Sunday, July 25, 2010

In a blinding flash…

Two days ago, in the afternoon, my colleague rushed to me to inform me of the accidental death of one of my students.

News of death, though faced on several occasions, always comes as a bolt from the blue. A humbling reminder that we are, after all, only humans. It comes as a simple message from almighty God himself – “remember, your date is due. And no one shall be spared.”

It is only when one is put into this thinking process that one begins to question the fundamental assumptions on which life is conducted, and our daily affairs are managed. Some such simple assumptions are 
  • We are going to live for a long long time
  • We are not going to die in the foreseeable future
  • Our loved ones are going to be around for a long long time
  • The deepest of pain will never be part of our lives
  • The biggest of tragedies cannot happen with us
  • Life will continue to offer its bounties to us regularly
  • We can plan our lives, and can carry out those plans

As days pass by, and we age, we fondly look back upon the years on the footprints of time, and recollect the good moments we have enjoyed. Many of us must feel the sense of loss (having enjoyed those moments so much) and we long for those sunny days to return. But once gone, they are gone for ever.

So the lesson – Living for today’s sake is quite important. Perhaps as much as planning for tomorrow.

And then we start wondering – is all this action really worth it? By “action” I refer to the daily headaches that we encounter and the daily schedules that we set for ourselves. We really do not find a strong answer anywhere but the Bhagwad Gita. It tells us the route to salvation – and that’s fairly simple – to enjoy the karma of existence with full spirit. To devote oneself to selfless karma (now that’s quite tough in today’s Kalyugi times) is the route to salvation. This human existence (and other yonis as well) have no option but to dedicate oneself to the day-to-day tasks of existence and hope for ultimate salvation. The only difference perhaps being that as a human we are conscious of this cycle!

I add one thing to this – In addition to the day-to-day tasks of existence, let us strive for excellence as well. God surely will love us for that.

I remember various Insurance agents telling me about the fickle-minded phenomenon – “life”. In fact, the entire insurance industry works on the simple selling of the idea that death is for sure. How effectively do they sell it to us, depends on their individual skills.

So – Buy a lot of insurance. For yourself, for your loved ones.

We start wondering about the relationships we live with, the amazing web of give-and-take that we encounter every single day of our lives. Friends, children, parents, loved ones, relatives, colleagues, co-workers – every single interaction that we have is unique, never to be repeated ever. I particularly recall the last part of the seminal movie A.I. where the robot David asks the super-beings for just a chance to be with his human mother once, and they grant it saying that “the fabric of space time is such that once they recreate anything, it can live only through one day when it vanishes forever”.

So let’s respect each interaction as unique. A never-to-be-repeated experience.

As I spoke with the father of the departed soul, I got emotional and could feel the pain totally. It must be such a tearing pain for a father who is made to bear a loss like this one. I had tears in my eyes when I spoke to him, and I hope he has enough strength to bear this loss. Destiny can be so cruel to some! It's almost unimaginable how the family will cope with the tragedy. God be merciful.

Dear Proton Vivek Singh Yadav – rest in peace, dear friend. You will be missed always.

Life and love
Love and death
On the eternal footprints of time
Are temporary human constructs
To be savoured
Till they persist, till they exist
For the waves of time's irresistible push forward
Remind us without fail
That we are creatures frail
Not to last
But our unique images
Will live on
In the hearts of those whom we loved!