The Odyssey of Ruby: Life’s Unseen Journey in Layers of Existence

In the heart of the bone marrow, Ruby is born—a tiny spark of life, glowing red and vibrant with vigor. Released into the bloodstream, Ruby embarks on her quest through veins and arteries, reaching the lungs to embrace oxygen. Tirelessly, she travels from cell to cell, scattered in a vast, complex world she can scarcely comprehend—a world they call the “body.” Her mission is simple yet vital: to knock on cells’ doors, deliver oxygen, and take carbon dioxide in return.

Red blood cells journey
Journey of Ruby – a red blood cell. Image generated by author using Dall-E

In Ruby’s world, rhythm is dictated not by the sun or moon but by the powerful heart muscle cells. These resourceful beings have unlocked the secret to longevity, often living until the body’s final days—a mystery Ruby can never fully grasp. Weary but content, Ruby’s life ends after just 120 days as she reaches the spleen, where she disintegrates and is recycled to give birth to new Rubys. Her lifespan, however brief, is longer than that of her fellow passengers, the white blood cells. Ruby feels the lives of these white fighters are much sadder—they are constantly summoned to battle enemies called antibodies and rarely live more than 12 days. Their short-lived existence offers Ruby a small solace.

This tale is not just an artistic rendering of the lifespan of various cells in the human body. It draws a parallel to our own helpless, hapless journey in the conscious world. Cells like Ruby may not be conscious, but they are life forms in their own right, navigating a complex, often cruel world. Unlike single-celled bacteria, they are interdependent. Beautifully crafted by natural evolution, they cooperate with each other, living their lifespans and unknowingly fulfilling their purpose, forming organs and, ultimately, a body. Every moment, cells in our body are destroyed, new cells are born, yet we prevail, unaware of the struggle of life beneath us.

You, me, all of us—how different are we in the eyes of society? We strive to live our lives while death constantly looms, ready to take us at any moment. To survive, we find roles within society, make a living, and in doing so, we serve society knowingly or unknowingly. We do not fully understand what society is, just as Ruby cannot comprehend her world—the body. Yet, society marches forward from one civilization to the next. In this grand progression, individual lives, with their fleeting spans, are often crushed. Our happiness, desires, sadness, dreams, and hopes seem insignificant as long as society prevails. Or perhaps society tailors our lives for its own benefit.

What, indeed, is society? Does the body live because of Rubys, or do Rubys live because of the body? Or is nature nothing but a tapestry of struggle between life and death, light and darkness, God and nothingness, designed layer upon layer? We are only conscious of our layer—at the level of our body.

Layer of life
Interplay of life and death, light and darkness, God and nothingness. Image generated by author using Dall-E

Leave a Reply

A Soliloquy
A bilingual blog in Bengali and English. © A Soliloquy