deception plays its part

Blinds the victim from the source

They hack the branches but leave the root

Only for misery to sprout again.


Self-discovery is a personal journey

It is never found

In generalised answers

To deeply personal questions

Amidst all the knowledge

That google may flash

The road to authentic discovery

Is a walk we must walk alone.


The desert may kill

When focus is lacking

To survive in the wasteland

Hope must be the anthem

That one must learn to sing

To ensure the water that gives life

Will not run dry!


Limits may only be found

When boundaries are pushed

The threshold of pain

Is often misjudged

Mostly unvalued

For it truly puts a test

On personal convictions

Either enforcing beliefs,

Or breaks them.


The wastelands of our lives

Afford a view

Of places we dare not go

Yet ones we must explore

Spaces of silence

Away from the hustle and bustle

Of notifications and comments

For joy and hope

Find true appreciation

By conquering through the darkness of despair

Not apart from it

The wastelands we must walk

To find our better selves.

Author: Mankhrawbor Dunai

Mankhrawbor Dunai is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Synod College, Shillong. He has been awarded the Senior Research Fellow Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship, and is presently pursuing his PhD from North-Eastern Hill University. He specialises in Children’s Literature and is also keenly interested in Christian Apologetics.

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