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Monday, January 08, 2007

When the Reaper Comes Calling

Having vowed to write more and write anew, this is hardly the subject that I should be pursuing… perhaps. Then again, I might as well, as good as not… this time being as good as any other.

If I am allowed to say this and not sound opprobrious, I have been fortunate enough to not lose anyone very dear to me yet. Long may this continue. It isn’t to say however, that I haven’t met death at all at close quarters. Not-so-distant relations have been my closest experience in losing family members. The one person I can readily bring to mind when I think of having lost is my former neighbour N.

A lad of only 19. A rather jovial, much loved, popular, rebellious-teen who we all wished would get over his ways and grow up. Almost a year and half after his demise, I still cannot completely believe he’s gone. On the face of it, I am bale to say “Before he passed away…” or “It’s been rather awful since he’s gone…” but very very deep within, I still cannot fathom it.

It wasn’t that N and I were specially close.. It isn’t even like he was a brother sort to me. I occasionally used to be irked by his ways too… but having been next door neighbours, we did share much and the better part of my six years in that place ensured I saw quite a bit of him… at some point, we did the things neighbours do… have dinners, play silly games, discuss things, go out, tease each other… he even used to come over for help with his academics to me… I shall never forget telling him he had good grasping powers. Things didn’t stay that good though… N went through the same teenage angst everyone does and somehow changed a lot… I used to feel rather sad about it but somewhere, like people tend to, I got on with my life just as he did and our neighbourliness reduced to leaving keys with each other and the occasional chat when we happened to find the other on our way in or out. Quite often, I used to wish for his sake and that of his family that things would get better… he seemed to be going wrong and hurting everyone. But having never been especially close and having gotten used to not being around each other… we never did get to really talk.

I saw him a month before he passed away. That was what life had come to be… people who saw each other everyday now met once a month. A month.

I still don’t know what I should term my reaction to that piece of news. I only remember my mum saying I was shocked. I remember not being able to say anything about it for the next few days… not even enough to share the news or react.

The return home and that meeting with N’s folks was very hard. I spent a lot of time there when I could hoping to distract his mother (who I fondly address as ‘Ma’) … I remember being told “You’re really brave Anu, to be able to be around them” … I never did figure what bravery that was… not when it was the least I could do for them, not when the people going through that misery were being braver.. like only they could.

N has been gone for what seems an eternity now… I don’t miss N like I might have if we had been closer… but I still find it very hard to believe he isn’t around, creating a racket in the house, arguing in the spirit every teenager does, spending hours grooming himself, worrying over girl problems, experimenting with things… It still feels like he’s around… pity he’ll only ever be 19.

In the time since he’s been gone, I’ve heard people praise him to almost saintly heights… the very same people who used to bitch about how he was being a brat and should grow up and stuff… It’s pathetic how hypocritical people can get after someone’s death. I will not say N was the finest, best person I met… he had his flaws and for what it’s worth, I did wish a lot that his bad phase would be over soon….I wish he had that chance, I wish fervently he had bothered with safety rules, I wish he had been a staid, boring rule-adhering person if that was what it took to save his life… I wish N was around.

It is said death comes second after public speaking as the thing people fear the most. Me, I have a rather skewed view of death. I fear losing my dear ones…but I don’t fear dying.

Not so very long ago, in discussing Kashmir, I exclaimed that Id love to go there to which my classmate M retorted “Are you crazy??? It’s so dangerous… you could die!!!”. I’m yet to understand why the rest of them laughed and why M blanched (weird word… blanched, coz there’s a gal called Blanche I know… so if we all blanche at something, does Blanche ‘Anu’ or whoever/whatever else when she’s taken aback???) Anyway, I don’t get why M blanched when I said “So?? I’d be dead!” What I meant was that, I don’t really give two hoots about dying.. I happen to be very happy with my life and have absolutely no regrets up to this point.. I’ve lived pretty well and wouldn’t feel sorry for not having done something so far… suffice to say, I’m at peace with my existence. I’d feel bad for my loved ones for they’d have a bad time after my death.. but I cannot feel sorry for myself. Why then, should I fear death???


  1. winger3:46 AM

    It is the love for life that makes people live another day. And it is by no means a small task to live a day. Death, is but a part of life, like a suspended note in a symphony to emphasize on the presence of other notes. No point in fearing it, we are all quantized samples of a soul, with a definite start and an apt end.

  2. I do not fear dying not beacuse I do not love life... I strive to live fully too... even if in a detached manner.

  3. winger4:08 AM

    I never intended to say that either. But I do get a feeling you are not quite close to your life.

  4. Very very true... I am not close to my life at all...where do I go from here though?

  5. winger4:23 AM

    Are you asking me? Because you are the only person who can answer it. I can only give you an advice. Always be very sure of what you really want and can give, and let those near you also have this in their knowledge. It sure will make things simpler. :)

  6. More like I voiced that thought aloud.... I always prided myself on knowing what I wanted and letting others know it... but it got me branded as a brat when i was a kid and as i grew up, I was told I was stubborn, trying to please everyone, selfish, clueless.. :) Look where trying to make things simpler got me..

  7. winger4:39 AM

    Growing up, being branded a brat, who wasnt? And being obdurate, complaisant, selfish and clueless has got nothing to do with knowing what you want, there is just a simple note to it. Dont try to figure your life out, live it. You keep only a few memories of the years gone by not each and every second you lived. Trying to connect to people whom you like but who dont reciprocate or maybe an inner crave for something you deeply cherish, it happens with everyone. It is supposed to be. It is all supposed to be that way. Life is supposed to be lived with what you have today and what you may have tomorrow. Maybe you are trying to protect relationships or things that may not even be there today. Follow the advice I gave you, it helps me, might work for you.:)

  8. Much appreciated :)

    "Life is supposed to be lived with what you have today and what you may have tomorrow. Maybe you are trying to protect relationships or things that may not even be there today. "

    In essence, every day requires re thinking things, knowing what you want, knowing how much you can give, knowing what is you, knowing how much you can please others...knowing where to draw the line...and here i was asking for simplicity :)

  9. winger4:56 AM

    I'm not saying you do it everyday, and I'm nobody to answer such a tough question, heck I'm not even sure about myself. :P It is for you to decide, its you who lives it. :)

  10. hehe... well there you go, so much for having tried...comes back to it after all, to each their own.

    And then again you can only lead a horse to water, you can't make it drink.. you can only worry about your dear ones.. you cannot prevent them from making mistakes

  11. winger5:07 AM

    I guess not. You write well. I hope to carry on the conversation some other day. Till then, bid me good riddance.

  12. good riddance??!! surely not!! I rather liked talking to you :) I sure hope it isn't 'good riddance' :) Thanks for dropping by..

  13. I never understood the mentality of soldiers who die for there country.... the fear of death shakes me up all the time....and I think the reply for "will you be one of the soldiers out there in Kashmir" would be no from ma side..

    I think I finally met someone who has no fear of dying...the secret behind is also out in this post...