Friday, 4 April 2014

Death - When Joe Black comes calling

Since the last few days, I have been reflecting on the tragedies that have taken their toll on this planet over the ages, where hundreds, if not thousands of lives are lost. These disasters have been both man-made and nature's work. But the result being same. Almost!  Most of the time, the innocent ones have been caught unawares. For some, a literal bolt from the blue!

I wondered what would have gone through the minds of these people as disaster snuffed their life breath out of them, all of a sudden. 

And that led me to think about THE million dollar question.

What would I do, if God in all his infinite wisdom & sweetness, tells me that I have only 24 hours to live? Firstly, how would I react?

Would it start with:
Source : Google Images
"Die, dear? Now, that's the last thing I'll ever do? Hahaha!! "
"You scared me to death! Hahaha"
"You must be joking! I am so healthy and still so young!!"
"You got the wrong person"
"I don't want to die! I have so much to do in life." (Wailing!)

And then move onto bargaining / negotiating:
"Can you add another 24 hours or maybe just a little more? Puhhhhhhlease?  I am sure it is possible if You make up Your mind. You are God, after all."

Finally ending with:
"Oh God, Why me????!"

Then what would envelop me:
Shock? Panic? Sadness? Sorrow? Joy ? Acceptance? Scare?
Joy??!! Are you kidding?!!!
Scared??? You have NO idea!
Acceptance? As if I have a choice, HA!

Later on:
"Can I at least choose the place and time? Puhlease????"
"OK, let's make a deal. Can I at least come back later on to haunt and scare the people who have troubled me?"

Maybe a mixture of all these in different intensities!  I have no clue!!

(Source: Google Images)
Will I look back upon my life, heave a sigh of satisfaction & gratitude that I had a good life with whatever God gave me? Will I be content with the life led, with the experiences I have had? Just like how Sir Anthony Hopkins' character is, in "Meet Joe Black". But then, who wouldn't be happy to accompany death if it comes calling in the form of Brad Pitt!

Or will I crib that I didn't get a good life?

After the initial reaction, which aspect of me will take over? What will I want to fill my last 24 hours with? What would I indulge in?

Will I go all practical, you know, plan things immediately and start to do all those practical things like taking care of my estate, put away my things safely & properly, write letters to the people I care for, say all those "thank-you"s; "please-forgive-me"s; try to mend fences, hold out olive branches, tear down the walls, build bridges? The last one needs real quick-setting cement though!

Will I have a get-together of all the people I care for, so that I can bid a final farewell? Will they all attend? Will they spare time for me or would they assume I am joking & have a good laugh and say "LOL" or 'Go to hell'.

Will I go the spiritual way? Visit as many temples as I can, do as many abhishekas as possible, then sit in a corner quietly & fervently pray and meditate; sort of cramming for my FINAL exam! What will I pray for? Of course, to score well in THE final exam! I want to pass with distinction, with a capital D.

Will I have loads of fun singing, swimming, cooking, watching funny movies, eating, salsa dancing, talking, etc? The very thought of squeezing so many activities in 24 hours in itself is so tiring! Whew.

Source : Google Images
Yes, eating is very important! Who knows if & when I will get to eat all those nice things again? But then, what all to eat? Chaats? All that yummy street food? Masala Dosa? (which hotel's?), idli-vada-coconut-chutney? All those delicious dishes & snacks that my mum makes? But then, what about all those hot samosas & pakoras, steaming capsicum bonda, etc? See the difficulty in choosing? Need to be careful in here. Can't afford to spend the rest of my life growing roots in the loo!

Or will I try something more adventurous like taking a final dip in the Ganga to wash away the sins, go sky-diving above Taj Mahal, bungee-jumping, hot-air balloon ride over the great pyramids, scuba diving, zero-gravity flights from the Russian cosmodrome or river-rafting in Kali river? Even if something goes wrong, the exit will be advanced by just a few hours, at the most, while I get to say good-bye in style! 

Will I be worried about the legacy I leave behind? Who doesn't want to be known as a good human being! To be remembered fondly, at least posthumously! Will I spend my last hours doing something useful to society, like teach at orphanages, give away food & clothing to the needy or try to bring about world peace?

