Thursday, September 22, 2011

Take it Easy my Friend, You Don’t Matter So Much!

I remember visiting a colleague of mine, who was to undergo a surgery for some complication related to her heart.  She had only joined our office just about a year back, on compassionate grounds, after her husband died while in service.  Though I was many years younger to her in age, since I was the one who taught her the first steps in the office, we shared a very good rapport. 

When she developed the complication and was advised by her doctors to undergo immediate surgery, she was devastated. I went to visit her at home. When I met her she was very much tensed and in tears.  Doctors had suggested the surgery for the following week and she was really worried about its outcome.

When I saw her crying, I didn’t know what to say.  But then it is better to speak from the heart, when you don’t know what to do.  I did precisely that.... I asked her as to what is the worst that she think can happen to her. She promptly replied she might die.  She said she is not worried about her own death but of the future of her three unmarried daughters.  She was willing to take the risk and avoid the surgery so that she can live for sure, till at least one of her daughters got married. 

Then I asked her, “Did you ever consider what would happen to you and you children when you husband was alive and what were your thoughts when he died?” She said she was scared at that time about their very survival, without her husband, but she somehow managed their life to this stage.  Then I told her, “When your husband died your children were much younger and you all were in need of each other.  But now, they are relatively grown up and can take care of themselves.  As for their marriage- that too will happen as per their destiny irrespective of you are dead or alive. So instead of worrying about the future, go ahead and do what is necessary to do today” (While I am not a believer in fate, destiny etc, sometimes such words come handy for convincing people).

For the first time since she fell ill, my words forced her to deal with the issue of her possible death and its consequences openly.  She spoke about it; rather confronted it.  To cut the story short, she underwent the surgery in a much more relaxed mood, survived it and continued to work for many years before she retired.  Close to a decade later, she is now visiting her elder daughter’s family in Europe. 

Thereafter, many a times she praised me for the talk on that day. She says everyone else only sympathised with her situation and that in turn made her feel worse.   But the talk with me made her see the worst, then relax and be ready to face whatever was in store for her. 

I often think that 90% of our tensions and problems are of our own creation- a result of taking our life rather too seriously!

Come to think of it... what are we?  How big is our role in the overall scheme of things?  If I die today, how much impact will that make on my family or the society?  OK, I am too insignificant you say?  I agree and I am thankful for that.  But, then let us consider more significant people who lived in this world and then died. 

Is it true that like one of our former Prime Ministers infamously spoke, “When a giant tree falls, earth below shakes”?  I do not think so... This earth has much more resilience than we give credit for (hasn’t it survived abuse by generations after generations of cruel and selfish human beings?).  It was not the fall of giant tree that shook the earth, but the deliberate actions of unscrupulous human beings who arrogated the power of retaliation and revenge on to themselves!

Each time a great personality, real or propped up, dies we hear people speaking about the unfathomable loss to nation/humanity etc.    If we consider all those cries for all the great but dead people, humanity should have closed its shop long back, from the accumulated losses.  But the world moves on- with or without the human induced shakings of earth. 

One of my all time favourite quotes says it all “Graveyards are full of those who thought they are indispensable”.  How true...

If there is anything dead sure in the life a person that is the death. Yet we worry about it so much.  Well, we might say that we are worried not about the death itself but its effect on the family etc.  While I don’t deny that there could be some adverse effect on the immediate family, it wouldn’t stop the world even for them.  Memories fade, life picks up.

In my opinion, we can only be happy and contended when we stop taking our life and ourselves seriously.  We must understand the bottom-line; dead and gone.  With our death, this universe ceases to exist for us.  What happens to anyone or anything after that is not something that we can control and therefore need to worry about. 

I am not suggesting that one should not plan and make provisions / arrangements for family etc, for the post-death scenario.  What I suggest is that we stop worrying about that and just do what is necessary (like getting some insurance?) and continue to enjoy one’s life. 

Leave the ultimate loss- death, aside. Let us look at the other things that keep us worried.  Career, wealth, status, children- there are many things that we worry about.  But more often than not, it is the future of these things and not the present that we are worried about.  In the process, we even forget as to how we can manage our present, so as to make the future brighter. 

We forget that happiness is a state of our mind than a result of any external factor.  No career, no amount of wealth or no successful children can make you happy.  It is only you who can make you happy.  But do you have the time to even consider that, while struggling to chase so many external factors that you think will bring you happiness?

The image that you create for yourself or the image that others create about you- none of these matter in the final analysis.  One more promotion or some more money in the bank is not going to make much difference in your happiness quotient.  By all means go for them, but not as a struggle.  Enjoy the process as in, say playing a computer game?  If you can’t enjoy it then better give it up... there is no point in mere struggle.

