Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The list of life

Death did not come quickly enough.

It came swiftly, but not quickly enough.

He had been anticipating it for sometime. He had been thinking about it. Toying with the idea of dying. He remembered that he had once read a book called ‘The Art Of Dying’. When he picked it up from the book store, he had thought to himself, “Why would anyone write a book like this?”. And then something inside told him that it might be interesting. It might have something in it that he might want to read. To him death was a mystery and this book intrigued him. So he picked it up. And started reading it at night. After dinner. After everyone else in the house was asleep. Even death seemed to be asleep. And he read it through the night. Twice.

Then he knew he was going to die. Soon.

And he was prepared for it. He was mentally ready for it, for the book had shown him the way, the light that he needed to see. He knew when he was going to die and how. And he knew it would happen quickly.

So he lived every Friday night as if there was no tomorrow. Because he was going to die on a Saturday. He was not going to wake up from his sleep. He was going to die in his sleep. Dreaming dreams, and floating away. Because that was just the way that he wanted it to happen. And it was just the way it was destined for it to happen.

And every Friday he did things that he would never do otherwise. That he never dreamed of doing. He wanted to see life for everything that he wanted out of it. So every Friday night he lived his dreams. Some were simple and he could do it spontaneously, but some had to be planned over a period of time. So he made a list. A list of all the things that he wanted to do before he died. There were 52 in all. And another 10 in case death took its time. This was the list of life. The list that he needed to complete before he completed his life.

The list lay by his bedside table on the morning before he died. Neatly, one by one, every thing on it had been crossed out. Some of them twice.

See, death did come quickly, but not swiftly enough. So he had a second chance, he could go back and do some of his favourite things again. But he wanted to do one thing the night before he died. And he kept trying to time it correctly. But even though you knew, you couldn’t be too sure about death.

The night before he died something told him that he had overstayed his welcome. That it was time. That the time was coming. So he did what he wanted to do the most. And came back home. And crossed that item off his list for the second time. And went to sleep.

But the next morning he woke up. And wondered whether he had died. But he had not. Death had not come when it was supposed to. And he looked around and saw everything fading away. Slowly. In slow motion.

And he knew that death had come. It had not come quickly enough but it had come swiftly.

And ‘The Art Of Dying’ lay by his bedside, completed for the second time since he read it twice that night. And it was discovered beside him, almost new, like his death.

But under the book, was a complete manuscript and it began with the last line of the book, “I can now reply: I rewrote your last manuscript, the one that was lost, from memory.”



The line “I can now reply: I rewrote your last manuscript, the one that was lost, from memory.” has been used from Githa Hariharan’s ‘The Art Of Dying’.


29 comments:

PoeticMermaid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
PoeticMermaid said...

I am at a loss for words. There is so much we lose everyday, waiting. This character was lucky to have a forewarning. Most put off the enjoyable things in life due to work or time constraints, till it’s too late. As time passes, they are aging mentally, forgetting their childlike wonder at the simple things.

To be able to rewrite one's life; what a blessing that is...it’s NEVER to late

Aradhita said...

Very intimidating...

Free Spirit said...

To tell your story as it unfolds is one of the greatest things.

esclava said...

I really wish I could comment on this ..what I want to.
I will say, that I myself learned early on to live everyday like its Friday. I wish that others would too.

Pincushion said...

...and I asked myself what I would like to do if death came right now, and the answer that I tried to give honestly to myself, has left me very satisfied. Thank god.

Thank you for prodding me on by writing this.

Anonymous said...

I wish I would stop postponing stuff and I hope that the most important things to me will be done before I die. I hate death, hate talking about it. It scares me!

Miss Qt
miss-qt.com

Akshay said...

Well invisioned, I see death as a new begining.May be the protaganist is starting anew, being born again or dying yet again.Doing so both ways is an art.

. : A : . said...

PoeticMermaid - I agree with you. We tend to put off too much and life must be lived for the moment.

Aradhita, Free Spirit - Thanks.

esclava - Isn't it a great feeling?

Pincushion - You're welcome. I am glad it left you satisfied.

Miss Qt - Hope your 'important' things get done soon!

Akshay - Thanks. Yes, death is a new beginning. Good perspective.

El Diabl020 said...

