Stellar Chariot

By Arun Neelakandan

On Death and Our Short Specky Life

I was about 7 years old when news arrived my paternal grandfather suddenly died of natural causes. My (step-)grandmother had rung my uncle’s place late at night — who lived nearby us and had the only telephone — and we soon received word about the sad news. I remember rubbing my eyes in weariness in the cold air, as my dad immediately left for my grandfather’s place (which was quite a distance away) on his TVS 50 moped (or by bus, I can’t quite remember). My mother and I were to catch a bus after dawn.

I didn’t shed a tear. I don’t think my father did either.

The reason why I didn’t cry is not only because my grandfather and I weren’t particularly close, but also because I was young and still sprouting leaves.

In fact, I dare say that I enjoyed the occasion (as strange and lowly as that sounds), as Indian funerals usually mean large gatherings (cricket, anyone?) and farewell feasts. I vaguely recall hitting many runs as the sun set across the dusty landscape.

The passing of my grandfather is probably the closest to death as I’ve ever been.

As I sporadically reflect on such past events, the reality of death strikes me. During those moments, I wonder how I’d cope with the real, true loss of a loved one — as I’d never really lost anyone close to me before. The thought alone sends shakes down my very core.

But as a result of these thoughts, I’ve lately come to savour and cherish those instants of joy and happiness shared with loved ones. These little seconds of pure happiness seem to pass as quickly as they’d arrived, but at the same time leave you with a feeling as though you’d experienced time in slow-motion.

Our time here on Earth is short. I hope to keep this in mind more often.

I close with some wise words by The Streets:

I came to this world with nothing and I leave with nothing but love everything else is just borrowed