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I am not afraid of dying. I mean what’s the big deal in dying? You are too dead to care if the Rupee will rise again, if you’ll fit into those jeans again, if Rahul Gandhi becomes our PM, why everyone is so concerned that you invest in a flat in Noida’s Sector 3456….
In fact, it’s your friends and family you leave behind, who have to deal with grief or relief depending on what a good/bad job you did of not annoying / annoying them.
Unfortunately for all of us, death is an inevitable that we cannot escape. The final must-do in our bucket list. Besides giving up on the tax refund you claimed in 2002.
For someone who loves writing and opining, words fail me when it comes to expressing my condolences. I guess it stems from the knowledge that whatever I say to express my regret and sympathy will sound hollow when compared with what s/he is going through. And the last thing a person in grief wants is sympathy.
Some of us are so tongue-tied that when a friend or acquaintance shares the news of demise of their beloved Dadajee on Facebook, we simply click the “like” button. I mean that’s what Facebook is, a communion of like-minded individuals who spend 80% of their online time complimenting each other, sharing motivational quotes and feeling relieved that there is a “like” icon when there is nothing to say.
Dadajee could have been 90, miserly, cranky and a chronic bed-wetter and you’re sure that his family and especially his wife cum tea maker cum cook cum temper absorber cum diaper changer of 70 years are secretly rejoicing. Why, you even saw them bursting crackers last Diwali!
What does one say, tongue in cheek, during these times of bereavement?
May he rest in peace! – Are you suggesting, life was World War III for him?
I’m sure he’s in a better place now – Excuse me, have you been there!
This too shall pass – What if she turns around and says - Sure, I’ll be too happy to pass it on to you!
By the time you start typing, “I’m so sorry for your loss”, you discover 97 of her friends have already said it.
At times like these, it’s best to keep your honesty and poetry under wraps. So, refrain from saying - Roses are red, violets are blue, I am so glad it wasn't you! Or I am sorry for your loss. I'm really happy that you are still here. Life would not been the same without your annoying daily phone calls. Mwah, I love you.
At condolence meetings, it gets even more awkward watching old ladies beat their chest and howl in anguish and then turning around to ask for a cup of tea in a perfectly normal voice! How long can you stare at your toes and imagine yourself sitting for a Math exam so that you look appropriately sombre!
Even for instances when truly a loved one has departed, I do not get the point in visiting the grieving family, only to make them repeat their harrowing ordeal again and again for the sake of guests. I doubt if sharing your pain with your neigbours, colleagues and acquaintances does much to lessen it. Instead of shedding tears and making them more miserable, I’d rather offer to take care of the kids, pick up grocery, get hot meals for the family or any other gesture to make the bereaved family feel loved and wanted.
Fact is, we take life too lightly and death too seriously. Death is but a reboot button – an opportunity to restart life as a cockroach, lizard, ostrich or a Russian stripper! If you lived a life of piousness, you might even be waitlisted for heaven (the one without the 72 virgins – by the way, what do pious women hope to get?)!
Just make sure you don’t die with a bunch of regrets and if you do, please don’t annoy everyone with your tears and your long list of could-have-beens! Big deal that you made a mess of your life and chased all the wrong things! All you have to do is make sure you don’t repeat those mistakes when you are born the next time. After all, history repeats itself because no one paid attention the first time!
Now go, start living before it’s too late! That, at least, is in your hands.