Unlike Mr. Rehman who was allowed to use facilities for some time even after retirement, we are disdainfully stripped off all pleasures this body can offer. We may bribe some officers or use political connections to hold on to things of this world, but when it comes to death, we are all insignificantly equal. Even if you are a senior director, death makes no exception. An Italian proverb says it better, “After the game of chess, both the king and the pawn lie in the same box.” You may be the richest man, living in the most expensive penthouse, surrounded by the best nurses, yet death comes without mercy. At that time a wealthy billionaire can’t bribe ‘death’; a strong man can’t wrestle death to submission; a beautiful woman wouldn’t be able to charm death; and an intelligent scholar would fail to defeat death in argument. No point fighting it out; let’s plan another ‘dwelling’ for our lives, post ‘retirement’.
Let’s plan for death by living now
Many lead their lives in regret of the past, confusion about present, and fear of the future. Frustration at the moment of death is a natural by-product of such a missed life. If one lives his or her life wholly and responsibly, then, as Mark Twain said the man who lives fully is prepared to die any time. A director of a government company who lives a conscious life is prepared to vacate his flat, and retire with grace and dignity.
Life is tough, even for the successful and famous. I once heard an anecdote of Mr Life’s conversation with Mr Death. “Why do people love me and hate you?” asked Life and Death replied, “Because you are a beautiful life, and I am a painful truth.” Sylvia Plath was a highly acclaimed American writer and poet, and a winner of Pulitzer Prize. Still at the young age of thirty, she committed suicide. Ironically, she had said in one of her works, “Dying is an art, like everything else.” Ernest Hemingway, another successful novelist and Nobel Prize winner shot himself dead, after having tried to end his life, a few times earlier as well. He too had said earlier that although details vary, all our lives end the same way.
If Mr. Rahman, during his forty years of service had planned and invested in a house that he’d settle in eventually, he would have happily vacated the old house on retirement. Similarly if during our sojourn in this world, we plan and invest daily, for a life after death, we’ll be ready when old age, diseases and death eventually strike. We’ll happily leave this world to a life of eternity, freedom and bliss. Emily Dickinson said it poetically, “Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me; the carriage held, but just ourselves and immortality.”