Realising Death

One evening as a child, I was lying on my mom’s lap staring at a ventilator and then it happened. The realization came and chilled me to my bones. Perspiration ran all over my body, and I hugged my mom tightly. I realized one day I will die. It will be the day when I will lose all contact with this world. I will hear nothing, see nothing and feel nothing. This is not a film and I am not a hero, it is stark reality. Death will come at the end.

I asked my mom, and she said yes I will and so will everybody. She ran her fingers through my hair. I tried to think the validity of the saying that dead people, our near and dear ones, keep watching over us from somewhere in heaven. I looked at the photograph of my grandparents. Is it possible to watch from that photograph? Is there a window somewhere that helps you to keep an eye on your beloved ones? The more I thought the nightmarish death seemed. I somehow managed to come out of the thought. But the thought keeps visiting me even now.

Now, the concept of afterlife or watching from above never appealed to me because I never believed in such a possibility. I read Geeta but the idea of soul discarding the older body and taking the newer one never rang true to me. I rather took to the Carvaka philosophy that my body is my soul. Once I am dead I will cease to exist. It is here that the fear of death took hold of me. I do not want to miss out life, and the experiences that it makes me undergo. Yes, sometimes I did wish to die but that was more emotional a thought than a desperate wish.

In fact my fear and realization of the inevitability of death has made me see the reason behind the belief in heaven and afterlife. It has also helped me understand that it needs unimaginable cruelty to kill someone and at the same time fathomless depression to commit suicide. We are all scared of death. We don’t want to leave the people who we love. It is difficult to accept the truth that the person closest to our heart will one day turn into mere ashes. Seeking refuge behind soul independent of mortal body gives one the satisfaction that not everything is lost. Even after death something of that person will remain. Something more definite than memory. After all, your memory may weaken with age but the soul of the dead relative will be always there. Even when we die our soul will continue to see everything. We will still be able to see our wives, parents, and children even when we are dead.

It is true this belief is comforting. But unfortunately I do not subscribe to it. That is why I am afraid to lose this world that I love. Afterworld is a myth, to me. I don’t know how I will react when I will lose those I am closest to.  I don’t want to die and I don’t want them to die, but that’s to going to happen. Death is a part of life. Roses wither without complaint. And I am sure given a choice dodo, Olive Ridley turtles and tigers would have said that they don’t want to die. But death is a part of life. When we accept the latter we promise to accept the other. When the time comes I will have to deal with it on my own; depending on my own belief.

Now, one can only imagine the depth of frustration and suffering that compels someone to take his or her own life. Unfortunately, nowadays suicides have become a norm. Every year board exam results also bring along a list of those students that have committed suicide. Many students end their lives merely fearing a bad report card. Guess they have never received a support system strong enough. May be their loved ones failed to show them the beautiful and colourful life that lies beyond the world of text books and grading. Someone should have told him how to become strong enough to accept failure and move on with life. Ending one’s life cannot be a solution. It is, rather, the destruction of a possibility.

We humankinds are very cruel. We can kill our fellow men without even knowing them. Our wars and our riots bear enough proof of it. Murders, killing in the name of caste and honour are rampant. Where is the honour in killing your loved one? In order to live a comfortable and respectable life we give importance to so many other things that we forget to respect and love life itself. Hatred covers our heart and we start to destroy human life as if it is dirt cheap.

Can’t we be more loving and more caring? If a person can care for a dog or a horse why can’t he care for a human being? Life is really short, and no one knows what lies beyond death. So, spread love as much as you can. At least try.

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