VARAD SHARMA pens his thoughts on death
American writer Allen Saunders says, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making some other plans.” Isn’t it true in case of death as well? Death occurs when you are busy in surviving; in making plans to be alive. Death happens all of a sudden.
As per the universal law of nature, one who is born will have to die someday. No one lives here forever. Why is it so? Why shouldn’t this law be amended? Why does the death happen suddenly? Why is the death so hard to face?
A few days ago, my paternal grandfather left this world. About six months ago, my maternal grandfather had died. They died in exile away from home (Kashmir) in another home (Jammu). I wish I were there when they left this world. With their death, a part of me has died forever. With their absence, the part of me also has become absent. Something larger than the life is lost. Something has gone astray. Something is missing from my life. There is a void inside me; some kind of emptiness.
I witnessed death for the first time when my paternal grandmother died. I was there beside her bed where she was lying; frozen, immovable, and silent. I didn’t know what death means. After all, what does eleven years old know about the death? That scene is etched in my memory.
What I’m left with now is the tales, the conversations which we had. The conversations of old times especially Kashmir as they had spent most of their lives there. The conversations would revolve around the life in Kashmir, the Kashmiri tales, the home in Kashmir, the saints & sages who lived in Kashmir and about the ancestors.
As my grandfathers are not there anymore, now there won’t be any such conversations. There won’t be any narration of such tales. There won’t be any such moments now. With their death, that story-telling, that conversation also has died. That will be deeply missed. I remember whenever both my grandfathers met, they chatted more over hookah/cigarettes rather than over tea. Now they both are in the other world, I hope they will catch up sometime & smoke together.
There are only memories now; the memories which will last forever. The memories will remain till my existence and the departed ones will be alive in those memories. As Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero rightly says, “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”
When they died, I was told that it is for the better they died as they were living with much difficulty due to certain health-related complications. I may be wrong but I never agreed with that. I can’t agree to the view that being dead is better than being alive with difficulties. Isn’t it said only to give solace? I think just to console ourselves, we say so.
Death is inevitable. You just can’t do anything. If it has to happen, it will happen. You can only cry, shout, or wail. In front of death, you stand defeated.
Death is a permanent loss. It is a loss which can’t be reversed. The loss remains forever so the pain. You have no other option but to bear the loss till you are alive.