Wednesday, 19 August 2015


The Allure of Death
Fear of the Unknown is, in my opinion, at the forefront of reasons why most people are so uneasy about their inevitable demise. They have no clue as to what lies in wait for them once their fragile hearts give way.
Perhaps this is more common in places where life is cherished and enjoyed to such an extent that death isn’t in itself the tragedy as much as it is the loss of what life offers: personal fulfilment, health, children, love, material possessions, etc.
For many others, however, life has become such a traumatic, horrifying experience that death is a welcome reprieve, a much needed end to their individual or collective ordeals.
An arbitrary case in point I am hesitant to offer is the glaring contrast between the life I enjoy and the unspeakable conditions which set the scene for millions of people around the world: Whilst I am lulled to sleep by Radio 4’s Shipping Forecast through the iPhone on which I’m writing these words, the workers who tirelessly and painstakingly assembled this device have to rest their ailing bodies to the sound of their own grumbling stomachs and those of their children. Whilst my over-stimulated mind submits to the elements and falls into a deep, undisturbed slumber, there are countless others who are too afraid to close their eyes lest they are jolted awake by the the sound of gunfire or a car bomb nearby, for their pristine souls had been blotted by the indelible blackness of death. The sporadic serenity I revel in is but a distant dream for so many others whose ears are constantly pierced by the drums of death, and whose hearts are ceaselessly scythed by fellow humans.
Death, although one and the same, cannot be understood through a universal definition, for its comprehension and subsequent acknowledgment are relative and almost entirely dependent on our instinct for self-preservation.
Immortality is a dilettantish goal. No-one with a sound mind would wish to stick around for longer than necessary and bear witness to our flagrant disregard of our true selves, our unquenchable thirst for each other’s blood, and our unrestrained eagerness to annihilate those who are weaker than us, have less than we do, or, more commonly, those whose eyes see the world in a different hue to that which we believe to be the Truth.
Although we concede that our time is finite, and that our days, months or years are numbered, what many of us fear most is the unravelling of the thread we had delicately spun during every second of our ill-spent lives.. We dread the abrupt eviction from the cocoons inside which we had been foolishly and ignorantly entrenched. For the others, Death is Mother Nature’s soft embrace after a life of unabated suffering, unrelenting torment and torture. For them, life is a painful and protracted death, whilst Death itself is a bestowal of a new lease of Life.
Whichever of the two sides our coin is tossed, the fact is, we’re going to die. Death makes us equal. Death is the overarching reality that trumps all the illusions we accept, and confirms the truth we spend our lives subconsciously denying. That, in a nutshell, is what gives Death its unparalleled allure.

The title is numerical as this is the 10th entry in a series of daily writings I began just over a week ago. The plan is to write and publish something everyday, no matter how big or small the piece of writing is. Previous entries are on my Tumblr account, and I may publish them here, too.

Sunday, 16 August 2015


It says a great deal about the importance of beginnings and endings that so much significance is attached to the details under which these beginnings and endings occur. Birth and death, wedding days and signing-divorce-papers days, even enrolling in school/college/university and getting a piece of paper to mark the end of that educational chapter.
Without beginnings and/or endings, our view of the world is shapeless, formless, with no clearly signposted cut-off points to separate one state of mind from the other.

My beginning has always been a moot point amongst my family. Whilst my eldest brother swears by everything holy that he remembers the day I was born being August 6th, my father, who really ought to know, says I was born on August 8th. A few years ago, I unearthed my crumpled Indian birth certificate hoping to put an end to the dispute, but the biro scribble made matters worse; It read: August 7.

I resolved to give up on searching for an exact date which made no real difference to who I was. The important thing is that I made it. Besides, contested though it may be, I wasn’t prepared to relinquish an enviable and celestially favourable birthday such as mine: 8-8-88.

Perhaps 8 wasn't a particularly lucky number. Eight days after my ninth birthday, my mother passed away.

My mind fogs whenever I recall the days that followed. Everything seemed to happen very quickly, and I didn’t have a chance to establish, with any degree of certainty, how she died. All I knew was that an ambulance had been called, and that she had died of respiratory problems. I wasn’t told whether she was pronounced dead at home or in hospital.

Eighteen years later, I still don’t know.

My siblings and I remember her all the time, but hardly ever bring up the timeline of that day. Despite the countless questions swirling in our heads, we don’t broach the subject for a number of reasons. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I suspect my siblings share my view on this.

We do not ask because we have no language to articulate the unimaginable loss we continue to feel. We do not ask because we are scared of being plunged into a whirlwind of renewed mourning.

I do not ask because I don’t want to see my siblings’ adult faces, now steadfast and resilient, overtaken by familiar expressions of fear and abandonment.

Her eighteenth anniversary will be a chance to look into myself and grieve once more. My arrival to this life and my mother’s departure from it are both events that will, for a while at least, be veiled with ambiguity.. A veil I’m adamant on lifting so I can offer my repressed inner child the chance to understand why and how he was orphaned.

The gaps in my mind must be filled, even if those in my heart are not.

The title is numerical as this is the seventh entry in a series of daily writings I began a week ago. The plan is to write and publish something everyday, no matter how big or small the piece of writing is. Previous entries are on my Tumblr account, and I may publish them here, too.