Hi, First time here..
:) .. Really liked what u have written.. I havwe to be honest... I don't so much read blogs, as skim through them. ... I read this one though.. It wasn't just what u wrote about.. but the way u wrote it.. Sucked me into reading it..all the way.
...u'know.. I think I'm going to try that.. Living each day to its fullest.. Well.. atleast once a week..
Get my hands on that book...

la devil said...

simply luved the way u wrote the post!
u can't live by the past, u can't foretell the future, all u can do is live today. so u might as well live it to the fullest. who knows there might actually be no tomorrow.

Geetanjali said...

Chilling thoughts, but yet so achingly true. Amazing how we are so scared of death, but despite the fear of that day creeping up on us to take us by surprise, we value life so little and take everything so much for granted!

erratica said...

Vague, intimidating yet interesting enough to go thru the whole post.

Kraz Arkin said...

Found my way here by clicking the next blog button on mine. Its the first time its ever led me to any place interesting. Nice place you have here. Interesting writing. I like it.

. : A : . said...

El Diabl020 - Thanks for dropping by and for your comment. Glad you liked it.

la devil - Thanks. True, what you say.

Geetanjali - Maybe it is reluctance more than fear?

erratica - Thanks.

Kraz - I have yet to run into an interesting place by doing that. Most of the time it took me to 'spamblogs', so I sort of gave up. Will drop by your blog now!

Geetanjali said...

::A:: - Hmm...quite right there - it's more of reluctance than fear!
You know I've also never come up with decent blogs by clicking on "Next Blog" - just the most wierd blogs ever...find new blogs through blogrolls of old blog-buddies! And has that proved to be a good way! :-)

_Soulless_ said...

this reminds me of lines from Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazarus":

Dying
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.


thank you for the journey your words lead me to. such a familiar path...

i will be back. ;) i've included your link in my list of clouds.

Prat said...

Hi, beautiful, the way you've put words on the voiceless, invisible string.
Will set off this lazy summer afternoon to get a copy, and will also add you to my blog.

Ubermensch said...

i can only repeat one of my earlier comments....u push words into between ticks of a clock

Ash said...

Wandered in to your blog and have been left speechless by the beauty of your writing. Its been a while since Ive been enticed enough to read through a bloggers old posts too.
You have a beautiful sense of imagery and a mind-blowing style of writing. And this isnt empty praise !
I will definitely be around, regularly reading your posts... but I may not be able to comment, because your kind of writing really affects me, leaving me at a loff for words.
Good luck, and keep up the good work :)

El Diabl020 said...

I was thhinkin of leaving a wise ass comment..
But I'm watching Cartoon Networkl..

Oh.. Waityaminut... Animax..
GITS SAC..
woohooo,...

manababies said...

Like the previous commenter 'kraz', I came upon this blog by accident too, by clicking on the 'Next Blog' button. And what a great find!

Whether or not we know what day will be our last, we should live each day as if it will be. Easier said than done, of course. But I think one's perspective on things truly does change if given only a certain amount of time to live. The irony is that we're all in that same boat.

. : A : . said...

Geetanjali - Yes, blogrolls of others is a very good way. Much more effective than any other way that I have seen to date.

the_soulless - Thanks for your comment and the link. Look forward to seeing you around.

Prat - Thanks. Let me know whether you liked the book. See you around.

Ubermensch - :-) Thanks.

Ash - Thanks. You are too flattering! Will drop by your blog soon. Look forward to having you back at my blog (comments or not). :-)

El Diabl020 - What made you change your mind?

superMANA! - Thanks. I did not know that you too came by using the "next blog" button. Agree with what you say.

Cori said...

I haven't been able to get into your site! Darn blogger! But I am finally here.... wonderful post A!!!

. : A : . said...

Cori - Thanks. I didn't know the site was down too. I thought there was only a problem with the comments.

Elixir said...

made me ask if i death did come...wud i b happy and satisfied 2 die
im glad i read ur post. i love my life.and no regrets so far!!!

came thru high recommendations of la devil. liked it here

. : A : . said...

Elixir - Having no regrets is a great thing. Glad you dropped by and liked what you saw. Look forward to seeing you again.

la devil - Thanks for the recommendation! :-)

sneha said...

i lov this.

. : A : . said...

sneha - Glad you enjoyed it!