" I still have a long way to live- three whole streets!"
The day I realised that the local barbershop wallah has lost interest in me as a prospective customer has been the turning point.And of late, I 've been hearing in the "golden classic" section of radio and TV more songs which were hot hits during my school / college days.
And slowly it dawns on me that in a couple of years or so, I'll be 40! The thrill of the magic figure was as swiftly overshadowed by the ever increasing worry lines on my fore head and later the rising tremors of panic deep down inside.
For some one who has lost any hopes of after life (heaven or hell - whatever is available) the panic- in-the- belly syndrome assumes a more deadly (no pun intended) posture.
Soon, I ll be history. Worse, I ll be another forgotten dust particle- leftover of earthworms. It could happen tomorrow, or the day after, just as it could have happened any particular day of the past 30+ years. But now the figure 40 ushers in a sense of urgent definitude to the inevitable.
I havent seen many of the good movies yet. More so, I will never get to KNOW of the movies that will be made after I die. Infinite number of trivialities that I would miss ! And much more...
It could be the far fetched paranoid thoughts of an idle mind, but then it is also true that none of us would be lucky (?) enough to keep body and soul together for another term as we have managed to do so far.
Standing at the cross roads, realizing that life is so short , and more than half (?) of it is already spent, the faint chill spreading across the veins obliterates , albeit momentarily all the present day priorities like the shifting sands of desert storm and presents you with a totally different picture of the past, the present and more significantly, of the (uncertainly limited) future.
Coincidentally , one of those days while I was tinkering with such gory ideas, (or because of it?) I managed to slip down the stairs and get my leg fractured and encased in plaster cast. Temporarily immobilized and suddenly let off the grip of nerve wrecking day to day deadlines of contracting business, I found time to go back to my old flame.
Thats when, from the dust laden bookshelf , among others, Fyodor Dostoyevsky came up with his "IDIOT". In the early portions of the novel written more than a century ago, he talks of a man being "driven through the town to the place of (his) execution".
"I suppose he must have been thinking all the time, I still have a long way to live - three whole streets; there's this street, then another one, and then yet another, with the baker's shop on the right hand side - there's quite a lot of time before we reach the baker's!"
Hope? In the face of death?
Only for those who suitably select the yardstick with which to measure their lives.