18
Sep
11

टूटता क्यों नहीं दर्द का सिलसिला?

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” – Norman Cousins

I started on this path of blogging because I had thought and hoped it would be therapeutic for me! Don’t think it has, and actually, I am very close to that adieu post.

Everything dies…come to a conclusion and at times, terminated. Also, I see no reason why I should keep on encumbering others about my travails. People anyway forget words and deeds and if I am to be remembered, for whatever reason, I would want it to be for any sensitivity that I may have been able to kindle in them – a feeling that they are able to embrace with the strength to continue.

Maybe, I need to put an end to this. And, considering the terms used to define this final moment – wouldn’t it be just great, fantastic and bizarre if I were to sort of cop it; go away; be no more; conk it; kick the bucket; expire; walk the plank; rest in peace; stop living; drop off; croak; be taken; breathe my last; pass away, go to my heavenly abode; put out the lamp; move on to the next level; go off; mar jāun; swarg ko sidharun; cross the threshold; meet the grim reaper; say hello to the maker; khallās etc. soon after this post….now that would be droll!

 *

Thirty-one years ago, my father died aged 59.

Technically, I have been travelling for half-a-century and eight years now and trying not to dwell on the observable. I feel as if I was 25 just yesterday but I am sure I look plum-for-my-prime now. I can see it in the eyes of the people, their body language and the way they react. None, unfortunately, are able to perceive the bemused reaction within me.

Strange, how death is not all about numbers essentially.  It is a process that begins quietly and many a times masquerades into your living moments, biding its time and watching every breath inhaled and set free.

Now, for those who have not been able to comprehend or translate from Hindi, the title in Roman English reads as ‘Tutatā kyon nahin dard kā silsilā?’ A crass translation would be: Why doesn’t the chain of pain break?

And everything revolves around making sense of the dard and silsilā (the chain of events).

Some simply call this process – ‘pain’ (also the fore-play of death), which the medical world very modestly defines as a sensation that hurts. There are innumerable meanings of the word ‘pain’ available on the net. But I am talking about dard (दर्द) – an awareness difficult to pinpoint and one that can be worse or better than pain. Nor can this word be really translated satisfactorily. It is well neigh impossible to do so….just as the word angarai (अंगड़ाई ).

As Sophocles has said, “…it is worse to want to die, and not be able to.”  And, a combination of pain and dard with a dollop of angarai makes for a lethal progression. My permutation is slowly becoming difficult to manage. I sometimes wonder if it is also the loss or erosion of my moral and ethical code. Affix to this my inability to be shameless, dodgy about finances and futile attempts to move on with the subterfuge of the human world. It all reinforces the silsila.

*

There was a time I wanted to die in Binsar – leaning against a huge pine tree, inhaling the smell of moss and looking at Nanda Devi and its peaks. I am not going to achieve this and chances of my going to Binsar now are remote.

Then once I had sought to relinquish life, as it were, in the arms of a loved one – fairly romantic and in retrospect, rather ‘filmy’ – but true, considering my heart at times used to flutter abnormally at the mere sight of her.  However, she beat me to it and strengthened the silsila.

Wouldn’t it be great if one could just find a place they would like to die? I mean, you can’t do anything about your birthplace but death? I still think that the best place to die is in a forest. One is rid of all the tamasha. Nobody is inconvenienced nor is there any pretence.

Have you ever thought of the things people have to pretend to do when somebody dies? The hassle that ‘demise’ can cause? That it happens mostly without a formal intimation leads to the social dilemma that alters death into a sad travesty of public display rather than a remembrance that is private.

Let us say, you never liked a neighbour or somebody living nearby or a relative or even someone closer. You have not exchanged pleasantries for ages; studiously ignored each other; mentally glared, spat and cursed whenever possible. The moment this ‘favourite’ individual of yours dies – what do you do? Chances are that with folded hands and covered head, sanctimoniously you will visit the house of the deceased to pay your last respects. I mean how hypocritical is that? Last respects for somebody you don’t respect or care for!

On the other hand, if there was bereavement at a personal level, what is the point of all the religious ceremonies, the burial grounds, the crematoria – name it – the relatives, instant well-wishers and scholars of rituals – everybody giving unsolicited advice! All you want probably is for these things, these nuisances, and these glitches to just get over. Isn’t that what ‘death’ is – to get over – to end. Oh yes! Death of a loved one will make you shed tears; you will miss them for a very long time but do we need to create such a nonsensical fanfare about death? An oriental philosopher has rightly commented that, ‘life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.’

 *

This giving up the ghost thought is not new to me and has nothing to do with the fact that I am getting old. I have reflected upon ceasing to exist even as a child, and relax…it has not been an obsession.

Death is the only thing confirmed about life and begins the day we are born. Every living nano-second of our time on this planet is ultimately taking us to that final moment. Like a damaged lung there are parts of us that never regenerate however much we may wish them to and death then comes as freedom – both from pain and dard.

I just want to die now – quietly, in a place that is totally unknown –or at least, where there are no lies. I am just so tired of everything and everybody and blame nothing and nobody.

It would be a release.

So, will   the real ‘Death’ raise its arm, please!

And,

Do not stand at my grave and weep;

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn’s rain,

When you awaken in the morning hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;

I am not there. I did not die.

 – Anon


2 Responses to “टूटता क्यों नहीं दर्द का सिलसिला?”


  1. 1 sacredfig
    September 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I was just going through your blog a few hours ago…all of the posts, from when it began…and I was thinking to myself that over the two or so years that you have been writing it…its come together as a nice body of writing – I love to re-read, and re-re-read some posts – sometimes I just come to see the photographs or read a poem, or just the quote at the beginning of a post. So when I scooted back here to find you talking about ‘adieu’ – I’m against that for selfish reasons of wanting to go on reading this for a little longer. 🙂
    And contrary to the tone of the post, the portion where you use the multiple terms for dying from ‘cop it’ to ‘khallaas’ made me just laugh out loud (the language combined with the way I imagine you saying the whole thing in my head!)

    The big challenge of blogging is I think (especially when you don’t write about completely banal things!) that it is not a substitute for a conversation – one cannot ‘comment’ always to express how the post made one feel, or even convey the volumes that a nod or a tilt of the head, or a pause of the chai-ka-cup in the air before taking a sip conveys in real meetings.

    Don’t want to turn this into a whole blog post instead of a comment, so will stop now. But here’s to more writing!

  2. 2 half a cup tea
    September 19, 2011 at 5:56 am

    Your post disturbs me to an extent….for me, death is just another milestone in the soul’s journey – I do think of it, almost as much as you do ; but, more in terms of yet another unknown event that will take my breath away, literally ! and, I, too , will not accept the untimely demise of the edge of the fringe. ” kitna acchhaa thaa….bhagwan acchhe logon ko kyon jaldi bula leta hai …!” 🙂 …I could go on with such filmy stuff, if it pleases you….!!! seriously, do not muffle the voice of reason, at least, not just yet.


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