Day 1

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson


You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.


1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.


(Author: Gwen Bell)


cremation grounds, this is a vast expanse where children play



So here goes. have been thinking about death lately, and it has been there in our discussions as well. i had been travelling with my mother to an acupuncturist’s clinic where she has been taking treatment for her osteo-arthiritis (pretty debilitating), and the results of the treatment have been pretty good so far. as a landmark to the place, she pointed out a big graveyard (for Muslims) and since I had not seen such a big one or one so close, I tried to take a photo from the moving taxi. My mother made the taxi stop so that I could take a proper photograph. I managed to do so, and we both noted how the children were playing happily and unconcerned among the gravestones. however, now the taxi refused to start and we joked about how we had reached a ‘dead -end’ here, not knowing that we would be unable to move readily from this place of the dead. We also joked about how we would ahve to wait here forever and our graves would be finally dug here. We are Hindus, and our dead bodies are burnt, but we were talking about death, and what happens after death is purely ritualistic and of no real matter except to those who believe it to matter. but some part of us does talk about how we want our dead bodies to be dealt with as well, for my mother is quite emphatic that if my brother does not come in time from Australia, where he is settled, I, as the eldest daughter should perform the last rites, indicating that gender does not matter to her, though as per the Hindu tradition, the son is important even for this. My father, on the other hand, had wanted that my brother be there for performing the last rites, and my brother had relocated in India for a while when my father was very sick and was there when he died. so even as we live, we are aware of deaht, more so as we grow older. My mother also talked of how she wanted to go instantly, and not suffer like her mother had (a diabetic) or my paternal grandfather had (lung infection).

During an online discussion just on this very day with a friend, I had talked of how I thought so much of the effort I put in into doing things everyday sometimes seemed so futile, when death was the only outcome of all this in the end, and he said I should think of how I would live today if today was the last day of my life and take it from there. I really don’t know, for suddenly 24 hours seemed too short a time to even put into action the things I have dreams of doing. so I guess he was making me aware of how much I want to live and have the time to do things, so there is no futility in it if there is desire. And now, when I received this prompt, of fifteen minutes to live, what would I do. I realized I would tell all the people I love how much I loved them, even the ones I had differences with. I suddenly realized that my hates became so small in the face of the amount of love I wanted to share. ‘Bury your ego’ is the call I heard.

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