OPINION: The Scoreboard of Life and Death

They say the thing that doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

So, maybe I can’t say I am strong yet. Because the scoreboard of my near-death experiences is: Zero. Zilch!

R. Nithya

My best friend used to go for her evening walks in the park with her next-door neighbor, a girl older to her by a year or two.

I knew almost everything my friend knew about that girl. How she had broken up with her fiancé; how she was in love with the son of her father’s childhood friend, and yet getting married to him wasn’t even an option.

I knew almost everything about her!

You know how there are people you just don’t like even when all you’ve ever known about them was through gossip. That girl was one of those people in the periphery of my life.

And then one day, I got to know that she had perhaps had the biggest tragedy of her life. Her father had died. A heart attack, they said. My friend was there the whole time, holding her hand as she watched her father’s body resting on the floor for two long hours before they took him away to the cremation ground.

I shut my eyes and tried to visualize what my friend had described of the incident. That girl along with her mother and a younger brother crying their hearts out. That girl talking to the dead body, asking it to get up and demanding “I want my dad back” to my helpless friend.

It was a Sunday afternoon when he died. The very afternoon when I had taken a long, lazy nap as soon as I got home.

The entire morning that day her father had spent walking down the street with his neighbors as usual, talking about neighborhood watch schemes. By afternoon, it was anything but usual.

How come we get to know about the coming of a possible new member in the family nine months before their arrival but death just walks in without a knock on the door?

However, would the awareness of its arrival make it any less scary? Or make us stronger?

Death is surely a scary word. It fills us with void. And it’s the uncertainty of it that daunts the most. Because it makes you think twice before snapping at your sister, because maybe, that argument would be the last conversation you’ll ever have with her. Because it makes you worry about how ungrateful you’ve been to all the work your mother does to make your life less miserable. It makes you relentlessly keep your calm when your father is losing his temper at home after a bad day at work. It makes you put up with your spouse for another day because they do the same for you. The fear of death makes us do so many things that we wouldn’t do otherwise.

But then, we do love the pleasures that the freedom of life gives us. The pleasure to snap at a bothering sister; the pleasure to vent your anger at your poor mother; the pleasure of wrestling one-on-one with your old man. The pleasure of all these things and more, without the fear of not finding your loved ones around when you come back home. The freedom to hurt your loved ones. The freedom of stretching blood ties and diamond rings into life-long habits. Habits that take away the very life in us when we give them up once death comes knocking.

Death kills everything life ever built. It kills habits. But we always prefer the path of life where we love, hate and fight our loved ones. The complete package of pleasure and habit. Death will blow away things because life built something in the first place. Death means something because life means something more.

So, the scoreboard of life and death is: Life: 1, Death: 0.

[Nithya is a contributing writer, and a postgraduate student in the Department of Political Science. She can be reached via email at: [email protected]

About R. Nithya

R. Nithya (2013) is a special correspondent for Jamia Journal. She can be reached via email at: [email protected]

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  1. the article is a lot more than wat it actualy say..i must say it is written amazingly….
    ur waor realy helpled me to see life in a new way…a way we shud always follow but v tend to forget wid the burden and hardships of life…u r so true life is some thing which cums up wid ud and bad surprises…life is a new world for me after reading ths story…i no it wil take same time foe me to figure out a real life defination..
    but thank u sooooo much u atlest make me realiz that life is not we see..wht v feel…it is a lot more….
    thank u :)

  2. beautifully written article darling, u hv discussed, such an important truthful part of life, which usually go un-noticed….its true, that how everybody tries to become their best in their end time, if ever they know abt it….
    i hope ur article will impact my life n i’ll b less troublesome for others from now on….:)
    love u bache…:)

  3. its so awsomly narrated..!! totally loved it..!!!! luking 4 more n more from u..!!!

  4. hey niths….i have read all your articles, but this one is really one-of-a-kind… understanding life in a true sense is tough coz we are so busy with our lives that we never talk to ourselves,we ignore it and therefore we ignore death as well…..i was working right now and read your article, it woke me up and made me realise that life will end and then death will take the first place….death is still 0, coz life will always be 1st.

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