Everybody believes the race is up against time when in practicality, it is Death we are chasing. The poor florist has to sell his flowers before time smuggles them to Death. No matter what, we are all programmed to end up on the losing side of Life. You see, the problem with Death is it knows exactly what it's up to. Life, on the contrary, doesn’t. In the battle between Life and Death, one of them gives up to let the other survive. Furthermore, Life speaks Death fluently and vice versa. They are made for each other. Ironically, Life and afterlife are conjugated by Death.
A few days ago, I woke up to the news that Steve Jobs has passed away to a place in dire need of technological innovation. I always admired him for the way his Life shaped up and inspired millions not only to touch buttons on their small screens but also give digital revolution a chance. And like the rest of them, I too was shattered. The last time I felt such grief was when Pope John Paul II deceased. It’s kind of a strange feeling to be sad for someone whom you haven’t met but are damn sure about their goodness.
A few hours later, I was confronted with the knowledge that my close friend’s mom has fallen victim to a fatal heart attack amid Vijaya Dashami in a local temple that very morning. This was too much. It was like Death retweeting itself (for those who are familiar with Twitter). She was such a beautiful person. This was not only cruel but also unjustified. But then, who will challenge the final verdict? No one, I suppose. Maybe Death is the most pragmatic thing that ever happens to us. If not, kindly point me down the path that won’t lead to Death.
And then today, dad informed me that Jagjit Singh, one of the finest few Ghazal singers I admire, has left earthly bounds. Of course, there’s nothing phenomenal about people taking birth and then dying eventually. But still, you want others to survive; live one more day; get a better hang of Life. And if things don’t materialize according to your wishes, then you pray or hope the person dies an easy Death. The reason for this concession lies in the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect Death. How can there be a perfect Death when there ain't no perfect Life? By the way, Humpty Dumpty deserved a better Death.
Dying is totally over-rated. So is birth. Both happen every single day. Well, can't say the same about Life though. After all, the most constant side effect of Life is Death. People die in earthquakes and whatnot and term it accidents, either man-made or natural. While doing so, we conveniently overlook the truth that Death is a natural disaster, too. These are the times when all our opinions about Life and Death sum up to what they are indeed worth – nothing. Apparently we face too many of near-Death experiences but very few of near-Life ones to comment. That’s the reason we haven’t come to terms with this reality YET! Give or take, nothing else kills us faster than Death.
Birth gets trampled by childhood that gets trampled by youth that gets trampled by dotage that gets trampled by Death.
Lately, some Tibetans immolated themselves as a protest against Chinese aggression in Tibet. They merely burned themselves to Life, not Death. I fully endorse these sort of protests in which you hurt yourself instead of innocent bystanders. Needless to say, The Burning Monk is my hero. History is rife with such hyped glorious stories, permanent deaths and a little bit of temporary lives embedded in between.
Poets, not philosophers, came close to deciphering the mysteries of how everything begins and ends. They made a habit of romanticizing the experience of leaving this planet forever. I've got nothing against them or the alcohol they were on but I’m sure there must be better ways to die a poetic Death. Metaphors containing myriad meanings had been employed by them which help us get close to the cold truth. I agree with most of these verses and disagree with very few. For instance, economy, not Death, is the great leveler. And sometimes, we do feel older than Death.
Tip: Smile. Death can wait for your poker face.
There comes a moment in everyone’s Life when they finally learn to STFU. Nah, I ain’t talking about Death here. It’s called common sense. The court think it can decide (preferably, on behalf of the citizens and based on human laws) what is right and what is wrong when it comes to sentencing someone to hang till kingdom come. In any case, Death penalty itself is a crime. You can’t go wrong with this. If A kills B and C kills A via legal frameworks, then there is very little difference between A and C. Having said that, I’m not at all in favour of Kasab *enjoying* the costliest criminal status in India. There is no way can he reconcile with the grave mistakes he committed under the guise of ignorance and brainwashed ideology. Perhaps Death is more disappointed in him than Life itself.
"If you were on a death row, what would you like your last meal to be?"
"Delivered on time."
Death is beautiful because, unlike most other things in Life, it happens just once. It will certainly smell sweet if one is drowned in a pool full of chocolate or ice-cream. I keep discussing Death as it makes me feel good about the Life I never had. As I’m growing older, I’m realizing how lonely I really am. I don’t fantasize killing myself or anything. I am too selfish for such foolery. But every time someone I look up to or love decides to call it a life, I wonder why. Thankfully, I’ve stopped molesting poetry. Or else I’d have written some miserable verses on the perpetual shallowness of Life and the escapism facilitated by Death instead of this lengthy falderal. Anyway, just because I never had a Life doesn't mean I can't comment on it. By that yardstick, none of us should ever mention Death.