Monday, December 22

The Supreme Conqueror

I spoke to an old friend after ages the other day. We live pretty close by, but have lost touch over the last couple of years since each went a different way in college.

I recently heard she had lost her mother, but despite our school-day intimacy, I could not find the nerve to meet her and offer my condolences... I’ve always had a tough time facing death and the relatives of the deceased. Be it one of
my junior college-mates who drowned in a freak accident, or a school-mate who hung himself, or another college-mate who expired due to cancer...

Death is the final reality, the ultimate victor. No living thing can say it has evaded vanquishment coz none can elude this destiny. Yet we shun the topic, and the moment someone near talks about it, we are filled with a sense of dread and annoyance. Like when my mum talks about making a will and donating her body/eyes, the men in my familysnap at her and change the subject. WHY? If a person wants something to be done some way after he/she is no more, then why don’t we respect their wishes? Why do we consider talking about death ghastly and distasteful? It IS a reality after all. And it is going to happen to everyone. You, me, our neighbors, colleagues, everyone...

Yet we
behave like we’re gona live forever. We accumulate wealth and luxuries, we hurt people and exploit opportunities as if we shall always govern them. As if we have an eternity to make things right that we ruin today, and as if we shall always be in control of things/people around us...
Death comes without warning; people in their mid-20s receive no notification as they run head-first into its arms, while those on their deathbed continue to live for many more decades... All we can do, is wait... And watch... And hope for the best.

I skirt going to funerals and death ceremonies for two reasons. One, because I feel very inadequate and at a loss for words. Two, coz I want the bereaved to get over the incident. Which they will not be able to do if people from all over come at different intervals of time and talk about the same episode again and again.

Society
expects that people will cry forever. That each time someone mentions death or the departed, people will mourn. Lets be candid, it doesn’t happen. People cry once, twice, thrice maybe, and then tears dry up. Memories remain, as does grief, but that does not necessitate loud bawling and visible lamenting. Genuine anguish is discernible even in the absence of a single sound. And haven’t we all seen that the ones who cry the loudest are often the ones who are least bothered about the event and most concerned about making an impression?
(Note : No offence meant. I completely agree there maybe exceptions. Just cited an observation of some of us who have encountered a demise in the orthodox and conservative areas in India.)
I remember seeing my grand-dad’s dead body laid out for all to see when I was barely 4-5 summers old. I wasn’t sure what was happening, though I think I understood that he was not alive anymore and people were grieving for him. He was a good man, a famous chap, and he even has one of the main streets in the village named after him. But how did that affect us kids? Me and my cousins played a merry game of pakda-pakdi (Tag!) in the backyard as the ceremonies went on in the front.

I now know that someone who really loves and cares for you will be by your side when you suffer a calamity. And that I need to be with those I know when they undergo a tragedy. Be it joy or sorrow, one must stand by those he/she deems important in any way. It is OK if you don’t say a word, it is OK if you don’t do the most thoughtful things. Just be there. That is THE right thing to do. Avoiding that person or trying to spurn the issue only makes both feel worse.

I apologize to all those who I did not meet or talk to, when there was a mishap. Please forgive me, I was weaker than you, unaware coz I did not comprehend how much it means when people stand by you in times of trouble.

And thanks, Bhabhi, for helping me come to this realization. Had we not had that conversation the other day, I would still be grappling with the dilemma of how to get back on talking terms with the old friend...

I’m with you, people.
Always.
All ways.

Love,
Lonely Princess

4 comments:

vishal said...

hi lonely princess it's a very nice one on reflections on our own existence,we mortal beings..u rite on people crying for no reason whatsoever..witness it in my home when dad passed away n also i've lost some very important people in my life..u suddenly fel ur life crashing..but we need to reason with ourselves yhat it's inevitable..I'm a born hindu in a so-so conservative family and i've read the qu'ran and it taught me so many things..how to become a better human..DEATH..IF WE REALLY WANT TO MEET SOME1 WHO PASED AWAY,WE SHOULD read..doesnt matter if its the KU'ran,Bible and Bhagwad gita..i believe in the here-after and as well no1 dies..the body dies..the soul is here.keep writing..love ur blog n life philosophy..
yyeah cheers,lonely princess.

sumant said...

hey bossy..dats really nice topic u picked up tdy.actually if u see..The victim of an incident which takes the life of a loved one, is the one who survives the deceased and not the deceased. And trust me i learnt a gr8 thing from a person whom i value still very much and the only person who taught me what love is that treat each day as if it were the last and hug ppl you like..Hug and tell them you love them..

Nice one..keep writing

Biprashish said...

Hi Princess (I hate calling you Lonely....somehow!!!!),
Your topic is a day to day reality for each one of us & yet we all surprisingly keep shying away....
We all know, death would come to each one of us....so why not look it up....our ancient scriptures educate us on this....its just the body which is dropping.....u & I and all others are souls(atman)....alive thru the passage of time....taking up a fresh new look in a fresh new place.....in other words.....recycled!!!!......so look beyond & enjoy the cycle of life!! Its actually fascinating, when you see life from this perspective...its so full of possibilities...so full of challenges....there are no dull moments!!!!
Also when it comes to mourning the death of someone....come forward & share the grief.... dont shun away, cause you feel awkward.....in fact you dont have to say anything or behave in a particular way.....just go & sit quietly for a while, words as it is have a limited expression.....silence speaks much louder than words....it has a more deeper & teling effect. Just your mere presence will make the other person feel that he/she is not alone in grief.... these are the times when someone needs all the support....& I believe, you can really do that....u come across as someone who is hopelessly loving & sensitive!!!!.....also you dont have to be apologetic for not having attended such situations in past.... U have been natural & that's what matters. So go ahead & spread your love....Remember, its easy to smile & shower happiness when things are good & light, but to smile & spread serene solidarity & happiness in trying times, in moments of grief is strength of the self. I know you can do it.....
Cheers,
Bips

Lonely Princess said...

Hi All!

I'm sorry about your loss, Vishal. I admire your strength and rationality. Keep reading and commenting. Thanks for your appreciation :-)

Sumant, indeed, you should not waste the scarce opportunity to tell people you love them; later is too late...

Hey Bips! (You can call me watever you wish!) I know about the life and death cycle, where each life is like a dream and each time we wake up, we are the Atman/soul waiting to enter yet another body. However, it's mighty tough to come to terms with death, of the swelf or others... Isn't that why we're humans and not Devas?!! People who don't fear death live more complete and fulfilled lives, I've noticed. After all, who can battle them who have fought the fight within?!!

Appreciata all your comments, guys. Do keep coming and back and giving your feedback.

Cheers!
Anuja