September 16, 2011

The Strangest Thing

What is it that draws us to a news such as the untimely death of a celebrity? Whether it's Diana or Michael Jackson or Elvis Presley and John Lennon and so many others?

Now we have the untimely, tragic death of a teenage son of a cricket star.

It must tell us something about ourselves above all. Are we attracted to these events by any chance because at some level, we somehow prove ourselves to be superior to the dead by having simply outlived them?

After all, one of our most fundamental biological traits must be the desire to stay alive for as long as possible. Whatever else it's that you want to do, you have to be alive in the first place to be able to accomplish that.

Celebrities are celebrities in the first place because we choose to idolize them. This idolization perhaps involves both admiration and envy.

We must envy celebrities as they have surely achieved success in life in any of the myriad ways in which we may choose to define the term.

Thus when celebrities die, and we outlast them, we can have a covert last laugh.

Whereas under normal circumstances, we are nobodies and our demise — whether early, on time or belated — won't be noticed much by the world at large, when celebrities expire, we suddenly see that the tables have been turned.

We can feel sorry for the family of the dead in their season of tragedy and thus be superior.

And I also think of the thoughts that must go through the minds of someone who is critically injured and is on the way to death. This question becomes even more strange and heart-wrenching and perplexing when the person involved is a teenager like the son of Azharuddin who died on this day.

Does a teenager regret that his life is ending so much before its time. Does he feel angry or pity for himself? Does he wish to remain alive so that he may grow old with a loved one? Do teenagers have a philosophical understanding of life? Do they know what they want in life?

Or may be the medications are such that the injured patient is essentially unconscious and unaware of himself. Perhaps he is beyond having awareness of concepts of life and death like we have during our waking hours. Are we not sort of temporarily dead when we are asleep? Will we regret it if without our knowing and before our time, we just happened to slip into death in our sleep? Would we know? If there's no pain or anything involved, then we won't know. So, we won't feel anything about dying. Luckily, the human body is built robustly enough that such things do not happen regularly while we are alive and well and young.

Surely medical doctors would know more about the level of consciousness in the brain of dying patients. But what a journey it must be ... to travel that path that one will travel but only once. EVER. No matter what.

Isn't like a journey into and inside an astronomical black hole and its event horizon? That's the only other journey in the universe that I can think of which is irreversible.

At any rate, at the present moment.

Man-made rituals on the other hand — such as marriage — appear so silly and trite in comparison to this ultimate one way street.

I will end as I began: I am still absolutely perplexed and mystified.

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