‘See you tomorrow’, ‘I’ll come back on Friday’, ‘I’ll be back in a jiffy’, the moment these words fill my mouth, my head fills up with capricious worrisome thoughts.
You’ve not seen what turn the life may take the next moment, how can you promise someone of anything when you cannot be too sure that you would see tomorrow’s sun? You cannot even predict what surprise the next moment plays on you. This very breath you take might be your last. Maybe you have a heart attack (though you think you are exceptionally healthy), or you might be run over by a car (accidentally), or maybe you trip over the staircase and land on your head, or just a slip in the bathroom that turned fatal, or because of a mosquito bite. Maybe you die from the pettiest of reasons, or maybe you die of the worst of all ailments, which slowly saps your life and lets your withering body to atrophy. Who knows? And yet, you are pretty confident when you say that ‘see you tomorrow’. Wouldn’t the other person feel betrayed should you not turn up ever? Would you take the risk of making them sad, especially if you love them or value them in any manner?
‘Hope to see you tomorrow’ is much more amiable, but for a short while, it sounds quite miserly, does it not? We barely understand how we function, and yet, intuition says nothing would go wrong.
So one day I sat down to reason, because reason should drive faith, not the converse. So, what if I lived a hundred years? So what? What if I am do drop dead this next moment? So what? Somebody is going to be unhappy about dying whatsoever (unless I outlive others while leading an anonymous life).
I don’t think death would be a painful state, it is the transition, the change that is. We’re afraid of changing while we’re living, why should it come as a surprise that we’re afraid of dying? I’ve often tried to think of how I would want to die. There are moments when I am really, really scared of dying. An old joke goes like, “I’m not afraid of death, it is just that I don’t want to be there when it arrives.” And then there are phases when I accept it like greeting an old friend. I think it should be painless, this transition, and regretless too, and beautiful perhaps? So, I wonder if death would take me while I am sleeping, so that I might not know when it happened, but then I think that would take away the novelty from this entire affair. I will not be able to see how it happens, not feel how it happens. There is but one wish, I don’t wish to die incomplete, I don’t wish to die from a weak heart, I don’t want to die of illness, or accident, or war, I just want to die when my body is tired, wholly, when my work is done.
So, I’ve decided to believe that life doesn’t end just like that. And when it will, it will, there’s no changing that. But because I don’t know what is going to happen next, I shouldn’t try to worry about dying the next moment. It’s hard to live ‘in the moment’, it definitely isn’t as easy as they put on those posters about past, present and future; the mind will have to train, and unlearn most of the things it has learnt so far to do that. We can try, and that should be the point. Win some, lose some. And definitely don’t make memories, let them disappear the moment they are past.
Why would all that matter when I am dead? I don’t know, I’ve never been dead before; and no one who went to the other side ever returned to tell me what it is like.