Monday, December 9, 2013

Making your death a truly memorable moment of your life


Death is a very special occasion in our lives. Like birth, it is a once in a lifetime occurrence. Unlike birth, people have seen you for a lifetime before your death. So, when you finally breathe your last after keeping the world on tenterhooks, it’s hardly a surprise to see the world erupt in a tsunami of carefully crafted grief. Nelson Mandela’s was one such demise where millions took to social media to express their admiration to honour his extraordinary life. 7.2 million tweets were generated and 39 million Facebookers shared something besides their selfies. Of course, you have to be a Mandela to have David Cameron, Obama, Bill Clinton call you inspirational and a hero of our times. You can always trust an American senator to accord the highest possible honour and call Mandela “George Washington and Abraham Lincoln” of his country. An enthusiastically grieving Tweeter even went to the extent of RIPing him using Morgan Freeman’s picture. I suppose it was their skin tone and their being around for a while that confused the guy, but both have stature – one famous for playing God on celluloid and the other to South Africans exploited and discriminated against in their own country. 

Image courtesy - Twitter

It was as if everyone, from media houses to the common man, was impatiently waiting for Madiba to bid goodbye, for them to finally vent their grief that they had been storing for so long. In fact New York Times’ obituary had been in the works since 2007. You can imagine their immense relief when he finally obliged. Quite like Tendulkar, an innings a tad short of a century. But unlike him, Mandela got only one chance.

It pays rich dividends to keep the world waiting and not taking them by surprise by popping off suddenly. Everyone gets time to collect their wits, keep the right things ready and not sob like a blabbering fool trying to cope with unexpected loss.

Here lies the catch. Of what use are all the kind words eulogising you and singing paeans to your greatness, when you are no longer alive to read them. Who, beside you, cares enough to google all 1687970 articles, 7.2 million tweets and 39 million Facebook updates written in your honour! It was like everyone around you was waiting for you to die to admire your life.

What a terrible waste of your demise if you can’t experience even a fraction of that hysteria that you generated with your departure!


I hereby demand a 30 minute grace period for all famous and dead people, so that they can at least read some of the glorious tributes tom-tomming their accomplishments. What greater way to honour men and women who had been conveniently relegated to the dustbins of history because they had ceased to be of any use and spent the last years of their lives in abject loneliness and misery!

I can already see you nodding your heads in agreement. Why don’t we forward a petition to the Almighty and make this possible not just for famous men and women but ordinary people like us. The immense satisfaction we’ll get in replying to all the condolences posted in our memory, thank everyone for shedding tears and perhaps retweet a few flattering tweets hailing us as the best thing to have happened to humanity. It will also give us enough time to select the right picture to go with our obituary. We can also take note of those who decided to keep mum, so that we can come back later to haunt them.

I’m sure some of you including yours truly will demand an extra 15 minutes to pack our favourite pairs of shoes, dresses, munchies, books and iPad for our journey to the netherworld. After all, it’s always good to prepare your loved ones for your departure and be well-prepared for a journey of no-return.

The pleasure in knowing that your death generated 2.277 times more tears, chest beating, head banging, and Facebook condolences than that cranky bitch that died last month, will make your own expiry a memorable moment of your afterlife.

What better way to experience Nirvana and truly rest in peace with a smug smile on your face! 



http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=305393
 

72 comments:

  1. Yes, everyone should get 30 minutes in grace so that we will know what are people thinking after we go on the jorney of no-return...

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  2. Wonder what the deluge of RIP messages on social media mean? Not many think about the celebrity beyond those few seconds of typing RIP. But yes, a grace period can make it memorable for the departed soul.

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    1. I think these outpourings of grief is more about how you want to project yourself to your friends and followers. I'm sure there are some genuine grievers but their voices get drowned in the cacophony of "me first".

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  3. Now, wouldn't you wish Madiba could read this post as well??? :)

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    1. I read somewhere that he had an excellent sense of humour. I'm sure he'll understand I meant no disrespect.

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    2. Absolutely! I am sure he must be cringing somewhere up there watching the. Reactions right now. The folks who posted the Morgan Freeman pic, I am frankly not surprised. I had watched a show in US about the awareness of teenagers in general knowledge, when asked who Beethoven was most said it's the name of a dog! I doubt these guys even know where SA is let alone having really known what Mandela did.

