Friday, September 29, 2006

When I Die...

I will try hard to protect this blog from becoming one of those mushy-mushy philosophical blogs; and will try a bit not to sound gloomy either. Believe me, it's a very matter of factly, philosophical piece.

Thoughts about death often come to me when I go to bed everyday. As I put my head on the pillow, I think of death as going to sleep. And then, I often start enumerating the circumstances that could possibly surround my death, whenever it happens.

I rarely suffer from sleeplessness, thank Goodness. But when I do, it's mostly due to a raging emotion -- of unvented hatred, jealousy, unrequitted love, feelings of guilt, apprehensions of future...such negative thoughts. While there goes on a storm in my mind, I am totally aware of the fruitlessness of this wakefulness. I wish I had got some sleep, but it wouldn't come then.

Sometimes, the sleep doesn't come due to my gluttony. A heavy dinner with a perfect knowledge of the consequences. A heavy tummy, this time the storm happening there instead of in the head. And tossing around in the bed. Awful!

And then there are days that had some particularly good experience: a rare pat from the guide, an appreciative remark from a colleague or friend. A lusty look from an attractive girl (may be imagined!), a show of affection from a girl for whom, may be, I nurture a tiny little soft corner in my heart, mom calling up and saying she dreamed about me and was worried, a piece of code running perfectly, a theorem getting proved, an idea striking. A cartoon coming out the very way I had visualised it in my mind before making it. All these cause me to intentionally ward off the sleep for few moments more, just so that I could gloat a little longer about that nice experience.

Once in a while, there are these torturous nights when the thought of something I badly crave to do, but don't know how to, keep me waking for hours. Research, for the most number of times, and drawing is another. The few hours of deep slumber in the wee hours would be preceded and often followed by a painful half-wakeful state flashing images of unimplemented modules of an implementation, intuitive but unproved research propositions, beautiful paintings not made by me. Though, I would finally pass into a sleep giving up all hopes of making all those hallucinations a reality onto the next day, I would usually wake up too groggy and bleary eyed to be able to do anything useful.

On the other hand, there are these nights which follow a particularly productive day, when I come back with some more work to do, planning that I will finish the thinking work in the minutes that precede the sleep. Often that happens; often it gets aborted by the body and mind giving up to an overwhelming exhaustion.

But sweetest are those nights when I come back after an honest day's work, all tired and broken. No! Neiter necessarily having seen great successes that day, nor any tantalising look of desire for me in some beautiful eyes. It's just a day when I spent all my energy in doing something well-meaning and happy. Irrespective of how it fits into the grand design of my life; irrespective of how it adds value to the society. That would be a night with a complete realisation that all energy is now spent, everything has been done. And each drop of it was spent relishing an honest -- perhaps very modest -- act of fulfilment. A small program. A proof. A beautiful letter or blog. A nice sketch. A long chat with a bosom friend. The joy that I feel at that moment comes not from the value or meaningfulness of the experience. But from my honest, unbriddled involvement in it. I have no desire to experience it once more; nor any plans for the next day. Just plain, sweet exhaustion! I just make my bed, curl up under the bedsheet with a sweet smile of satisfaction and fulfilment, and am asleep even before that smile has gone.

I often wonder, how I would die.
Will death come after playing hide and seek with me, momentarily preventing me from departing from a body and mind filled with agony of hatred, jealousy and strife?
Or will it come after letting me writhe a few moments more in agony and remorse for having abused my body and mind with poisonous substances and thoughts.
Or will it approach me ambivalently while I hallucinate about what I could've, but didn't, do or achieve?
Or will it abort a joyous experience with its long expected arrival when I would just have had a glimpse of a long elusive achievement?
Or will it come suddenly one day even as I would be planning my next move?

Or -- oh how I wish it were this way! -- she would one day just take my broken body into her folds, after having allowed me to lead a life of humble fulfilment, when I know I have lived it enough and want no more of it; when I am at ease with whatever little love, wealth, health and fame I have earned; when I am at ease with myself, my littleness, my insignificance. When I am satisfied, not perhaps about what the life gave me, but certainly about how I dealt with her.

That's how I would wish to die one day! :)


Dheepikaa B said...

A poetic piece from you for a change. :)

I liked the compartmentalisation about the types of sleep. Led me identify myself with it.

Was a sweet read.

Death - personified as a woman, just makes me very curious. There were split-thoughts. Was it a real woman you were talking about or death herself?

Shamit Bagchi said...

Liked the paragraphs on your causes for sleeplessness; a vivid portrayal.

priteshdagur said...

Beautiful one Sujit........I really have no words to say it. I'd thought of writing about this some day but I could never have done justice to it the way YOU did it.....:-)

sp said...

I think its because of the mystery and enigma of the post-death experience or rather the lack of it, that everyone is fascinated with it. The feeling of the final full-stop.

sks said...

man, sujit, such morbid thoughts reminds me of emily dickinson's " because i could not wait for death" guess you should write an eulogy on 'life' before you plan for your death. Absolutely overjoyed to see you write stuff and go through your blog.