Death ends a life, but it does not end a
relationship, which struggles on in the
survivor’s mind towards some resolution
which it may never find.
— Robert Anderson
I Never Sang for My Father
Call a man great if he can make you realize that you already know what
he is talking about, and that you’ve always known it all along.
You may be a doctor, I may be an accountant,you may be a singer, I may
be a janitor but our journey is etched with the same important
landmarks…that is we all are born one day through sheer luck and
fortuity (fortuity ?) (our birth is virtually impossible to be
replicated under normal circumstances, given the millions of
spermatazoa vying furiously to win the death-race to reach the egg and
fertilize it !), and then after a passage of time, be it minutes,hours
,days or decades , we die.
What happens in between may or may not be remembered by others ,
depending on the gravity of your deeds.
Tapping in to the vast reserve of human experiences is therefore
deceptively easy and exceedingly difficult as it looks.Great writers
have the ability to resonate with your deepest beliefs (or core
beliefs) and make it seem personal, like they were saying it with you,
As an old man, my teacher once told me…”I’m not here to teach
you.I’m only here to make you realize , to make you know that you
But he was critically wrong in a way.
No one can make you realize anything.
Realization must come from within…
I know… I understand that you’ve heard this aphorism hundreds of
times and believe that it is very cliched , therefore does not evoke
any response out from you , but believe me , you’ll be jumping around
shouting ‘Eureka !’ when the moment of ‘Satori‘ , the japanese term of
enlightenment falls upon you.
The trick is then to tap into an universal experience, or rather an
universal emotion and exploit it in any way you can, and milk it dry
.(emotions in my opinion are empty names to the multitude of complex
chemical physical and psychological action-reaction bombs exploding
within,and for example calling fear as fear itself would be
frustratingly inadequate when the first fear is because you saw a
cockroach and the second fear is because you are five feet away from a
hungry tiger about to pounce upon you )
And believe me, enlightenment is not atonement.It does not free you
from anything, but rather makes everything else meaningless, and thus
dealing with life becomes less of a hassle.
Buddha was lucky.
If we are to believe in his story,even though he had to wait for years
, enlightenment came to him as a whole package…but you and I are not
so divine and therefore we’ll have to be content with our ‘Mini
Satoris’ and our once in a blue moon instalments of ‘Aha ! ‘moments
that make life worth living for another day.
As I’ve somewhere said before , we are never ready for what we are
about to face , until the moment we face it.All the mental
preparation, all the vicarious experiences will fall short of the
Then why as humans , do we seek out such experiences ? Is it because
as humans all we have is one life , and all the decisons we make , the
paths we take cannot be taken again ? Is it because whatever paths we
once choose , we cannot at a later stage erase those paths and
consequences out completely.
I believe that we implicitly know of our false illusion of immortality.
We know that we , or rather the ‘I’ or the ‘self’ does not persist
Whatever may be eternal(you may call it god for simplicity) , but
with the last expiration of air through the lungs, with the shutting
off of all vital organs , we know that the ‘I’ or our individuality
ceases to exist.
If ‘I’ don’t exist ,
Then what does?
If ‘I’ don’t exist
then why bother?
If ‘I’ don’t exist ,
Then Who cares?
(This philosophy , I found out very recently is called
extinctivism,whose proponents believe that the soul is a figment of
imagination created by the mind that essentially is incapable of
imagining the lack of being)
So we choose to enrich ourselves with a lifetime of experiences in our
fields of interest and we become collecters of experiences.
But the tendency I’ve seen in people is that they stop at the stage of
collecting ,for they do not know how to proceed further.
It’s funny to know that…Everybody’s lost.
I’ve seen spiritual shoppers with hundreds of books in their
bookshelves but lacking even an iota of spirituality in their
souls.I’ve seen car enthusiasts who are forever stuck with their
magazines but without the slightest hint on how to enjoy their own
I couldn’t read the last chapter of Milan Kundera‘s “The Unbearable
Lighteness of Being” in one go.
To me it seems like he saved his best punches for the last.
‘Karenin‘s Smile’ is devastatingly beautiful.Each line is masterfully
crafted to evoke the deepest emotions.
All the emotions associated with loss, I’ve found are more powerful
than the ones associated with any other emotion. Lust or jealousy or
even anger does not wield so much power as grief and Happiness is
The grief of loss is truly an universal emotion , far more poweful for
it persists through ghosts and illusions , for it resonates and
infects every particle around it.
Buddha asked the distraught mother of the stillborn child to get him a
fistful of sesame (or some other insignificant thing, I don’t
remember) from any house that has not experienced death and thereby
teaches her that loss is inherent , and the attached pain is but a
normal and valid reaction.
Am I obsessed with death?
I’ve seen fear in the eyes of the bravest when it came to facing death.
And it has made me curious, but I know its a one-way trip.
I almost lost my Rufus, my dog.
So I couldn’t read ‘Karenin’s Smile’ in one go.
I had to make brief and frequent stops to reimagine and relive my own
experience.Thus Milan Kundera had succeeded in making the chapter a
Someday I’d be like to write like him , only better.
Till then I have to be content at clutching and flailing and failing
to grasp the straws of truth.
(When I wrote this Rufus was still alive.)