On Death, Fear and Mrityunjay – II

Continuing from where I left off in the last post. (Truncated to shorten length…)
Time dilated for a few days when my dida passed away. But I had an apparently quick recovery as I readied myself for Kanpur, declaring myself to be a son of the world, warrior of the nation, bearer of the scholarly torch etc etc. 
An interesting side story that it inspired was to prompt me to read up my family history. I had talked to my parents about their lives, which were eventful enough to fill a novel, and I planned to pen it. I told me mother to write down her experiences, to pass time, for she is truly desperately alone with me not close by and father off to work. She probably won’t. I dug up a document tracing the father’s side of my family right back to the first Kulin Brahmins who settled in Chattol of Gangetic Bengal as teachers. I foraged for old photographs, of my grandmother with her son-in-law-to-be (fyi, my father), my grandfather who reportedly shared my love of books and languages, poring over an Urdu text, my mother on top of a horse in Shimla.
Somewhat somewhere however, I still had that nagging feeling of grief. I wanted to overcome that but couldn’t. In fact, I was partially relieved to be back to Oasis-e-Kanpur. I would be involved in so much back here that I can have peace in the hullaballoo. I planned to write a bit of my experiences to let off the load a bit, but somehow didn’t (till now)

But I was rudely jolted again in Oasis-e-Kanpur. My alma mater is not having a good spate of luck at all. On the very first day of the new year, I received information of someone of my batch passing away. I did not know him, but the information painstakingly brought back the slightest of memories – wasn’t he that guy I had seen in MSE freshers, that guy who asked all those questions to Wanare Sir on Moodle? So he is no more. I felt scared again. Less so for this untimely demise of a relatively unknown person, but still a fellow student nonetheless. But for a very small amount of time. I worried more for my mother’s concern once she gets to know of this. I resumed life.

And then He struck again. A professor. Untimely again. I was worried. Scientific though I may claim to be, I felt an irrational fear that an evil pall is hanging over my institute, my Oasis-e-Kanpur. Even more so, over a certain department. I tried a lot to philosophize and romanticize Death. I was at peace on hearing the songs of Rabindranath and reading the writings in the Gita. But I couldn’t remain aloof any more. I could not reach the ideal of জীবন মৃত্যু পায়ের ভৃত্য চিত্ত ভাবনাহীন (Life and Death are but your servants, loitering at your feet, as your mind remains unfazed…)

Whenever someone joked about Him any more, I felt scared. I stopped my bhais once from joking once. Another time, I jutted in on the joke, and I felt extremely bad afterwards. I felt people couldn’t idunderstand my fear sometimes and, echoing George Orwell and later Randy Pausch – ‘perhaps one ds not wish to be loved so much as to be understood’. (Randy Pausch was a computer scientist who was terminally ill and gave a ‘last lecture’ that was beautiful and captured a lot of inspirational thoughts – link here : The Last Lecture )

But then at times, I forgot all these complications and I thank the joy of academics, and TA projects and hot discussions and classical music (and Rahul Gandhi 😛 ) for that. Thankfully, these times form an overwhelming majority. And I am slowly regaining my spiritual and philosophical integrity that had taken a beating.

One last thing. I re-experienced most of the emotions I have described while writing. When I started typing, trying to form a rough sketch, the words which came seemed to me to be somewhat of an exaggeration. But they came out almost spontaneously while I typed. Again when I reread them, I scoffed thinking with my by-then-normal mind, that it IS a bit exaggerated. But isn’t language spontaneous? Then I am certainly deceiving myself – either the blog-me is deceiving the real-me or the other way round. Anyways, this post has finally channeled off some almost-saturating thoughts to be filled by academic matters and the upcoming quizzes. I can now concentrate on trying to be a Mrityunjay, start romanticizing again and make the world proud! 😛

Thank God for science and scientific thought.. It keeps out the ‘unnecessary false-belief, imaginary’ thought that humans are capable of (according to ENG124…)


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