Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sunday, May 3rd

Two Sundays ago, on the third of May, my brother-in-law Girish Doctor, passed away. It was a sudden death, in the sense that he hadn't especially been ill. But he'd been slowing down steadily over the past two years. He seemed to have been anticipating a major change in his life because a few years ago, he began putting his personal affairs in order and acquainting his daughter with the paperwork (my sister and nephew having shown ZERO interest in practical matters! Just like me. It's a particularly annoying family failing).

I came to Madras from Delhi the same day that I got the news, but only in the evening. By that time the ashes had already been immersed in the sea.

GCD was a major presence in my family (by which I mean, the small nuclear unit comprising my parents, my sisters and our immediate partners/children -- but not the families of our partners or of the huge clans connected to all our uncles, aunts and cousins). Aside from my father, who died in late 1994, this is the first death. My mother is still very much with us, so we still have four generations -- spanning from her to my four year old grand-niece -- but this now is the first death from within my generation.

A decidely ODD feeling. Not exactly sad, because we are all approaching those ages when death becomes no longer really tragic or "before-his/her-time". I have to admit that one of the satisfactions death affords me is that it is still, despite all the technology at our command, FINAL. There are no bribes to pay or strings to pull that can bring someone back from that last goodbye. So it's a kind of thrilling Absolute, in an existence where nothing at all is permanent.

I'm still in Madras, therefore not at my home-computer -- i.e., I'm not in a place where I can compose at ease and at length -- the phone line is blocked up when one of us is online so aside from everything else, it's a bit antisocial to remain logged in for long.

Just one other comment to make -- after coming to Madras for two days, I went on assignment for OUTLOOK TRAVELLER to a delightful resort called SHERGARH just outside Kanha national forest. Since I have to write the article right this minute, I don't want to say anything more about the trip. The issue should be out in June. But in case you can't wait that long to know more about the resort, do click on the link. I had four great days and returned to Madras on Sunday via Nagpur and Bangalore (ah-maaaaazing airport in Bangalore/Bengaluru! Wow. Didn't esp want to catch my flight!).


Paul said...

Your font size, this time, was readable. I didn't have to copy paste your post in Word in order to read it. Must be the difference in the settings of the comp in the Madras home.

I've always felt, and still feel what matters at the end of it all, is how one goes through the experience of death. If the doctor treating you is sensible enough not to put you through agonizing pain, you're lucky. If you are allowed dignity and self respect by the people around you, you've almost made it. And if you're conscious and still can face death with calmness and confidence, you're a 100%.

I loved Emily Dickinson because she wrote

"Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality."

I hated Dylan Thomas because he wrote "Do not go gently into that Good Night."

And once, while in Delhi I happened to watch a staging of "Whose life is it anyway?" During the interval someone distributed a leaflet of a Bombay based organization which stood for the cause of Euthanasia.

I have believed in the cause before watching the play, and after.

Abhimanyu k Singh said...

my heart-felt condolences...
death is not a bad thing, per se, apart from being natural and inevitable,ofcourse.
I hope the divinity within you gives you the strength to deal with
what has happened.

Anonymous said...

the big D. the gr8 equalizer - and it seems that u take it well in your stride. i was hearing a quote on the radio a few days ago and have forgo10 who said it .... "i always go to other people's funerals so that one day they will also come to mine." best wishes and keep the flag flyin' lady. gt