Dead.. & Back

Days and nights, nights and days, can always be counted. Numbered, and then filed as weeks, months and years. But time is infinite, isn’t it? Or that was what I had gathered from my 40 years of an excruciatingly tedious life. I had had experiences which rendered the impression, that even though momentarily, time did (almost) freeze at times. Moments like the first goal I ever scored, when I saw my wife walking down the aisle or when my daughter was put in my hands for the first time. At other times, time had me fooled by creating a delusion of fleeting by, like summer holidays, college days and so on. Well yes.. life has its moments. Many of them I had lived through, but to think of it.. there were yet many more to come.. or so I thought.
So I was saying, days and nights can always be reckoned, unless…
Unless.. it was during that brief span of time when I had supposed myself to be dead. Since I didn’t really have any prior experience in this regard, I had assumed that the vast chilliness that had enveloped me, was Death. The dry coldness, the floating view of myself from above, the engulfing darkness and all that introspection.. what can I say, but that I was fooled. I must admit, at first I was pretty disappointed by death’s representation before me. What about the bright white light?.. The life flashing by your eyes?.. The satisfaction of dying a man armed with the ultimate wisdom? I wasn’t even briefed if the rosy gardens of heaven or the dark alleys of hell were going to be my destination.. Or was all that just a false and theatrical manifestation of Death.
I was a little angered, but more deceived. All our lives we live in the fear of meeting its end, expecting it to be some sort of a major showdown, like the curtains falling at the conclusion of a great show. And here it was, like suddenly the lights went out and the show ended without anyone noticing.. anything but extraordinary.
With time, the feeling had started to sink in and eventually I was starting to resign to my fate. What was still perplexing was that even after being dead, I couldn’t really comprehend what being dead exactly meant. From what I had believed, allegedly being dead meant becoming numb. Wasn’t it supposed to be the great escape from every dilemma? And I had expected that at last when I would be on my deathbed, enlightenment would dawn upon me and I would gain the secret key to unlock the secrets of life and death.
But then, in this whole “being dead” episode, not much had turned out as per my expectations. Alas! Everything was the epitome of disappointment. Perhaps being dead just meant being frozen and retrospection of your life.. for like forever. So alright.. if that’s what Life.. err.. Death had to offer, then Retrospection it was.
My early recollections were pretty vague, so were my last memories. The last thing that I could recall was me and Sam in my car, having a heated row, swirling out of the control and heading for the bridge wall. ..Damn..
Now wait.. a little flashback. Sam.. wasn’t a male colleague of mine, at least the male part wasn’t true. She wasn’t the wife I had mentioned earlier either. So yeah your assessment is pretty much along the right lines. She was a rather hot.. err.. attractive female colleague of mine. And the argument wasn’t about work. We were sort of… err.. having an affair. I had contemplated it to be reasonably safe, just a fling. After all she was married too. Or so I thought.. until her husband stipulated a divorce and she wanted me to sabotage my marriage too. ..Damn.. her!! If it wasn’t for her.. I would still have been very much alive with Sarah and my Emma.. yeah that’s the wife and the daughter.
In retrospection, I wasn’t too astonished either. I had my share of vices. I loved Sarah and Emma with all my heart, but in my quest for life’s zest, I had always envisaged them as an impediment rather than my support system, and they had always taken a backseat. Fun and money craft such an alluring maze together, that I had willingly lost myself and led myself into oblivion to everything else. Perhaps this was my eye opener… Alas! Too late… I wondered how Sarah and Emma would take my demise. Perhaps they wouldn’t have missed me anymore than when I was living and relishing my life somewhere else.
A sudden bolt, at the end of what seemed like eternity, sent lightening flowing through my veins. A burning heat spread across my body. The coldness and numbness were swapped by a scorching heat and endemic pangs of pain. But amidst all that, I heard something which sounded like Mozart’s last symphony, something I had garnered no hope of banging on my ear drums ever again. It was the stealthy lub-dup of a heart, hopefully, my own. Soon every other sound faded out, and all I could hear was the pounding of my heart. My eyes flickered, and whoa.. lights, bright lights, too many of them, flooding my vision… I couldn’t make out anything. Then I heard a second noise, which made my heart skip its new found beat. It was Emma meekly calling me out in a murmur. My vision cleared and I laid sight upon her adorable face.
But there was something out of place. Sarah was nowhere to be seen. Did she find out about my secret liaison? Did she leave me? In that fraction of a second, I considered a million possibilities in my mind. And then the doctor said, “Your wife is in the other room. The internal trauma had damaged your liver. We grafted a part of your wife’s liver into you. She is doing fine now.”
I didn’t feel as proud as I should have, because in my heart I knew I didn’t deserve this. There was a speck of gratitude, a tonne of self loathing, but the focal reaction that shrouded everything else was relief.. Thank God she didn’t know.. (Yes.. the ungrateful self-indulged bastard that I was). I passed out…
Next morning I awoke with both Sarah and Emma by my side. We didn’t speak much.. I couldn’t speak much actually. But in my head, I had pledged to myself that I would leave no stone unturned to make up for the lost time, my fallacies and all the atrocities I had bestowed upon my family. I won’t squander this second chance I had been granted by fate.
The nurse handed me the newspaper.  As I turned the page, Sam stared back at me and the headlines read, “Samantha Nelson meets untimely death as car crashes on the bridge.” I could feel my colour fleeing.. My guilt smacking me hard across my discoloured face…
Sarah pressed my arm, looked into my eyes and whispered in my ears, “Don’t try to look at the rear view mirror. Look right ahead through the windshield.” Her words calmed my nerves, but I caught a glimpse of the pain in her eyes that said, “I know. I had always known.”

1 Opinions:

buckingfastard said...

lovely and vivid description and a beautiful writeup about time and passage of time...two of my favorite phenomenon..!!

i dunno if u follow bengali movies...but if u do, watch this movie "dosar" by rituparno is kind of a sequel to ur story...u might like it

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