Going through the rules and all of the sixteen prompts of the contest, I, like countless others, chose what I thought could be turned into a great piece of story.
“The floor felt cold on his skin as he sat on the floor. He wondered how he ended up in a
prison. It had been a terrible week”


“What happened to him?” The doctor asked, rushing to the ER.
“Stock market collapsed,” replied the son.
“I mean… I mean, he had a heart attack…”

The thinking Industries of my brain started churning out a plot for the story- a ‘Breaking Bad’-esque thriller:
A Wall Street lobbyist with terminal cancer, a dollar hungry computer science dropout; I had my Walter Senior and Jesse Pinkman. This story would not be about crystal meth, but hey, I had a better drug to play with- STOCKS. Two guys would corrupt the stock market, exploit loopholes, make big bucks from some fraudulent company stocks, only to see their value tumble down to cents. This would finally result in the lobbyist’s heart attack and the dropout’s capture. A pretty fine plot if you’d ask me. A bit of hard work could turn this into a good novel to read.

But all of this still does not explain the title, right?

Yeah, because as I sat down to write something meaningful, something else started bothering me. Yes, I had my basic plot, but were they worth the trouble going forward with? What about those other prompts? What if I’d do better with the other topics? What if choose wrongly?
If my knowledge of permutation and combination serves me right, sixteen prompts taken two at a time would allow for ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY different choices.


All of them different, all of them unique in their own ways. All of them presenting opportunities that could be exploited for a proper piece of writing. Amidst all the doubts that start plaguing me, something new struck me.

Variety. Permutations. Perception. Choices. Differences.
Given the same sixteen prompts, why is it that everyone comes up with something different? Why don’t we share the same choices? Why do we see things differently when we are made up of the same flesh and bones? Is it the proportion of the elements inside that works wonders, or is it something beyond mortal understanding?

Yes. I am deviating. Grossly.

To clarify, this is not going to be the same ‘Breaking Bad’-esque story that I thought it would be. This is going to be about the intricacies of human thinking and the things that makes us think so differently. Blame me for the deviation, but this is me trying to be creative.

So, I ask again. Why is our perception of the world so different?

Is it because of genetics? Few minute differences in everyone’s nucleic acid dictating imagination and perception? Maybe. Maybe not.

Is it the environment? Our culture? Our gender? Or the people around us who influence our prejudices? Maybe. Maybe not.

Is it entropy- the randomness of chemical reactions in each one of us that does not allow symmetry in our thoughts? Maybe. Maybe not.

It could very well be an amalgamation of all the above that does the trick. We will never know.

Till the time we actually find out the right reasons, one thing is for sure- life would be boring as hell if all of us did not see it differently. It is even hard to imagine a world where similitude is a rule. It is our different tastes, our variable headsets that define who we actually are.

Come to think of it, nothing will be more apt an ending for the article and its theme than Edmund Wilson’s famous words:
“No two persons ever read the same book”