It’s a tad like packing and going somewhere else. Never to return. That place you are going from now consigned to some corner of your memory, to be reopened and viewed at will or at points of sudden associations, like familiar smells, music or sounds. You sit there the previous evening, packing, grand plans for the future, odd moments of nostalgia when old things that hold memories turn up all of a sudden from the heap by the bedroom.
They say dying is similar. You leave one place, never to return and move on to another place. Old memories fade away and you can’t remember everything. And in your next reincarnation you start making new memories, like new friends at a new place. Simplistic? A tad too much for my preference. Yes, I’ve had my share of leaving places never to return, or not knowing when I’ll return, my share of tears in airport gates while waiting to board, while the past few years flash by. I knew where I was going each time, be it Melbourne to study (I was depressed the whole flight and the next few days. I had left my job, had no income for the foreseeable future and was paying loads for a Masters I wasn’t sure I needed), to Seattle (I shed tears at the Melbourne airport gate thinking of the friends I was leaving behind) or Bangalore (where I sat down in Los Angeles remembering all my friends and the good times, and with the whole weight of my decision sitting on my shoulders, hoping that I had got it right. The Seattle to LAX leg was too hectic for me to have time to think!). But each time there was something to look forward to.
But why so morbid, you’d ask. I don’t know. Just something that plays in my mind often and watching TV or reading something brings it out a lot. Like the battle in Game Of Thrones with people waiting for what they think is an inevitable defeat and death. How would it feel, to know that you are at the end of the road. To know that everything that was you for the past X years is going to be over. That this is The End.
Also the question is, what would we do if we were immortal? How would that work out? Would we be OK with an endless cycle of working, weekends, working and weekends? Surely, you need to work to live? Maybe death is the logical thing, and something that drives us to do what we do, to live how we live. Again, brings me back to “The Referendum“, which I had linked to almost a year back in another blog post. In fact, it’s a tad scary to note that I had done that almost exactly a year back!! Maybe July is the month for such thoughts?
There have been many things I have wished when I was a kid. They said Nostradamus had predicted the end in November 1997 and as a 9 year old, I was scared to hell that I had only 8 more years left! I wished for immortality. When Mr. India was released I joined the millions in hoping for invisibility. At 32 however, the question is more real than ever. As much as medical sciences and facilities grow to lengthen your lifeline, the growing number of people dying through stress-related issues is increasing in parallel. So I guess it comes down to a race between your ambulance driver and death played out in peak hour Bangalore traffic. Every time I see an ambulance fighting its way through peak hour traffic I feel for the person inside it. Maybe how lucky you are might depend on what time you have a heart attack and need an ambulance.
Back to the original question. Given a time and facing the inevitable which might be a few hours away, what would your thoughts be? Life flashing through, wondering if you should’ve lived it differently? Sometimes I wonder if I would live it any differently. Sadly, unlike most stock photos with flowers, a colourful sunset or a cute dog with inspiring text shared on Facebook by ‘friends’, there are no easy answers. It’s easy to look at someone else’s life and say he/she’s ‘living’ it. But is that so simple?
There are different compulsions, different circumstances that shape each person’s life and we are not such individual creatures to be able to change direction at will. I know where my ambitions stand. I’ve heard enough friends talk of starting up companies and I’ve nodded my intention similarly. Over time I knew I was never going to do that. There will never be something that’ll make strike out on my own. Maybe writing, but my ambitions on that front stand where they stood exactly a year back. There was a time when I wondered if I was a software mercenary, capable of doing more work for more money. But then, the idea itself is absurd. We don’t work at companies to uphold any lofty ideals or for some earth-changing ethical values. Love your salary, that’s what you are working for.
Oh well, this is what happens when there are no stories to write about and when I get tired of reviewing books. Hope I don’t induce any head-banging, not the rock style, but at walls!