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A dream changed everything for Roshini. She decided to make the wrong things right, also to let go and forgive people.
“Roshni wake up!” screamed her husband.
Roshni woke up startled, breathing heavily, slightly dizzy and deeply confused.
The room was dimly lit with just a study lamp trying all its might to spread its yellow light across the room. It was still dark outside the window, calm, yet eerie, with its unnatural silence strangely reflecting what Roshini was feeling right now.
The room looked hazy to her and she felt as though she was being pulled by two worlds in different directions. She was clearly neither here nor there. Taking shallow, and then deep breaths, she thought to herself, “Whoa, what did just happen!” and turned to her husband for answers.
She didn’t have to wait for long as she realized that he had been already talking to her hysterically for quite some time, just that she hadn’t heard anything at all until that moment.
He repeated again, “Roshni, you are alive. You are not dying! Do you hear me?”
Roshini had a cheerful day so far and had gone to bed after prepping things up in the kitchen for the next day to avoid the everyday morning rush. As was her habit, she read a romantic suspense novel, her favorite genre, before going to sleep. The protagonist’s father gets killed in the story, giving way to a juicy suspense that fired her imagination fiercely.
She closed her eyes as she started pondering over the absolute fact of life – the death!
With a sudden sense of panic, Roshni realized that one day she will die too! She imagined herself with shriveled skin, tired eyes and bony face. Umpteen recurrences of the springs and monsoons had successfully turned her hair entirely white. In one moment she had lost all her beauty, charm and vivacity; nothing seemed important anymore.
“Was it really the end?” she questioned herself.
She saw her daughters, still very young, playing in the backyard of the house. Or, was it her granddaughters? She couldn’t tell the difference. She began wondering how the last moment of her life will be. There was no way of escaping the last moment! Will it be painful? How will she feel when she will take the last breath and then can’t take any more? Will she be dead immediately after the last breath or will there be a lapse between her last breath and the time when the brain finally gives up its futile efforts of reviving the body; a lapse in which she is neither dead nor alive!
As these thoughts were lulling her to sleep, all she knew was that she was leaving all of them and going away, but where, she didn’t know. Not having a place to go after death increased her degree of panic. What will she be after death – a shiny, silvery, shapeless fog or a spot of bright light? A person who always wanted things under her control didn’t know where to go or what to do after death! She felt she was suspended in the dark space and was fumbling for some support, but she had nothing to hold on to.
She saw the girls in the backyard once again and was filled with an overwhelming need to protect them; what will happen to them if she is not around to take care of them? She couldn’t bear the sight of pain erasing their innocent smiles away. She couldn’t come to terms with the thought of letting them alone in a world with diminishing humanity and undefinable atrocities against women. She couldn’t let anyone mercilessly rob the pure love, innocence, and hope that filled their hearts and replace it with fear, hatred, and hopelessness.
“But how can I stop all of this, I am dying,” she thought.
She looked within her – deep down inside her heart. The more she looked inside, she continued to reduce to a shapeless fog that began to separate from her body. She tried to hold on to it, but she had no control over it.
“I am dying… It’s really happening… I am dying…” she panicked.
She quickly took a look at the whole number of years that constituted her life. Oh God! There was so much more to do! So many experiences to gain, promises to keep and apologies to be tendered. Now that she was leaving everything behind, she realized she had so many things to fix, so many heartaches that were not worth it, so many moments that she could have celebrated but she hadn’t. She hadn’t yet lived fully, she had a dream, or rather dreams, to achieve, and she still hadn’t even fixed her injured knee; she had been postponing recovery exercises for eternity!
She saw her husband staring blankly into darkness – alone – with his arms wide open. She saw that his face was young but with the eyes of an old man, as though reminding her of the promise – a promise that she would grow old with him. It appeared like the time stopped and his entirety waited for her return to his arms, but his eyes got aged waiting for her. Roshni wanted to pull her back and run into his ever loving arms and tell him that she was sorry, she had to go!
Oh, where the hell is God, she wondered! I want some more time, please, she cried.
She still had to travel the world with her mom and give her all that happiness that her mom might have sacrificed raising her. She didn’t want to repeat the mistake that she did with her Dad.
“Oh, yes! Dad! Would he have felt the same way when he died?” she wondered. She saw a ray of hope in her death and thought, maybe, now she will meet her dad and apologize for being a difficult teenager! She could tell him how much he meant to her and how badly she wanted to fix things between them.
Her thoughts quickly traveled back to her daughter. She still had to teach her daughter how to wash her hair by herself and to take care of her changing body! She had to enroll her daughter in the art class that she so badly wanted to go. She had to warn her about the lustful eyes that will try to prey on her and she had to teach her the importance of not trading the goodness of her heart for anything in this world. She had to admit the mistakes that she did herself and guide her daughter not to repeat the same. She had to encourage her to rise after every fall.
But, did Roshni herself know how to rise after each fall?
At this point, Roshni realized that she had resigned herself to the fact that life was happening to her, rather than for her! As she traveled deep into the dark void, she realized she still had so many unfulfilled desires. She wanted to taste success in her career, she wanted to chase her dreams, travel the world, do bungee jumping, go snorkeling and experience skydiving. She had a loving family, but she had lost herself to life; she had given up her ambitions and postponed her dreams (and her life!) for tomorrow – the tomorrow that never was today!
She expected to be light as a feather when she will be nothing but a soul, but she felt heavy – heavy with the emotional baggage that her soul was carrying. The more she was pulled by her personal desires, her family and her dad, the more her soul became a shapeless fog.
She wanted the last chance to get things undone and finish her unfinished tasks. But it wouldn’t happen.
Alas, she sobbed, “I am dying… I am dying…”
As she was being sucked deep into the void, she felt as though somebody held her arms and pulled her back into a more material and tangible existence.
She woke up startled in her bedroom in the arms of her husband. After she got back all her senses and was aware of the surroundings, she was assured by her husband that she wasn’t dying. She looked straight into his eyes and then hugged him telling how much she loved him and their kids.
She didn’t know for how long she cried in his arms, but when she looked back into his eyes, she felt that his eyes might really have aged a bit. Or, was she imagining things again? Whatever it was, her entire life had just rolled in front of her eyes.
As she settled herself back to sleep, held closely by her husband, she wondered what if she had really died. What if she hadn’t had a chance to set things right? She realized that death was inevitable, but if she died today, she definitely had a lot of regrets!
A discerning thought filled her mind – she was blessed with a second chance!
A chance to right every wrong in her life. She resolved to make one change, at least, every day that will make her better than what she was yesterday, that will bring her closer to achieving her dreams and that will lessen the emotional baggage that was weighing down her soul.
She resolved to let go of the people who held her back and ignore people who judged her every so often. She would forgive people for hurting her as she didn’t have enough time to dwell on their treachery; what if she died tomorrow, she wouldn’t want to add to her emotional baggage and waste her time on things that didn’t take her closer to being what she really wanted to be!
After all, in death, nothing matters more than a life without regrets, rolling by your eyes! If you intend to find peace in death, then you need to first find that peace in your everyday life!
Earlier Published here.
Image Source – Pixabay
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