Thursday, December 31, 2009


I want to come to terms with death. It’s the biggest truth yet we’re never taught how to deal with it. We have to take our lessons first hand. Why do people get hysterical when their loved ones die? Talk about parents, we all know that they’re gonna go and we’re gonna go too. Daljit uncle’s daughter was hysterical; she kept shaking the dead body and urging the father that was once in there to come back. So is there a soul after all? Does it leave the body when a person dies or do we just cease to exist when we die, no soul nothing, total termination? Without a system of belief backing me up, I’m confused about it. Had I followed religion, I would’ve believed that there was no end, there’d be eternity. To me the idea seems fanciful. What will I do for eternity? Will I float around like a cloud of air forever in a beautiful place called heaven or will I burn in hell? Without a body sensing it, will I feel the heat of hell? Will it hurt me if someone would whip me? If in all probability it won’t, how would it matter if I’d be in hell? I’d still be doing nothing much for eternity. What can eternity feel like if these thirty years of my life already feel like eternity? Would the pleasantness of heaven mean anything to me either? I talk about a couch being heavenly, a bike being heavenly, a sight being heavenly only because I have my five senses in place. I know that they’re connected to the brain that makes me respond to stimuli. Without all this, the senses and the brain, how would it matter to me if I’m being lovingly caressed or being punched, smelling the fresh air or putrid stench, watching the stunning milieu or a ghastly one, tasting a cake or dung, listening to music or cacophony whether for two minutes or for eternity. I remember the time I was 6 or 7 and that seems to be two millions years ago already…what is eternity? The other extreme though more logical, sounds sad; final termination, I will cease to exist. I do not wish to deliberate too much on it. Of late, I’m just possessed at the thought of training myself to accept death as a normal part life (or end to life). Something that’s never talked about till it happens. Of course a statement from dad like, “hey son, these are the papers of the house and I’m keeping them there. You know where to find them in case I die today” would sound ridiculous. But I just want to come to terms with the fact that my parents will die someday and very possibly not together. What will the other parent go through in such an event? How will I react? Will I be like Daljit uncle’s daughter, shaking the dead body shouting, “wake up dad, you can’t go away” or will I be quiet, sad and accepting of the fact that he’s gone for good? Heaven or hell, at least for my near and dear ones, I will cease to exist as a person when I die. The man/woman will go, the memories and works will live on. Anyway, no matter how much I prepare myself, I’d never know what it feels like till it actually happens.

I remember the time my dad was waiting to be operated upon. He was on a stretcher and I was sitting next to him on a small stool. I thought they’d take him in soon but it was a 12 hour wait. When I felt the energy sap out from me, I put my head down next to his and held his cold hand. I couldn’t help but think that he might die. I couldn’t hold back the tears so took deep breaths and just let them flow. I thought he was unconscious, he was almost so. I felt sorry for him. I couldn’t imagine being in his place, having a foot run over by a bus. It was mangled beyond recognition. When they opened the bandages for preliminary examination, I couldn’t believe I was looking at a foot; I couldn’t see sole, I couldn’t see toes, just mangled flesh. They assessed the situation and re-bandaged his foot. Then they sent him for operation which was carried out 12 hours from the time he was sent. Here I was sitting next to my dad, the guy I’ve disliked most of my life, the guy who roughed me up almost everyday when I was young, the guy who I feel is unreasonable many a time…here I was shivering at the thought of losing him. I wept quietly. He reached out with his other hand and placed it on my head. That was the time, I wanted to hug him and howl my heart out. I wish I had the power to make him alright. I wished I was the doctor and would take him into the OT that very second and make him alright, I wished I was a magician, I wished I was God and would touch his foot and make it as it was before it came under the bus. I felt helpless, I felt angry, I wanted to lash out at everyone around me. Then I saw guy covered in a bloody white sheet, he was shivering. He was taken into the OT a few hours before my dad. The next day when my dad was in the recovery room, that boy was shifted next to him. He was staring blankly at the ceiling. He was a thirteen year old Nepali boy. He was traveling without ticket in a train and on realizing he was about to get caught, he jumped out of the moving train. He was lying there with two stumps that were once legs; amputated knee below. The world is real, it was real for me, it was real for that boy, what was to happen had happened, we’d just have to accept it and make the best of it; we didn’t have a choice. The Emergency Room is hellish in its own right only that this hell had angels tending to bodies damned by accidents. There’s no one scolding you for being reckless, for not being careful despite knowing the dangers, they’re just out to save you. For me, that makes this world better than any Heaven.

For reasons that I will one day cease to exist for the people who know me, I must do constructive work, something that’s gonna make at least someone happy.

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