If I have to live a whole year alone on an uninhabited island, I will, but I am going to make some assumptions.
An incredibly affluent friend of mine and I (we were classmates in school, that is why he condescends to mix with me) had a bet. If I could live one full year alone on an uninhabited island, he would gift me any of a chain of seaside villas he owned around the country, apart from contributing fifty lakh rupees to my bank account (in the event that I lost my job and didn’t later feel like getting a new one). If I didn’t make it—what could I give him, the poor fellow that I was? It would just bear out his contention that no man can live alone on an uninhabited island for one year and remain sane.
I suppose the very, very rich are like that. They are willing to spend any amount of money to prove that they are right. I must also make it clear that he was absolutely certain I would lose the bet.
My second assumption is that, since the test is only on one’s ability to face solitariness, I will not have to forage for food or fuel or things like that, but that these will be arranged for me in whatever manner, even if they have to be air-dropped from a helicopter! I mean, there is no way I want to find myself in a position where the three things I would most like to take along with me are a dozen gas cylinders, a gas stove, and enough salt to do a year’s cooking! Given these and other unstated but implied pre-conditions, the three things I would want to take are a mobile, a laptop and my scripture.
I think it is obvious why I should wish to carry a mobile along—it would be lovely to hear the voices of my near and dear ones, and to talk to them.
God has gifted us with imagination, and if we use this imagination to clothe the voices we hear with their appropriate bodies, it is almost as good as being with them in person; and so, with a little ingenuity, one can people an uninhabited island with as many people as one speaks to over the mobile phone!
Though I am not a great photography buff, I would not at all mind using my mobile camera to take a few snaps of the island for my old age’s sake. Old age, they say, is spent with old memories, and it would do no harm to buttress those memories with some helpful pictures.
My laptop will be my pen, paper, typewriter, postal service, newspaper and library all rolled into one. I will use it to record my thoughts and impressions, to compose essays and stories and poems, to send them as emails and attachments to family members, friends, and publishers; to keep in touch with the events of the day in the larger world beyond my island, and to read the large variety of literature I will have at my disposal.
My scripture will be the primary source of my psychological strength. When there are moments of panic or fear or depression (despite my mobile and laptop), I will turn to my scripture for courage and hope. Its words of wisdom will be my spiritual food and the light that will show me the way when I am lost.
With the help of these three things I dare say I will not only survive the year in question, but come out of it enriched in experience and ownership!