23/09/2015 8:12 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

What Aylan Forces Us To See

Joshua Blake via Getty Images

It has been quite a few days since the tragedy, but pain and apprehension remain. Each day as I log in to see my social media feed, or turn the pages of the newspaper, it is with some trepidation - no, I don't want to see Alan there anymore. That image -- it is a grim reminder of too many painful, terrible things. But he surfaces again and again, not just shaming "humans" for their apathy but also starkly painting the truth about Death.

It's a topic no one wants to talk about. Yes, there is advice aplenty about coping strategies but rarely does one come across an account of death that isn't too dark or too sublime for the average human to wrap their head around. I doubt if there could be...

The mere mention may be enough to make one cringe or run away in complete denial or fear, assuming that one is incapable of dealing with it... but deal we must, for all life comes with a expiry date stamped already!

It is only when the icy fingers of the grim reaper touch someone in close proximity -- family, social circle, in the neighbourhood or within sight -- that one realises how fragile and at the same time valuable human life is. It is a jolting reminder of how flimsy are the differences among people, how pointless are the arguments on petty issues, how meaningless is the energy spent on relationship arithmetic, how needless the cold wars of the heart, how futile the game of one-upmanship and the need to prove a point.

How, when the body goes cold, so does each fire, that had meant a war or a revolution -- an uprising or a purpose.

Death is unlike all that surrounds us. It's there, undoubtedly, but most people have been desensitised to it, especially if it occurs "elsewhere" ... in another man's universe! But every once in a while, aside of our personal tragedies, comes along an Alan, who's heartbreakingly silent image refuses to leave the mind's eye.

And all too soon, it becomes a terror -- alive and staring us in the face, reminding of the end that must be. So why is it scary, why does it inspire a dread like none other?

People usually mourn the passing away of another but those heartrending emotions, those sombre silences are often "mourning of the self"...

  • "I will never be able to see myself as I could see through your eyes..."
  • "What will happen to me now?"
  • "I can't live without you /your support..."
  • "My happiness depended on you... "
  • "I will never be the same again..."

As human beings, it is natural to invest ourselves emotionally in the people around us, to knit the fabric of our life with a larger consciousness; to weave our story into a larger plot unwittingly. And when a thread snaps, the story lies in a pile on the floor -- the mind cannot distinguish which crumpled page goes where!

Death is a time of generative change -- a tectonic shift in the foundation of life -- a change that would require those left behind to rearrange their lives; to rebuild their cosmos a little more intelligently, once the mourning for self or getting overwhelmed by regrets is over.

Death prepares ground for new life... Not just for the soul that has passed over but largely for those impacted in a big way by the loss. Forward movement happens when one is able to accept death for what it is -- for it is the creator's most important aide -- one that facilitates change and creation even though it is through utter chaos!

Well, it takes what it takes for BIG changes to happen. And Death's dedication to perpetuate creation is unflinching. Unwelcome, misunderstood and robotic, it keeps moving the wheels of time, a juggernaut that pulverises everything in its way -- to generate raw material for the "new".

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