Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Brush with the eternal hush.

This Sunday's Shivasamudram trip was enkindling in many ways. Firstly, it has started the itch to go out of the city on every weekend. But more importantly, it has aroused an eerie kind of spirituality in me. It started with us getting into the adventurous mode. After finishing bathing at the fall, we decided to descend our way to the lake below the fall. We didn't know the way & it wasn't going to be easy. After a while, I reached a place and just ahead was a steep fall about 40 feet down. I had nothing but a weak branch of nearby tree to hold to, so I did. I was trying to step into another little groove below, when my floaters gave way to the pebbles and my brief skid resulted. I was saved by that weak branch, but for which I would've landed straight on the rocks, some 30-40 feet below. May be I would have escaped with a few minor bruises or perhaps a broken leg or elbow, but the possibility of my death can't be ruled out entirely. This shook me totally! The realization that I could've died, just like that, was startling. I had never felt the same ever before in my life. Death was always a certainty but in a distant thing. It was always what happens with others. "This can't happen to me" was the general feeling. This incident broke all the illusions. I'm just as vulnerable to the dark shadow of death as any dog crossing the road!

This sparked the line of thought about what would have happened had I died there. Yes, it's morose, but that's how it is. It would've been very tough to get the corpse out of that jungle! Jha & Nandu would've faced stern scolding, perhaps fine too, from the authorities for not complying with the warning sign. The product release at my office would've not suffered much. All my code is complete and free of major bugs. The rent would've felt a bit too much to Jha & Rg, since it would have to be divided among only two instead of three. May be Vyas would've moved in. I didn't handle my finances well. The benefactor, my father, wouldn't have known about all my bank accounts and investments. The LIC policy I got done, would've yielded mega bucks (hell, I paid so much for it in the last two years!).

Not many would've missed me. My parents, few closed friends would've remembered me & felt sorry for me. Some relatives, who always talked of me as role-model to their kids, would've clucked their tongues and perhaps said "Honi ko kaun taal sakta hai". My parents would've been devastated! They would've remembered me as their small & sharp kid, always with a question, always demanding Five Stars, always in front of the TV. I didn't heed much to their advice to try for UPSC exams, still I think they would've been reasonably proud of me. They wouldn't have known how I changed in college. I hate this about hostels, they separate you from your folks, establish an invisible wall of formalness. You get to visit them for about 20-30 days in a year. I absolutely hated in when I got treated as a guest in my own house, I was the attention hogger because I was there for only such a small time.

My college mates would have remembered me, atleast for a while. Many would've thought of me as bawdy, some as witty. Few would've thought of me as a thoughtful guy, most of them would've dismissed me as a looney without any focus or direction (Com'on! He died in a jungle trying to climb down a straight rock!). People would've remembered my caustic sarcasms, my baseless debates, my clueless arguments, my hasty decisions, my I-care-a-damn attitude towards academics, perhaps for my innovative dance steps in our batch treats or for innovative acts during those treats. Perhaps they would've remembered how I ruined many movies with them with my supposedly witty comments.

My colleagues would have had a split perception about me. Some would've thought of me as a shy person, some as arrogant, some as outrageously outspoken. No one would've said I was very efficient or very sacrosanct about work or deadlines. Anyway, they would've have remembered me for more than one day or one week. Perhaps a few good friends I made in office would have, but who knows?

Would mine be a restful soul? I can't say! I did have very comfortable life compared to many, but as Ghalib said "Kabhi Kisi Ko Muqammal Jahan Nahi Milta", it wouldn't have been perfect had it ended that day. During the hedonistic existence of 23 years, I didn't have any burning passions or definite focus. I like traveling and I did well there. Not brilliant but not bad either. I would have had a few regrets, some things I would have wanted to change by going into the past. I would have had some unfulfilled desires (Smashing an acoustic guitar, asking for a lift from a lady two wheel driver, etc.) & some grave failures. Looking back, I see a mixed bag -- I've been lucky, I've been unfortunate; I've been proud, I've been humiliated; I've been elated, I've been depressed. But, when I see the big picture, everything cancels out. I've done okay, or may be even good. But perhaps it's not satisfactory!

Recently I came across the commencement speech given by Steve Jobs at Stanford. Following part impressed me most:

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything,– all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
I read this after my little adventure at Shivasamudram. It's amazing how I wanted to convey the same thing in this post. Till now I never thought about the possibility that I could die this very moment. And now when I've seen the possibility in the eyes, whole perception about life has changed! I would urge you too to give a thought to this.

God Bless!


eSwami said...

I had seen one of your posts about my hindi tool. I thought this may interest you -

more about it here

I did not have your email so ended up posting this as a comment.

Vivek Kumar said...

Had a similar experience on my climb to Roopkund. I can totally understand how you feel.

One thing it did to me was to make me see exactly which people are the most important to me.

Jeet said...

You revoked some not so old memories in me.

himanshu agrawal said...

sambhal ke jat babu, abhi to aapki shaadi bhi nahin hui :)

no updates on my photoblog plan, aapki album to dekhte rehte hain.

chutki said...

Nice one Mr.Singh.I miss trekking damn it.It's horrible to be a gal...u just don't get burly girlie company - My greatest crib in life. Aaaaaargh

Poxy said...

U will never know how many lives u have many impressions u have created..
A small gesture that means nothing to you, may mean a lot to another person..and in some way u will still live on in the memory of people u are associated with..
All that you can do is live life every everything u wanted to do right away..
So go ahead and get a lift from that lady two wheeler rider right away ! :)

Shreyansh said...

Although it is too late to comment , almost exactly a year after that incident , but of all the posts that I have managed to read till now, this one is the topmost among the favourites.

God Bless!

rachana said...

v impressive read indeed!!
"I've done okay, or may be even good. But perhaps it's not satisfactory!"
and the para you metioned is worth read.