Will I fret about how my precious things would be handled after my departure?

Will I just wring my hands & freeze, dreading the end being so near, with my mind & brain refusing to work, my limbs refusing to move, wasting the last few precious hours?

Will I spend a little more time in the Sun, savouring it's warmth for the last time and if it is raining, will I dance in the rain & make those little paper boats to set them sail in the rivulets that form, like before? And drink hot steaming masala tea. Yes, why not? Will I go to one of my favorite Coffee Day outlets to drink that usual hot lemon tea with double shot of honey and take a fond trip down memory lane, reliving & savoring all those lovely moments, for the last time?

Will I lay my head in my mum's lap drawing as much comfort as possible, which only a mum's lap can give? And refuse to move, with the fond hope that maybe she can somehow manage to hold me back a la Sati Savithri style!

Will I be able to laugh at all those jokes about death & dying? Or maybe not find them funny anymore?

Will I be brave & curious to understand the process of death with a "scientific bent of mind"? Will I go through a tunnel and see light at the end of it? Will God's rays levitate me towards Him like they show in movies? 

Will I be able to let go? Will I be able to bear the thought of never, ever seeing or touching my loved ones again and bid that very final farewell? Will I worry about how they will cope with my permanent absence? It's a different matter that they may decide to bring on the bubbly!

So many things to do! Will I be able to make up my mind at all?

Looks like 24 hours is not enough even to decide what I would want to do in my last 24 hours! Everything seems important! Funny, isn't it?!

Maybe that is why Joe Black's visit is meant to be sudden. Spares the one moving on, all this utter confusion & agony while allowing things to take care of themselves.

What do you think?


  1. Indeed! A notice of death is worse than death itself

  2. A profound post infused with light humour. Am thinking now...and the time is running out....bhago. Carpe deim...just seize the day and make the best of it. Kal ho na ho.

    1. Thank you, Janu. Yes. Never postpone things :)

  3. Wow! You analyzed it all so well and I love your thought process!

  4. I am totally hooked to your blog. With each post you raise the bar another notch. What a perfectly resonant thought process! I am glad I decided to take part in this challenge. WOW!


    1. Thank you so much for the kind words Dagny. I find them very encouraging and supportive. Means a lot.

  5. So many things to ponder over. Thank God the time of our death is unknown.

    1. Isn't it so? :) Thank God for small mercies.

  6. Lovely lovely post.... so many things to ponder upon and make the best use of the day life gives us :) :)

  7. I don't know how I'd take it. Or even if I'd bargain for a day more :) Haven't thought of anything yet, not even my last wish :) But your post does make me think.

  8. Phew Prathima , one heck of a post. loved it. You got me thinking
    WHat will I do ? Above all I wud sleep on mommy's lap :( :( this post made me sad and also glad for this life
    remembered a movie das vidaniya

    1. Thank you Afshan. Yes, mum's lap is the bestest option :) I will try to catch up on the movie you have mentioned.

  9. ohh what worse than Death than dying and expecting a slow one...terrible :(

    1. Karan, I guess slow is ok & instantaneous is ok in their own way, having a few hours is what will tear me apart.

  10. Never thought about looking at life from this angle.. now that you did talk about it, maybe I will.. but then, i always believe in living life to the fullest and in its full spontaneity and not leaving anything to regret b'coz i didn't do it when i could, in life .. Yes. your blog only proves that its not bad to have a bucket list :-)

    1. Spontaneity makes a heck of a difference. I guess as adults we forget that very charming aspect of life. oh! Am trying to get my bucket list together. But unable to find a bucket that BIG yet. :)

  11. I might bargain with Him, atleast one plate BhelPuri I need to have before I die. Well, I am reading it in a lighter vein because currently the fear is spooking me out.

  12. Your Death post is touching and significant, because we all need to think of death once in a while, just so we can live better. Am sharing this post.

    1. Thank you so much Cynthia. I appreciate your kind gesture.

  13. Great post! Reminded me of the mystic show episode: