Monday, 28 April 2008

A Strange Thing

“When you stare into the eye of Death, you don’t see death”, these were the words that besieged her mind as she drove her dilapidated Ambassador back home. But of course she was exaggerating, Death wasn't at her threshold it was merely at her garden fence; as per the four oncologists she had met with, she had six months to live if she went without treatment.
In her minds eye, her months were mapped out in accordance with her future physical condition. She knew she would not tell her family of her illness for another four months. For she also knew that if she revealed it to them earlier, they would manage to persuade her into wearing a wig despite her resolve to live and die a little sooner rather than to live a life in death and wait longer.

In compliance with her well-manufactured plans, she would be spending the next month in the Himalayas heading for Everest Base Camp. This dream of conquering Base Camp had been one she had shared with her father. She even remembered the exact moment they had conjured it- she had been spending the winter holidays with her family in Dehradun’s frost. As father and daughter sat in front of a toasty, crackling fire they read the evening paper and sipped scalding cocoa. On chancing upon an article that spoke of a climbers success on Everest, he revealed to the ten year old his adolescent yearning to breathe in the air at Base Camp. Right then the two decided that once she turned twenty-one, together they would realize his hopes.
Her mother had thought it was a load if trite but they had made elaborate, intricate plans and fully intended on seeing them through. However a year ago, in a four way pile up her father had met his unfortunate end. And along with this loss, the dream had dimmed in the light if insignificance. But now, on being confronted with her own death, she was determined to go through with their plans, only a year later than previously devised. She could visualize herself sighing the frigid, crisp air. And then taking photographs that would help fill the album that would be her parting gift to her mother.
After returning from the Himalayas she would head for The Four Seasons. She’d live in the world of the opulent for as long as her scant savings would support. And in the resort she would take in every conceivable luxury - from room service to spas - after the long arduous trek (always having lived in extremes, moderation had seemed far too mundane to her).
When she would near the end, she decided she would settle old scores, pay off debts, write her will and make her funerary arrangements for she would never forget the turmoil her mother went through the previous year.

Taking the final turn into the lane whose every nook she knew, she continued to awe at the absurdity of Death. Thinking of the inevitable, she saw not her burial site six feet under but the funeral itself: the people who would attend it, how they would speak of her, her eulogy and all the rest. It all eluded her for even as shadows faced her, she saw everything but Darkness.


Bharat Iyer said...

“When you stare into the eye of Death, you don’t see death”

I like that line. Holds the reader's attention.

It's well written but somehow it feels a bit like something out of Reader's Digest. :/

Oh and avoid brackets if you can. They look amateurish and whatever you said in the brackets could have easily fitted into the actual narrative.

Nikita said...

Hmm. ok.
*sighs* Relieved. Told you, thought it was far worse... and that's saying quite a bit since you mentioned Reader's Digest. :/

Anonymous said...

As a random person, I'll say I liked it. Especially this line - "they would manage to persuade her into wearing a wig despite her resolve to live and die a little sooner rather than to live a life in death and wait longer."

Nikita said...


Radhika said...

lovely..captures everything :)
you know why i would like it..anyway, if you are a 'cynical' idealist,toh main kya hoongi??

L@$H@ said...

hmmm...i sat thiking fr quite a while after i read left me speechless actually.

very nice read...