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  4. I second the motion. Only you could have led this revolution. And with that, let's just say.............'hamari maange poori karo'. In case the heavens don't listen, we can perhaps break a few clouds, damage a few harps and roughen up a few angels. I am sure we will get the petition signed! *Angelic face*

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    1. Spoken like a true tigress. And we all know even Bhagwan dare not mess with Blogwati Gee :D

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  5. Lovely tongue in cheek post thumbing your nose at all the jokers who pretended to actually feel something for Nelson Mandela (especially the one who put up Morgan Freeman's pic, with the words "great actor" included)

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  6. Well dead people probably get to watch folks down here mourning their death...They might even get to hear what people said about your death..People who actually felt the loss and people who just paid a mandatory visit dressed in Blacks...Whispering - 'Oh...He left behind a mighty fortune..Who is gonna get it...Lucky Bastard...'

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    1. Well, all I know is, it's never me - i mean the "lucky bitch" part :D

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  7. The second last paragraph was seriously funny!

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  8. Nice one, Purba. Though I personally would be wary of asking for those extra 30 minutes. If I hear people saying 'good riddance' - I might get pissed and decide not to rest in peace and come back and haunt them.

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    1. But...but... the joy of sweet revenge...waking them up in the middle of the night with hooo hooo sounds...Delicious!

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  9. Oh my God what an idea...this idea can actually change our lives..err...death?

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  10. haha I am with you for the petition! And I specially like the coming back to haunt part and I have already prepared a 'To-Haunt' list :D

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    1. Any day better than the bucket list.

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  11. Replies
    1. Must forward this request to God.

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  12. But, but, but that picture you've shared is of God Almighty, no? Or at least the President of USA during the last days of human civilization just before the meteor hits earth?

    Good idea, really. Knowing my OCD, I will probably just use those 'extra' 15 minutes to check if I had switched off the lights and closed the taps before signing off for good. Else I would keep tossing and turning in my grave fretting about it.

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    1. Hahaha...that's me on the plane, wondering if I had switched the damn iron off. And death will be such a delicious escape from worrying about Gurgaon's depleting water table :D

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  13. yeah i always wondered why people did that RIP status thing..i mean the person wont die and then go on to Fb to read it!!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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    1. But don't you wish they could!

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  14. Oh yes, we all overflow with love when the dear have departed. Till that time they were languishing in a corner or a hospital bed and no one cared :). Very interesting idea, Purba! Just like TF, I would hate to read good riddance :).

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    1. What if the fear of having to read "good riddance" messages acts as a motivator for certain people to be more sensitive and kind to others?

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  15. Paul Walker of Fast and Furious got more attention in his death (the irony of it) than Nelson Mandela.I wouldn't want to suffer through this superficial show though. And there are many of FB and twitter who just wanna show off that they got to hear the news first.

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    1. He died a horrible death and that too in a car crash. Frankly, I had no idea who he was. I had to Google his name.

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  16. I certainly am with THE Fool in this - I think I shall evoke a great deal of tears of relief and pious hopes that reincarnation is only a myth :) AND I most certainly cannot see myself as an energetic haunt. The very thought of wearing a shapeless white garment and going "Hooooooooooooo" in the depths of the night gives me the shivers :)

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    1. Suresh, I am shaking with laughter imagining you as a white apparition going hooo hooooo.....

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  17. Your demand will not be accepted until you go on some popular fast-unto-so-and-so. But yes, with a hand curated selfie from a lifetime of photographs on the obituary and perhaps the best tweet on the tombstone, the person will truly rest in peace.

    Besides, it sure has to be a one time effort, what use is to disturb their souls in the afterlife by remembering them again and again? So, when it is a R.I.P., it should be a done and dusted, case closed type of phenomenon. The last thing we would want is the dead man rising from his grave seeing our prolonged bereavement on his/her departure.

    Nice post!

    Cheers,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

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    1. Anshul, I hereby appoint you to oversee my post death publicity campaign. I trust you to select my best tweets and selfies to be pasted on my tombstone. And rest assured, I will not rise again and again to check my FB and Twitter account.

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  18. Well written...it's pretty awkward to see the rush people have to put their obituaries on social media these days. I hate when people eulogize the long forgotten. No body cared for Manna De, Pran or Dara Singh in decades. That apathy might have killed them! But after their death it seemed as if they were an integral part of daily lives of millions of people. Such hypocrisy!

    But, on a lighter note, I believe, some celebs do secretly wish for the grace period to see the world mourning...such is lust for fame!

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    1. Such is the hypocrisy, Prateek. People manufacture grief, outrage to blend in. I call it the herd mentality.

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  19. There is a saying in Punjabi which goes like this.
    TAREEF SIRF CHAUTHE PAR AUR. TEHRVEEN PAR HOTI. HAI.
    How true

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    1. Exactly, people wait for you to die to recollect the nice things you might have done during your lifetime.

