Whenever I fill up an application form, I am asked about my religion. Officially, I am a Hindu. But at heart, I am a Buddhist. I have been fascinated with Buddhism for the last two decades – not just because the Buddha was an atheist – but because it works so much with death.
I have always been fascinated by death. People who don’t know me think I have some morbid fascination with dying and am pessimistic. That’s so far from the truth that I can only smile in a very Buddha-like manner.
I am fascinated by death because it teaches me about life.
The more I think about death and dying, the more I am alive.
When we consider the fragility of our lives, it’s almost ridiculous that we think we have time.
The Buddha considers death as the greatest manifestation of impermanence. Bear with me here. I am not trying to sound like his ardent disciple. I love going to cemeteries or graveyards because they fill me with an indescribable peace – all those people who lived, loved, danced, suffered – all of them come to the same place. That’s the part that hits me the most – our illusion of separatedness is laid bare in death.
Death meditation is powerful and liberating. Especially because at a symbolic level, we don’t want to think about death. We shun it. We shrink from mentions of death. We don’t want to contemplate that beautiful shadow that lights up our lives.
This year has brought us closer to death, and no wonder, everywhere I go, people just want this year to end.
This year WILL end. But are we going to remain the same, thinking that life is long and that tomorrows exist?
It’s a question that has been on my mind. How do we use our suffering to transform us into those places of healing?
I thought about this. I thought about what my life means to me right now. I can sit here and faff away, thinking I have all the time in the world. Or. Or I can start writing my eulogy.
This is my eulogy. This is my epitaph.
I want my grave not to be dust or earth, but filled with the stars of my boundless sky.
I want to be known for:
Filling our world with kindness
Celebrating the beauty in our relationship
Choosing courage over fear
Being beautifully imperfect
Being empathetic in action
Creating corners of love
Living with the shadows but looking at the light
Failing gently, but always trying
Opening up my heart, pieced together, stitched, maybe, but held with compassion
Being an idiot, but the most adorable idiot whom you can easily forgive
When I go to bed these days, I wonder if I have done something to make someone smile. Did I talk to someone? Say hi? Would someone’s sky have one more star because of me? Did I build beauty in the smallest way? In myself? In others?
If so, I feel I am ok with not waking up the next day.