Take the life easy... you don’t matter so much as you think... you are just one among the billions and billions who lived (and died) in this world... and we don’t even know how many such worlds are out there in the universe.... so, you carry no burden for this universe... stop acting like that house lizard who thinks he is carrying the burden of roof...just go ahead and make the most of this one and only life that you have got.... only make sure that you don’t cause any damage to the world, through your actions!


  1. On a lighter note : if i die, my dad will be so relieved, the headache of getting a daughter married wont be there !

    one of my closest friends in college, used to tell me, that whatever happens, the show must go on!

    and the truth is the show does go on!

    death is an eventuality, it is our lack of knowledge of what happens after death, that makes us fear it.

    my dad recently had a facial nerve palsy. being a family of doctors, we all thought that the palsy is a harbinger of a stroke, and we got an array of investigations done, before going in for an MRI my dad called me aside and told me, to be strong, and that i had to take care of my mother and younger sister.

    fear of death shrouded all of us,it was a bad half an hour wait till the MRI was over.

    thankfully by gods grace, he just had a very severe sinusitis, which compressed his facial nerve, there was no bleed in the brain, no stroke,

    but it is now, after that episode that my dad started living life, otherwise it was all work and no time for games

    now he does look like Silvester Stallone,with a slight deviation in his lips and all.. but he finds time to hug us,listen to music and watch movies with us, and now yesterday i coaxed him to come to the gym with me.

    so it was a frightful situation, a loss of his life and health that made him realize the larger picture of life and now he has started to seize every moment and be happy!

  2. Death in our world is smthg that one has to 'deal with'. Have always wondered why so, given its *the* one certainty of our existence:)

    As kids nobody tells us nothing about Death, in fact, we, as kids, were always protected from such happenings. The 1st death I ever witnessed, was as an adult at 25 - I was devastated! Cant help but wonder, if we were taught about Death in our growing years, as something natural and normal, would one have been a bit better prepared for the final conclusion...

  3. @Abu Thank you so much :)

    @Mee Agree with you. We need to change our attitude towards death and will let us take on the life in a more relaxed manner. I hop e you have noticed that this post is rather a continuation of the theme of your latest blog :-)

    @runawaydoc As usual, you have quoted a real life experience to give credence to my thoughts. btw, even my father has discovered the art of living (not the Sri Sri variety) quite late in his life..

    Thank you all for the comments.. in the final analysis it is all about adding more life to years than adding more years to our life!!

  4. Death..I must say..I fear a lot..and am being very frank about it. It is not that I fear my own death per se..and in a sense it is so too..coz whenever I think about Death an eventual reality and an inevitable one..I imagine myself as a dead body lying all cold and lifeless and now for the saddest part ..My beloved ones , my hubby , my son, my parents, all my near and dear friends howling crying weeping touching me embracing my lifeless body..the pain ..heavy hearted melancholy,mournful cries and inspite of me being around the body am unable to touch and console them..I am just not able to touch and embrace my loved does it feel..such thoughts keep haunting me sometimes even in my dreams..This is the main reason behind my fearing this part of Life and the end of it..

    Recently I witnessed a death of a 23 year old boy Trideep by name ..who studied very well all his life..started living his dreams..making everyone around him very happy with his charm and personality and behaviour and there he was a lifeless deadbody in front of me with burn injuries on his body and face..Who thought a young boy who was laughing aloud with his friends just an hour before would be no more..It caused great agony in my mind and what to say about his parents and siblings..Aww,,it was too much to bear..the howling weeping cries still resound in my ears .. making me feel the fear of death watching the agony of the living ones left behind.

    And you say..everybody comes out of it..but then the void remains there is easy to say that It is only the body gone and the Soul is there around ..but the fact remains that The person will never be around you forever..

    As you said Life moves on .. Memories are there etched deep in our hearts of our beloved ones who are no more physically present in our Life..

    I too believe that it is just ONE Life we have and we must make the best use of it by possessing Joie-de-vivre..Immense delight in being alive today, must always have an effervescent keenness for all the daily activities that we Human Beings can indulge in..Never ever to be moody depressed bored or apathetic and on the contrary be Full of Sparkle and have a good Quality time with whatever Life we have been allowed on this earth..

    Something more..I always get this recurring dream..that I am flying high towards a Snow Clad at great peace..full of joy..flapping my wings gently..once I reach there .. I Look down and gaze lovingly at my loved ones and smile and wave..but they dont seem to notice me..Still I am a HAPPY and Contented SOUL..

    This dream does alleviate my fear for Death..but then cant face the death of people around or whom I know..That is a Fact..

    Thank you for this wonderful Post..Am feeling very happy after typing out my feelings here :)
    Fantastic !!!

    Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.
    ~ William Shakespeare

  5. @Bindu
    Thank you for the nice addition.. You gave the other perspective as far as death is concerned... honest and cute perspective...

    These comments are what make me write more and they really widens my perspectives!

  6. Should make a point to read this post everyday for the rest of my life! :)