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  20. Some people have created their statues while they are alive attaining nirvana while living:) What say?

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    1. One man's statue is another bird's shitpot :p

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  21. Wish all this and more were in our hands...Most of us never get to bid the final goodbye, shake hands or experience last kisses/hugs...it's abrupt... Unlike medicines, there is no expiry date.
    One thing is for certain- one day we'll all be 'LATE'. No one knows what happens later after death! Petition idea will be carried by our soul! Hope memory doesn't fail when we meet Almighty! :)

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    1. We attain immortality through the memories we leave behind. All the more reason, we should be kind to others during our lifetime.

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  22. A hilarious post which made me think about my life and the social media and what does death mean in the social media.....I second you motion.

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    1. It's all a show for the sake of others with very little substance.

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  23. ROFL on the grace period concept... But then let's say if you really got a grace period of 30 minutes would you like to spend those 30 minutes reading RIP messages from unknown people or speaking and listening to the closest ones which really mattered. I think death puts a lot of things in perspective like no other event. :-)

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    1. Of course, but then my post wouldn't have been a satire :D

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  24. On that 30 minutes grace period, wonder if we'll be like those guests at the doorstep who having said goodbyes for the umpteen number of times linger on with this and that till the tired hosts actually feel like slamming the door in their face. Enjoyed your post very much Purba! Actually been thinking of this RIP business for a while now.

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    1. We are part of the brouhaha that surrounds social media but there are times when we are hit by WTF moments like these.

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  25. on my" Shradha" we will serve PUNtua & Paan

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  26. Nice post.. :-D..I really wonder what these RIP posts actually mean..just three letters, I suppose..

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  27. Talking in a spooky sense, no one actually knows how much we would be aware of whats happening after the world declares us dead right? :) We have seen imaginary tales of a man's spirit sitting in one corner and observing who all come and weep over his body! ha ha... Anyways, great men actually would not care about who lauds them I suppose. I guess its their purpose and principles that are more important to them than who they are compared to.

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    1. Actually, our soul hovers for quite sometime before it can move to higher planes.

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  28. Well,well,what next?
    I doubt if a half hour grace period will fetch me much!
    By the way this reminds me of the old DD days when they would have obituaries for famous politicians all in place-just waiting for them to oblige.

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    1. You brought back all those terrible memories of forced mourning with DD playing non-stop bahajans and religious discourses.

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  29. Ha ha .... I like all that you packed in that extra 15 minutes.
    But seriously speaking Life after death is simply one straight line isn't it.

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    1. Quoting Woody Allen - It's not that I'm afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens.

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  30. Like I said before....tell us a day in advance when you decide to kick the bucket.
    P.S. What would you write for me? Tell. Tell. Tell. TELL!!!!!!!

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  31. You have left your trademark stamp even on a matter like passing of a Goliath like Mandela and have managed to put a smile on the face of your reader. The media usually has a ready stock of obituaries for most anyone who is more glorious than an ant -there have been cases of accidental runs in the past! It is indeed, a mark of one's fame or infamy. How I'd love to read some obituaries of our political masters right at this instant. I wouldn't mind if they were allowed an extra hour to gloat in all that garbage before they conk. :P

    Incidentally, I have often come across Mandela compared with Gandhi too - I am not sure however which of the two the analogy seeks to glorify.

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    1. According to Ramchandra Guha, Mandela was more influenced by Nehru. Tragically, Mandela is no longer alive to contest this theory :-)

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  32. I was reminded of the play 'the dear departed' andAlfred Nobel. Really, why not know how people would mourn your demise, isn't it?
    Nice thought Purba!

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    1. Actually, I'd be happier not knowing. Death is renunciation, why spoil it with material emotions!

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  33. Though I've always thought that it doesn't matter if we post condolence messages, thanks to Social Media this has become the new way to show off our vocabulary. But yes, people would be happy if they realized that suddenly people sing eulogies from them, once they know that they dont have to deal with them ;-)

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    1. HAHAHAHAHA.......Good riddance to bad rubbish!

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  34. Ha Ha! Purba, you are a riot. No, I wouldn't like to have that 15 minutes. I don't want to watch my wife screaming, 'Will you see that now, the idiot changed the bank account password before he raised the daisies.' :D

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  35. Such brilliant writing... couldn't agree more.
    On a different note, what do you propose..? We just wake up with a "RIP Manmohan Singh in Advance, you are good in Economics, you lack leadership" that'd be so much fun..

    Amritt
    http://thoughtsaboveall.blogspot.in

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Psst... let me know what you are thinking.

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