Queues and the word ‘next’ are as clichéd as a politician hopping from one party to another. Opting for a title submerged in clichés doesn’t mean though that an original idea won’t suddenly pop up to surprise you. But let me just say that the idea for this title came when I heard someone ask someone, ‘What after death?’
I stood there for a while and wondered if the question was stupid or really deserving more than the usual cursory treatment. And then I smiled, turned to these two gentlemen and said, ‘I know what comes after death.’
The two stared at me without speaking a word until I said, ‘Well, when one idea is dead, another appears. Right?’ They just nodded their head in exasperation and went their way, but I decided to sit down and write a post on this. Look, death isn’t only about humans or animals ceasing to live anymore. Death isn’t about cremations or burials of bodies. Why forget that there can be the death of a nation, a political party, a leadership, an idea, an ideology, a relationship, a queue, a book, a gadget… and just about any other thing that you can think of.
So what happens when any of these things dies? Death of your smartphone’s battery, for instance, leads to a short phase of panic. This is almost like the Congress finding out that they have lost almost all hopes of being relevant in national politics. Panic can lead to anger, protest, a teary phase, a stubborn silence, or even behaviour that can be termed by some as anarchy.
History proves to me that when the battery of my smartphone suddenly conked off, I was not just angry but I also protested by writing angry emails, choked with emotion at the loss, and silently decided to rip off the phone company in my blog! But after this there came a phase of yearning when I was simply browsing the net, asking people, and exploring the market for the best deal. Then came the realisation that a lot of extra money would be needed to buy a new battery. So debates and discussions followed… until I finally bought one, but accompanying this decision flooded in doubts about the wisdom of the decision. ‘Should I have gone for a new phone instead?’ So the death of a battery led to the purchase of another and a complete regiment of varying emotions. But I think every death leads to these two words: What next?
I mean, we have access to a well of emotions that we can choose from… we can let those emotions come one by one in a customised way. I know a certain gentleman who directs a set of emotions on coming face to face with any kind of death… he even analyses them and changes their position like a concerned cricket team captain directing players after every over is bowled. Yes, death to him is like an over in cricket and he knows when to send in a spinner or if it is wiser to ask a pacer to come along.
Well then, death is a beginning for sure… but is generally accompanied by a lot of emotions stampeding but finally being overcome by a massive shadow of expectations.
But then this is what death means to a person who lives.
You might just ask if it is the same for a person who dies. I’ll simply ask: ‘What does a dead battery feel like? What does a dead battery see? What does a dead battery experience?’ A dead battery experiences nothingness in its absoluteness. A dead battery sees nothingness as nothingness actually is. A dead battery feels nothingness as nothingness really is. But the most important thing here is that a dead battery doesn’t know when or how it is dismantled or torn apart and sent to be recycled into a new avatar. All I can say is that a part of a dead battery sometimes appears again as a tin box in which I lovingly store memories… or I see it in a new smartphone that I win in a contest… or even in the satellite that circles the earth. Death actually dissolves all boundaries and it is only in death that we become true travellers.
So yes, a new world where you need no visas to travel awaits every dead battery. I think it is the same with humans.
21 January 2015