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     Volume 4 Issue 66 | October 7, 2005 |

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Till Death
do us the


If life has not been treating you kindly, if your family and friends have not been understanding enough, if the banana-man did not reduce the price by two bucks despite your extensive smile, if no one has been able to see the real you, relax! You are not the only one among the entire human population whose inner core has remained undiscovered during a lifetime of endeavour. The animals, they do not really care.

Those who do, in spite of your earthly deeds, they shall all say in unison when you shall have reached your rent-free abode in the hereafter, 'He was a great guy' or 'She was such a sweet person', depending on whether you fancy a Barbie or a Hulk as a grown-up.

You can further relax about the cessation of your life because 'It hath been often said, that it is not death, but dying, which is terrible.' (Henry Fielding British, novelist and playwright in <>Amelia<>) So be clinical about the clinic you choose. The rest is easy. By the time people start talking good about you, you are in fact in a state better than 'terrible', which we all know cannot be all that bad.

In fact, 'A person seldom falls sick, but the bystanders are animated with a faint hope that he will die', so wrote American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. If we only understood it is only because of their desire to say something good about him.

If you love sleeping, and most of us living do, then you may want to take the words of an English poet for granted. Percy B. Shelley wrote: 'I could lie down like a tired child, And weep away the life of care, Which I have borne and yet must bear, Till death like sleep might steal on me.'

The Holy Quran says [6:60]: 'He is the One who puts you to death during the night, and knows even the smallest of your actions during the day. He resurrects you every morning, until your life span is fulfilled, then to Him is your ultimate return…

'Every soul shall have a taste of death: and We test you by evil and by good, by way of trial. To Us must you return.' [21:35]

So it's inevitable, death and this favour that it does, this unanimous love of all those we shall leave behind, but for a short while.

Why is it that anyone who dies instantly becomes a good person and adulations begin to flow even before his burial or cremation? Are we then afraid of the helpless dead and speak well of the harmless person so that we are not fiercely haunted that very night? Are we guilty of having refused the dead a favour as a living being, and are now trying to make up with a silly grin plastered on our face? Are we now dead sure he or she will never again return and compete with us in life's meaningless (to the dead) yearnings?

It can't be that a person who we despised all his life, who we could not tolerate ever, who we hated for his gait, mate and rate, becomes a good guy over death when he (or she) lies there as lifeless as a horizontal log.

The truth is, every breathing being is a decent person, has to be, with the exception of those who have committed offences criminal, and of course he who is always whispering behind my back, and she for letting out a secret, and he who does not support my football team… till death, that is. Sadly so, but we wait till death does laughingly bare to us the beauty of a living soul.

Since every individual will become a good person when dead, why cannot we make the living world a happier place, and make this fact known to each other. Why does a man have to die to learn, sure he does, that he is appreciated? Could we not broaden our outlook and share this open secret with her when she was mingling with us, when she was being such a bother?

Let us treat each other in life as we do one another when dead. Let them know before they pass away to the hereafter that they are tolerable, that we cherish their love and friendships, that we want to spend time with them, that we share the values of life with them, and that we want to reach out to them with our outstretched hand, and hold on to theirs.

Let us begin by saying to the person who we think had been such an irritable chap 'You are a great guy' and to her who seems always such a load of nuisance, 'You are such a sweet person'. And for your sake, mean every syllable of those beautiful verses.

For that is how we would want the weeping few to remember us when tomorrow we shall be gone! And will they be able to hear us moan, 'Aw! Why did you not say that sooner?'

It is better late than never. Go on, utter the sweet phrases, and pour out the honey. Win over the world and live happily ever after, hereafter.

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