Life or death?

Desolation. Decadence. Decay. Destruction. Devastation. Death. Dissolution. The inevitable destination of the human race, jointly and  severally. So, why race towards it on our own when the natural order of all things is anyway headed in the direction of doom?

Here I have no choice but to assume that humans have a free will. The debate, fate Vs free will, runs from antiquity and will stretch to posterity and ever defy resolution. My own simple albeit confusing logic is that one unfolds his/her fate by using free will. Life is a search to know what is around every bend till the end. For that one must strive to survive… fate willing. But try we must.

So, given that one has a choice to live or die, setting aside for argument’s sake the unknown fate, why should anyone choose death? It goes against the very grain of earthly existence, of all flora and fauna with an inbuilt instinct against just withering away even under the most trying of circumstances. We are born to live till we die, not to die when there is still life left. The additional sense that homo sapiens are blessed with should at least lend them this good sense.

On that subject, I have a pearl of wisdom to offer. We share the first five senses with the beast, making us 5/6 – equals. It is the sixth one that is supposed to make us human. It, however, looks that this sensory differentiator was God playing out his sense of humour on humanity, for, all the havoc caused through history can be attributed to the pervert working of this extra sense.

On the positive flip side, one can list out science, technology, arts, literature and so forth, but the sadistic Maker also imbued the sixth sense with many hues of Faith. Alas! All the achievements of mankind are negated by the unkindest cuts from the many scissors sealed within and cutting away at its insides.

Let’s ignore natural disasters, ironically defined as acts of God in modern and rational parlance, particularly legal and insurance. Of all the evil pretexts like land, gold, etc., or if only just an itch for adventure, the most explosive ignition for taking human lives en masse are wars, pogroms and genocide based on race and religion. These acts have their foundation on the flawed and flimsy grounds of superior and inferior genes and Gods, a wholly human construct that has grown and multiplied in direct proportion to population and its divisions.

Creation or evolution or intelligent design – there could not have been any distinction in the origin of humans. Not at least any that can be relevant in today’s global village. But what have we become? God unites, but he himself has been divided into Gods. Even the Maker would fear to descend to give a verdict: he will be bombed out by one or the other of his ‘follower’, and in His own name! A godforsaken world, for sure.

I can even fathom the Maker’s mind but a suicide bomber’s psychology beats me. History is replete with ‘martyrs’ who waded into voluntary death for country or cause. Most such characters of yore were lone wolves, unarmed or just with some rudimentary weapons and most often as strategic scapegoats. The Japanese harakiri is one such well-known tradition thanks to it becoming a cliché in modern ‘English’ lexicon.

During World War-II Pearl Harbour attack, Japanese kamikaze pilots plunged their burning planes into American ships, airfields and even hospitals and other buildings. The whole surprise attack was a suicide mission though many returned to tell the tale. LTTE topped the charts late last century. The current one began with the spectacular 9/11 suicide attacks. West Asia has for decades reigned as the paradise for suicide bombers.

Now, why would anyone blow himself up? What kind of a cause can that be that supersedes the most natural urge to live? I for one can’t imagine committing suicide, can’t even think of myself dead, quickly erasing such morbid musings with illusions of immortality. But here are people, men and women, in the prime of their youth, snuffing out their own precious lives, setting off bombs in their belts or backpacks. And these madcaps have a fetish: they don’t die alone. Their malignant malice takes with them a maximum number of people possible.

One wouldn’t mind if any of these incurably indoctrinated characters were to jump off a cliff and make their cowardly solo sojourn to wherever their God resides. But the modern terrorist seeks company. It does not seem to matter to him/her that the victims are of a different hue and might not want to make the bloody trip in their killer’s path, let alone die in the first place. Our sixth sense, with its yearning for safety and security, seeks sanctuaries of peace. But to our misfortune it is overwhelmed by such suicide bombers’ sinister and skewed sixth sense.

With inviting crowds thronging all places of interest and invisible monsters with vile intent and potent weapons roaming in their midst, I only have vivid visions of a global graveyard: of places teeming with life turning into tombs in a jiffy; of broken walls plastered with blood and flesh; of gore and guts splattered on the floors; bones and limbs that cannot be matched with the bodies; of men and women reduced to a mere memory in a millisecond; masses of humans whose identity is no longer name, nationality or faith but just a few strands of DNA. Such ominous forebodings are not flights of fatalist fancy but factual footages on the scenes and screens.

After all, as they say, the villain has to be lucky only once and they die only once by their own volition. But we, potential victims, wanting to live and also live it up, have to die every day. We die when we go to worship. We die when we go to the market. We die when we go to eat. We die when we are out on holiday. Death stalks us like a shadow. The miserable maniacs who have inflicted this fear, a feeling worse than death itself, deserve no sympathy, no empathy. After all, having snatched many lives, they have taken the lives out of the lives of the living ones.

And that is all the more reason to choose life – a lively life – despite the hovering dark clouds of terror. Let the Grim Reaper and the ingrained bomber compete among themselves. Let us be clear and cheer the fact that our heaven is here and now and we need no escorts.

Happy living. Till…

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Jawahar T R