What if you die tomorrow?

What if you are going to die tomorrow? Will you still sulk in front of the television and watch AMERICAN IDOL? Will you still walk around as if all that happens around doesn't concern you at all? Or will you call up that friend from school whom you never talked to after the fight, and try one last time to convince how 'undertaker' is so much more awesome than 'Hulk Hogan'? Will you go meet your college sweetheart who is happily married to a millionaire, with two kids, and tell her for the first time, how much you loved her? For each his own... but it is a topic that can rattle quite a hornet's nest. That is probably why the old and wise tell us often, not to think of death and live our life.

Death being the only certain reality, I think it is better to get in terms with it than pushing it aside like that trip to the dentist. A good first step would be to get comfortable with the concept itself. Why are we afraid of death even though we all know that it is inevitable? If we board a bus, it has to reach the destination and it will. It is the uncertainty of death that is the worrying factor I feel.. it arrives like a thief, as the scriptures put it. But none of us lose our sleep expecting a robber every other night... do we? Here is Epicurus' take on death - 'When we exist death is not, and when death exists we are not. All sensation and consciousness ends with death and therefore in death there is neither pleasure nor pain. The fear of death arises from the false belief that in death there is awareness.' The Epicurians used to write on their tomb stones "I was not; I have been; I am not; I do not mind."

I think there are two worrying aspects about death. One is your concern about the effect of your death on the people around you. It might sound so genuine in fact, but I doubt. Obviously people will be affected if you are leaving behind a bunch of debtors or a pack of retarded kids. Otherwise I have a feeling that people would be fine and alright, the next Friday onwards. It is just vanity to think that the world is going to mourn you at least till the first anniversary. Your absence is not going to create a BIG gap in the society unless you were the local milkman... the earth used to rotate precisely the same number of times even before your birth! Obviously you can ease the transition by leaving details of your insurance and bank accounts on the table itself, where it is readily visible, saving people the pain of searching through your dirty laundry. But if your grand plan is to hide it inside the journal, precisely in the page where you have detailed your escapades with that mystery lady, that's fine too for the shock value. Just don't expect that they are going to make a movie out of it.. haven't you already seen 'The Bridges of Madison County'?

The second concern goes something like this - "If I had more time, I could have, should have, would have....". Have you noticed that people generally start this sentence, but never complete it. It might me emotionally overwhelming for some to complete it, but trust me, in most cases they just don't know what they would have, should have or could have done. Nevertheless, it is a good point; given 200 years even I might invent a thing or two - at least something better than Viagra to stop pissing on my feet after 70. Irrespective of the time of death, there will always be some unfinished business, nobody plans things precisely for 78 years. And the best part is, nobody really cares whether you had some fantabulous plans which you could not execute because you kicked the bucket. Don't worry that the world will miss all the benefits your innovation could have brought in, dozens of Einsteins and Darwins have died prematurely from time immemorial.

So in short, death is something you aren't conscious about and the rest of the world doesn't really care about. So why all the fuss? Instead, we should do something interesting like... eh... trying to lick our elbow! (I bet you can never do it!)

Life is pleasant, death is peaceful, It's the transition that's troublesome - Unknown

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