Yesterday, I heard very sorry news that my friend’s father passed away. I felt sorry and sad. Sad because it was an early death for any person. He was barely close to 60 years of age and was actually getting well from a heart problem. I felt sorry for my friend because I can imagine what it might mean to lose a father forever. What it might mean to see his mother lose a companion, what it might mean not to have anyone to call “dad”. The other realities of household, finances (even if one is not dependent financially on their parent’s money), responsibilities and the change of relationships also come along with the reality of death.
I can imagine all of this, as I have imagined a million times, if and when the incident occurs, and either of my parents passes, things will change.
The ironic part is, my imagination of a future reality troubles me more than my friend’s actual reality. It has happened to him. It hasn’t yet happened to me. Yet, I feel terrified at the prospect of my reality. Why?
Because (i am asking out loud) his father was not connected to me? The death of his father has no impact on me? Whereas anything happening on my side of the world would have a greater impact on me? Since it isn’t a real threat of any kind, I don’t feel pain? What could be the reason(s)?
I remember, crying when Rituporno Ghosh (Bengali film director) had passed away. I almost did nothing for a day; i had cried in the kitchen while making tea and had even written a poem about being very angry at him. His death was an untimely one too. He was just 49 years old when he passed away. I had watched Rituporno Ghosh’s films over and over again and seen him act in many movies and heard him talk about the discipline of writing in interviews. In many wildest dreams, I wanted to meet him. As a writer may be, taking a script up to him or as even as an interviewer so that i could dig into his brains some more. His death meant many things, beautiful scripts, films and ideas that were to come from him won’t. The way he envisioned his world and how we felt being a part of it, will never happen anymore. That was the pain, the pain of a great thinker, filmmaker lost and how it meant we stood losing something beautiful too.
When Sridevi died, it was a countrywide shock. And everyone felt it. Lot of them hyped it, that’s true. I felt sad for two reasons. Sridevi was a great actress which goes without saying. Secondly, she had begun her second innings which promised the audience great films of her liking and vision. It would have been lovely to see her speak her mind through films like like Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts have done.
I remember that i felt sad for people who have been connected with me in anyway. A boss who had been kind to me, when he passed away, brought pain. A person teacher, whom I had known for a brief moment, when she passed away, it was painful to know. Yet these deaths were not life-changing in any way.
They don’t make me sit and ask, what can I do differently today to make it a different life. Or do they?
I guess, as humans, we have become pretty good at knowing and selecting the kind of pain we want to bother ourselves with. We feel pretty disturbed at our difficulties and not so much at the problems of others. That is why may be, people dying in distant geographies due to war and injustice, people in pain in our neighborhood, people in distress in our distant families do not effect us as much.While some of it (i am assuming here) is survival instinct to keep our heads above the water, could it also be that we have grown immune to others’ problems? Or maybe we (humans) have to be taught to empathise? It isn’t as natural a phenomenon as it is thought out to be?
Because a severe pain as the death of a loved one is bound to do something to us. It must change us in some way for good or for worse. That is not the pain we want to feel every day.