Contemporaries are sometimes meant to meet at the points in life when they can learn from each other. After that, they are left with rumours and echoes about their passages through time.

A simple remark about an old spar becoming a high court judge in a remote country evokes images of someone making ambitious and pragmatic choices. One is left with a feeling of wonderment about the thought processes that led to that outcome.

Then the bubble is burst in an online chat with a mutual associate. The so called ‘judge’ is actually doing something less difficult to imagine. He even lives in the city he grew up in.

Those are moments when one realises that we can all afford to be gentler with ourselves than we are. Is it possible that the person doing the comparative thinking might have journeyed more adventurously than most?

Social circles form and dissolve in random ways. Why should anyone else’s journey be more interesting or captivating than one’s own?