The Troubled Intellectual

Umar slowly put the book down on the table, his finger still inside the pages. It took him a minute to close it, and he did so slowly, deeply inhaling. He sat there for many more minutes, with a heavy heart. He wondered how many people had sat in this library, perhaps in this very chair, reading the same book, enlightening themselves with the same knowledge? Were they enlightened like he was?

Given the Pakistani people, especially ones who might’ve used this particular library for anything other than the air conditioning, he didn’t think so. He ran his hand through his hair, feeling as if he had absorbed too much too fast, but grateful that his mind could adapt to such changes. He sneaked a look towards the glass shelves that reflected his silhouette, and couldn’t stop him from running another hand through his hair whilst gazing mysteriously at himself; a true intellectual’s hair must be appropriately tousled.

He sat pondering over all that had been written centuries ago, marveling at such genius and how it must have come about. Pity that the world didn’t produce writers and thinkers such as the one he was reading. Then again, he had yet to publish one of his works, so there was still hope. He knew he would instantly become a best-seller and would garner fame and money, although he had some of both, the former self-made, albeit local, and the latter inherited. Of course, he would wait until he had reached the last ounces of his patience regarding his own existence to publish any of his works. Let them read as he lay dead and rotting in his grave. Mind you, he considered himself one of the best writers in the country, unpublished or otherwise, and sometimes he really was tempted to publish his works. Alas, the world wasn’t ready for his scandalous writings just yet.

He regretfully rose from his seat, stroked a finger down the book’s cover and sighed deeply. It was time to desert his scholarly pursuits and join the world of less intelligent men. He could never comprehend how people just weren’t…smart? He wouldn’t say they could all be as smart as him, but all anyone needed to do was pick up a book and books were widely accessible, on the internet, in libraries, and what better time spent than on a book? Tsk. He didn’t hold much hope for the Pakistani people, especially the pseudo-communist intellectuals, and liberal fascists roaming around the campus. They knew something, but clearly not enough. They needed to pick up more books.

As he went out of the library and into the smoldering heat outside, he wished he was on a better campus, if only his grades could’ve been better, then again, what could be expected from a faulty education system, besides, grades were not a measure of his intellect, he thought, just as he came across a fellow classmate. Good, he could now bestow upon the poor sweat soaked fellow, how he managed to get a full score on his mid-term and berate him for not studying hard enough. If only people would study hard enough, they could get good grades.

Before he knew it, he began speaking of the book he’d read, and the knowledge that flowed through his veins. As his hand motions became more and wilder, a slight nagging at the back of his mind signaled that maybe his classmate wasn’t all that interested in this one-sided conversation, but he paid absolutely no mind to it in a show of his superior mental capacities, and his need to enlighten everyone he came across. The other man stood barely tolerating verbal diarrhea, hoping for that cloud in the corner to come offer him shade, or that tree to fall on him, for that matter.

When he finally made up an excuse to leave, Umar twitched his eyebrows at him in disdain. How could these people live without the illumination offered by the superior knowledge he’d just digested? He would never know, but just as he was pondering the inferior thought processes of the people around him, he spotted another victim.

Yes, he would never stop trying to educate people.

(The story is completely and utterly fictional and slightly satirical in nature. Any resemblance is purely coincidental unless it’s resulting in a much-needed self-examination of one’s character, and superior intellect.)

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