O death, where is thy sting

illustration for TH Open

illustration for TH Open  

Musings on life’s larger lesson while spending time in quarantine

The grim reaper is rearing his head once again, as he did during the Great Plague, the World Wars and the Partition of India. The last two events were constructed and administered by us human beings; so it tore us apart.

What we are now encountering, the novel coronavirus, or SARS-CoV-2, is challenging us to stand together and not yield to any call of destruction.

I am in Delhi, quarantined by health authorities for 14 days in a hotel after having landed from the U.S. Several thoughts and feelings rose in me because of the manner in which I went through the immigration process and was questioned by Health Ministry authorities, and the subsequent internment in a hotel. Yet after the upheaval within subsided, I seemed to want to recognise a larger lesson being offered.

There is pain in the draconian measures that are being put in place, such as what I, like so many passengers returning from overseas, faced at the airport. I was impatient, at my wits’ end, waiting to be ushered through the various government bodies that ensured I was infection-free, yet I realise that this is no time to pick fights nor have pangas. I want to support the work that is being done without demur, for I know if I cooperate, my kith and kin will breathe easy and may remain disease-free too.

As Carlos Castaneda writes, “Whenever we think we are being annihilated, let us turn to death and ask if this is so. Death is our eternal companion. Whenever we think that everything is going wrong and we are on the edge of destruction, we can turn to death and ask if that is so.”

The touch

If we are willing to listen attentively to the message we are being given, we will hear the following words: “You are wrong and nothing really matters outside my touch. I haven’t touched you yet.”

For us to give ourselves the opportunity to live and live well, I wish not to allow for myself and my fellow human beings the pleasure of death saying, “I have swallowed you and I have won.”

(The writer is an organisational and behavioural consultant)


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Printable version | May 30, 2020 5:59:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/o-death-where-is-thy-sting/article31192549.ece

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