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C.

January 9, 2012

Someone died. Someone not related or close to me at all. Someone whose death neither made me sad nor angry… it just made me sigh. And contemplate. And had I not met her two weeks before her death, she would have been just another statistic to me – a 55 years old female, married with a married kid, loving husband, suffered 2 months of excruciating pain because of stomach cancer and then died as expected, right on schedule.

If the cause of your cancer is self-inflicted like too much tobacco, you don’t expect cent percent sympathy, especially if you ask for a cigar to celebrate the news. You are referred to a psychiatrist then.

She was an aunt of a friend of mine and she decided one day she wants to meet me because she found out we shared a common native place. Also, she wanted to meet as many people as possible before she moved on. Sort of a compensation for years that she wouldn’t be around to socialize. I did not want to meet her per se – not because I am afraid of people who know they are dying but because I get a bit nervous around people to whom the death does not matter. They remind me of a little bit of me once upon a time, just that this is not means of an escape for them but a forever exile.

I had to meet her anyways. On her persistence, my friend drove her to my house and I suddenly felt so guilt ridden I went to her car to meet her (Had her wheelchair bound self could come up my house, she would have). We shook hands. We exchanged pleasantries. She admonished me why I didn’t come to meet her sooner.  She was wearing a bright red scarf and a night gown which had daisies on it. Everything seemed out of place. She kept on talking about all the food joints of our native place  and all I could think of was her imminent death. She asked me all about my painting classes, said she always wanted to take up art but never did and I had to pretend she is not dying and tell her it’s never too late.

Sometimes, it just is too late.

Anyone can die anywhere anyhow. The point is to have no regrets – like her, who did enjoy her last cigarette on her death bed.

I had persistent cough for quite some time till a few days back.

I went to two doctors (I get paranoid) and both of them questioned, “Do you smoke?” When I said no, one of them insisted, “Are you sure you are telling me the truth? Are you sure you don’t smoke?” “No, I don’t. It is just the weather.”

I am yet to have my first cigarette.

I have been pushed and prodded and peer-pressured and been affectionately called a ‘loser non-user’. I have been begged and blackmailed. And through all these years, I have been tempted. There have been times when I have childishly held a pen between my fingers, sucked on it and have blown out rings of nothing. Most people I consider ‘cool’ smoke. They are the ones who live up and in the moment, who are rash and non-thinkers, who light up (in?) whichever room they walk in. I, though not afraid of death, am extremely wary of physical pain.

I know I can get cancer even if i don’t smoke ever. But somehow, whenever I am just about to be tempted enough, along comes someone who is dying of cancer or is already dead. And it makes me think of all the things I am yet to do, all the unread books and unseen TV series, all the new gadgets that are yet to come out, and I want to know I can wake up tomorrow not counting days till I have to die.

And still, if ever I get terminal cancer, I will just run away, somewhere far from all the people who will pretend I am not dying, and I will go to a beach and read and listen to music and drink sangrias all through my remaining days.

I won’t fight.

I am a coward like that.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Ch4 permalink
    January 10, 2012 5:49 am

    Omnious..Depressing..My sentiments..

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