Life and death

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I lost my Mom today, fourteen years back. One of my favorite memories is of her taking early morning walks in Lodhi Garden, and forcing me to come along on the weekends. I would grudgingly agree on a Sunday morning, force myself out of the bed and trudge along. As she bounced along the tracks in the garden, I tried hard to keep up with her pace, puffing and panting, wondering how a middle aged lady could beat a college kid like me at walking. But when she cooled off in between, we had the most interesting talks on a myriad of topics – life at the hospital and life at college, markets and movies, sarees and jeans, surgeries and exams, patients and teachers, and everything in between.

Today after many years, I revisited our old haunt – to relive the old days, maybe to honor Mom’s memory in some way. As I rediscovered the place, I realized there was so much beauty in it… nature at its best, a wonderment. The splendid scenery, the smell of jasmines and the chirping of birds swirling around. Life in the thick foliage, the bamboos and the bougainvilleas and the birds and squirrels. Death in the enshrined tombs and the dead leaves. Life and death swirling together in a song. An old dead tree trunk overgrown with blooming creepers and flowers. A barren tree with the sun rising in its background. The living and the dead playing games and life prospering, in spite of all odds. Everything around a display of life’s full circle. A symbol of the joy in struggle. The reason in sorrow. The calm in storm. The light in dark. And the hope in tomorrow. Saying that no matter how much the pain today, someday, things will fall into place. And life will be okay.

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The last day

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If today was the day the time ran out,

And the world this moment you had to leave,

Would you depart with your hearts full ?

Or a casket of glory would you weave ?

 

Did you laugh and dance in the rain and walk on the wet grass,

Or stroll on the beach with the sand slipping between your toes ?

Surrendered yourself in the lap of the mighty ocean,

Gazing skyward underneath a giant wave as the time froze ?

Did you soak your feet in a chilly stream,

The soles caressing the pebbles on the bed ?

Or sipped its sweet water on a parched summer afternoon,

As the sun and the earth, on a fiery June wed ?

 

If today was the day the time ran out,

And the world this moment you had to leave,

Would you depart with your hearts full ?

Or a casket of glory would you weave ?

 

Did you watch the sunlight flowing in the sky,

Running between the canopies and skirting the leaves ?

Or felt it draping you in warmth and happiness,

Flooding the joy and love up your sleeves ?

Did you listen to the air whispering in your ear,

Or to the wind singing a magical song ?

A longing tune tucked away in its wings,

From the lands far away, carried along.

 

If today was the day the time ran out,

And the world this moment you had to leave,

Would you depart with your hearts full ?

Or a casket of glory would you weave ?

 

Did you bend down to smell the flowers,

Felt their velvet against your skin ?

Glanced above at the clouds shifting spaces,

Wondering at their shapes turn and grin ?

Did you sit voiceless in a moonlit night,

And hear the stars giggle and spark ?

Sensed a cool breath rustling up your back,

The familiar touch of a departed soul in dark ?

 

If today was the day the time ran out,

And the world this moment you had to leave,

Would you depart with your hearts full ?

Or a casket of glory would you weave ?

 

Did you see the birds soaring in the evening,

And imagined how far they would fly ?

Held a butterfly or beheld a murmuration,

The entrancing dance of freedom in the sky.

Did you hold an animal in your hands,

Lay your face on theirs and realize ?

The boundless bliss and the innocent hope,

The wonderment in the world through their eyes.

 

If today was the day the time ran out,

And the world this moment you had to leave,

Would you depart with your hearts full ?

Or a casket of glory would you weave ?

If this was your last day living,

Would you leave the world with your name ?

Mounted on a plate and etched on a wall,

Remembered by all, a legacy to proclaim.

Or would you leave it living your life ?

Everyday a first and everyday the last,

And everything in it a wonder and a gift,

Each moment, the present of the future past.