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On Death

Death. No one talks of death, or thinks of death as often as I do. It’s as if there are multiple crevices in my brain which represent this black void, never letting me forget to fear the inevitable. All my time passes just brooding over and over death in the dark depths of the night, wondering what is beyond if there is a beyond, knowing fully well that I’ll never know.

The act of thinking is like a creeper growing – it sprouts somewhere sometime and then grows on, clinging to your head, never letting go. It grows until it completely envelops your brain in itself, eventually leading you to realise you are inseparable from this thought that popped up when watching a commercial, reading a summary on Wikipedia, conversing with people or musing in solitude. Nothing is as dangerous as a thought, an idea that suffocates oneself to submission.

To follow the thin strand of memories to find my first tryst with death is troublesome, it seems as if I’d always been acquainted with the end. However, the first memory I can clearly recall is when my mother told me a relative had died. I still remember, lying on the bed giggling as I tickled my brothers, the golden hue of the first sun rays filling the room with warmth – an early morning filled with such pure exhilaration. I still remember everything around me becoming a kind of blur, like it does in movies, when my mother told me someone had died. I stayed back with my grandmother at home, but my parents and my brothers had to go. As for grieving, I cried at being separated from my brothers rather than crying for the loved one who’d died.

Twice I’ve asked people if they were afraid of death, both said they weren’t because it is something inevitable, and fearing something inevitable is stupidity. Both times I was shocked at how these kids who were around my age were so bold and so full of life that they didn’t think much of death, dismissed it even. But even then, my anxieties weren’t fully formed as I still had a belief in God, maybe even an afterlife. The time I came to know about the possibility of there not being a God was when I was watching a commercial for a documentary on why humans believe in superpowers that surpass the mortal world. In the commercial people were being asked whether they believed in God or not, and being a youngster growing up in a religious family, I answered to the screen with utmost faith that I do. But there was an unheard voice whispering in the back of my mind, churning up doubts that stayed in my subconscious until the shell protecting my innocent mind broke, exposing it to the harsh realities of this rough world. Then came the sleepless nights, questioning existence and beyond, wondering about the black abyss at the end of which seemed no light, musing of beginnings and endings, pursuing a pointless track of queries that threatened to make my mind explode. The God who was once a comfort, now became a luxury that couldn’t be understood or approached by me. Elders told me to chant prayers if I couldn’t sleep at night, but how could this individual who’d ceased to submit to God now run to them for respite.

Now I have gotten used to thinking over the existential dread that always seems to be in the nooks and crannies of my brain. I’ve gotten used to telling myself to breathe and calm down when I think of death. I’ve gotten used to laughing every time that my mind directs me to my inescapable fate at unexpected moments and persuading myself that I’ll get to know death when it comes and takes me.

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