"What would you do if the world were coming to an end and today is your last day? What would you do different from your regular life?"
I was faced with this poser of a question recently. No light bulb went off immediately in my mind. After all, tomorrow never dies or...would it? Would I have regrets about not doing something in this lifespan?
It is amazing how much effort it takes to consciously probe one's own mind. Sometimes thoughts simply don't wish to surface from the depths and you have to fish them out! There are a lot of things I'd do if this was my last day on earth but wouldn't do if there is a tomorrow. Why? Am I scared of the consequences? Yes. Am I scared that perhaps if I give in to my wild ideas today, it might be a disaster all around? Yes. Am I scared of doing things that would spoil my relationships with people I hold dear? Yes. These are not necessarily bad things I want to do or say. There have been times when I've wanted to say more, do more but refrained because some invisible barrier left me tongue-tied and paralyzed. Everytime I wanted to say a few caring
sentences or extend a hand of support or express empathy, a cynic would pop up in my mind and whisper, "Who needs your affection or care? Move on. Don't be a sentimental fool!" There were times when I wanted to speak up and let people know that I respected and admired them and again the cynic would play spoilsport: "Bah! They would've a thousand admirers. What difference are you going to make?"
Venky told me he'd read somewhere that the repentance for having done something heals with time; what doesn't heal is the repentance for NOT having done something. So why does having no tomorrow prompt all these reflections? Perhaps it is the freedom of not having to protect or save anything for tomorrow; perhaps it is the certainty that I don't have to live with the burden of appreciation,expectation,jibes, taunts, brands, judgements that people may choose to anoint me with. Ultimately, I think it is the knowledge that 'today' will forever be buried six foot under the earth alongside me with no spillovers to a tomorrow...
There are the 'Carpe Diem' advocates who ask us to "live life as if it were the last day". I think that is ridiculous. Psychologists say that what separates adults from children is the fact that adults can delay gratification. I work today so I can save for tomorrow and so on. Maybe children are so happy because they only care about the present!
Amongst the zillion things I can think of to do on my last day, there's one thing that is close to my heart. This might sound like a typically girlish thing to do but here it goes. I am not exactly a demonstrative person. There are very few personal things that I'd let show through to anyone in this world. I know some of my closest friends have told me that as much as we were totally comfortable with each other, sometimes even they'd like to have a verbal statement of "I
care". I don't believe too much in PDAs but I do think I owe a lot of people in my life for what I am right now. There are my parents, relatives, close friends, well wishers, ill-wishers, even passers-by in this chapter of my life who've written a word or two. Even if a syllable goes missing, I think I'd be incomplete. If this were my last day, I'd tell all my friends and people who've touched my life in one way or the other:
"Thank You for being there and making my life better!"
So why are you writing all this, you ask? A few incidents reminded me of mortality. And I thought it would really stink if I died without letting people know that I value, respect and care for them.