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Monday, January 11, 2010

THE END

When I left Australia I threw a big black GOODBYE behind me and flung myself forth into my chosen homeland.

Truth is, I didn’t do so badly. Found a cushy job, got married, had kids…and yet, upon hitting forty my two best friends died. And there’s nothing like being 40 and having two friends die of terminal cancer that drives home the fact that life will stop being an upward spiral and that inevitably we will die.

So at 40 I started to look back to seek the meaning of all I had experienced. After all, some day we will die and yet life will go on as before without the possibility of knowing what will happen to ones family and loved ones.

Suddenly – at 40 – it became fundamental to see what became of people once important to me. Technology helped, and indeed on facebook I found classmates with whom I once had a common shared history with. Finally, I was able to put a conclusion to stories started decades ago. Nothing makes life more palpable than to see photos of your classmates all grown up and aged.

I spent whole sleepless nights remembering stories with them. Moments from primary school that any one in my current life would never be able to associate with the persona that I have taken on in adulthood.

Anyway, here I am, a 41-year-old woman looking at herself in the mirror and still seeing a hologram of her 11-year-old self.

I guess there’s no such thing as GOODBYE in life. Every little detail lives on within us until the end. Even moments forgotten return to us in dreams. Every experience is useful and with us until the end. The end – death - is the only goodbye.

PAGE 44 - GITANJALI

On the day when death will knock at they door what wilt thou offer to him?

Oh, I will set before my guest the full vessel of my life - I will never let him go with empty hands.

All the sweet vintage of all my autumn days and summer nights, all the earnings and gleanings of my busy life will I place before him at teh close of my days when death will knock at my door.

O thou the last fulfilment of life, Death, my death, come and whisper to me!

Day after day I have kept watch for thee; for thee have I borne the joys and pangs of life.

All that I am, that I have, that I hope and all my love have ever flowed towards thee in depth of secrecy. One final glance from thine eyes and my life will be ever thine own.

The flowers have been woven and the garland is ready for the bridegroom. After the wedding the bride shall leave her home and meet her lord alone in the solitude of night.

I know that the day will come when my sight of this earth shall be lost, and life will take its leave in silence, drawing the last curtain over my eyes.

Yet stars will watch at night, and morning rise as before, and hours heave like sea waves casting up pleasures and pains.

When I think of this end of my moments, the barrier of the moments breaks and I see by the light of death thy world with its careless treasures. Rare is its lowliest seat, rare is its meanest of lives.

Things that I longed for in vain and things that I got-let them pass. Let me but truly possess the things that I ever spurned and overlooked.

Rabindranath Tagore (1913)
This picture is from Hans Holbein's masterpiece series of the macabre "Dance of Death", originally published in Lyons in 1538.

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