First of all I give my heartfelt empathy to those born with deformity. Luckily, I was born normal. Every elders known to me commented later on that when I was a toddler I was known for my plump looking body and I still can faintly remember many elders pinching my cheeks saying what a lovely, healthy and strong kid I was. My mom used to tell me many times, “I gave birth to you healthy and stout, now look what you have become. You look so gaunt and thin like a malnourished simian from another galaxy. It’s not my fault. It’s your own doing. It’s your attitude that makes you what you are now”.
My dear dad was quite healthy and strong when he died on my mother’s lap, a death so fast, so swift, giving no pain to others, taking no hardships with himself. He passed away of instant brain hemorrhage due to stroke. My dad was a “Yes” man, a cool guy, soft spoken, not enterprising but simple, not manipulative with a heart so pure. He wouldn’t even harm a fly, a true gentleman he was. Everybody loved him for his soft nature and the way he dealt with others. There’s a lot that can be learnt from him. Honestly speaking, in this world, where an eye is taken for an eye, persons like him are really rare and hard to find. Allow me to mention another dear one who passed away swiftly and silently. She’s non other than my maternal grandmother. She used to sell items such as bangles, rings and all those stuffs at Khurai Lamlong Bazaar. When she could not go anymore, I found her in her room. But she was not bed ridden. One thing I could never forget in my life was that she even cleared my ears with her hanky, and worked on my hair saying that my hair looked like a bird’s nest. It was winter season. She commented me on my dress saying, “You youngsters of nowadays dress up like a clown and have no respect for elders”. She further told me that her days were numbered. I told her that she would last for many more years. However, she told me that my maternal grandpa, her dear hubby has been waiting in Heaven for her and so she would be leaving this world within ten days. Counting from that day onwards, she passed away quietly on the 10th day since my visit. Before she died, I brought grapes, apples and oranges for her but she told me that those eatables would not do any good to her and further told me, “See all the medicines, tonics and vitamins on my side table, I don’t touch them at all”. They were the costliest ones procured by her three sons, my maternal uncles. The utmost care they took for her was exemplary.
When I asked her the reason for not touching the medicines and tonics, she replied that If she took them, the number of her days may get increased. I was confused. She was quite strong, she even took me outside from her room as I was about to go. And on the tenth day she passed away. I wondered to myself “How can somebody who could stand straight and walked me outside her house could pass away so fast?”. Any person who thinks logically may think otherwise, but to me, it was not co-incidence for later on I found out that she deliberately ate nothing saying she had no appetite even though it wasn’t for she wanted to meet the dateline as she had procrastinated. I am a person who neither believes in ‘soul’ nor do I believe in heaven and hell but to whomsoever who believe it as per their conviction, let it be, and if there is really an entity called ‘souI’, I hope she must have met her beloved in the Heavenly Garden, together, for forever and a day. I will never forget her strong will, her courage and her inner strength. She never wanted to give hardship to others. In fact, I draw encouragement from her.
As the earth makes one revolution around the sun, the number of days making a year is only 365 and one-fourth days approximated to 365. A year is too short. Now, it’s the last week of December 2017 and next year is only two more days to go. Seems like the year 2017 whisked by in a wink. Likewise human’s lifespan is too short. When we were young, we never ever gave a hoot about getting older, about getting weaker. We were carefree as though we’d be immortal. But as age accrued upon us we witness more and more deaths be it natural or unnatural being picked up by the Heavenly Fingers and as we get mellow, we’ve begun to realise that we’ll be getting older with our cells degenerating as the biological clock inside us is ticking relentlessly leading us closer and closer to our graves for death is inevitable and we can’t escape or cheat death. I don’t care about wealth, fortunes and money. I am jealous about those irreversible youth-hood days and to me, that period is the most precious thing in the world. In this makeshift world, humans are making more and more advanced machines only to kill, but no one dares to make a machine to bring the dead ones to life. However, the groups of Human Genome Projects in collaboration with different countries may make a change in the near future for lengthening human lifespan or even after a few centuries with unending research, mortality may become a word not related to the humans. However, it’s too early for us to witness. Let’s leave that to our future generations.
I don’t want a natural death for I hate the ordeals of getting older and weaker as it is kinda torture every second lying bedridden with the back feeling like a plank of wood and not even able to go to the toilet. I don’t want to trouble others nor do I want myself to be in pain every moment in the name of simply living a life that’s as good as dead. I like the way my dad died, the way my maternal grandma expired, the way Kurt Cobain died, the way Jimmi Hendrix died, the way Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Florence Nightingale died and the likes with the body so fresh and the blood in the veins so warm. At least I do wanna live till I am able to give my kids a foothold for themselves. I don’t want more material possessions for we can’t take anything with us when we die. All of us were born naked and we will go away naked from this world. Even now also all of us are naked under our clothes. By the time I get grizzly, I don’t want to meander or noodle around with a stick supporting my bended body. I wish that if I reach that stage, which I really doubt, the Supreme Court comes up with a ruling for implementation of Euthanasia aka Mercy Killing so that I can “Fade to Black” painlessly, for eternity.
Wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2018.
(The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)