Having seen some of the close ones go away at a very early age, it was devastating for me, and it never goes away. It is always there at the back of your head, and it doesn’t matter what you are doing, it doesn’t matter how much you want to drift away from the memory. It just stays there.
Ashwin, 28 years, IT Professional, Bangalore
Interviewed by Poorva Dinesh
Why did you decide to speak on death?
That’s the eternal truth isn’t? I don’t want to sound philosophical, but that’s the truth. Having seen some of the close ones go away at a very early age, it was devastating for me, and it never goes away. It is always there at the back of your head, and it doesn’t matter what you are doing, it doesn’t matter how much you want to drift away from the memory. It just stays there.
And you don’t actually talk to people about death, because this is not a topic that would interest anybody as such and you don’t want to talk about it.
Can you tell us who this person was?
I would not name the person, but there have been quite a few people – multiple people – in my life, or I was related to, friends, and their family and friends. One of them was somebody I saw one day and the next day I get to know he is not there, and it was unexpected. When death is expected you make peace with it, but when it’s unexpected you don’t make peace with it for a very long time, and then you ask questions, you ponder over it, but you have no answers as such.
Have these deaths changed you in a way that you have decided to live your life a certain way, or not doing something altogether?
Yes, both ways. You think, “I will not do certain things, because they are risky”. You are not just risking your own life, but also lives of people close to you. And you also know that you may be gone, but there are people who are left after you, and they have a lot of memories and they find it difficult. So you tend to avoid certain things.
But at the same time there is a positive side to it. Like you think “what if tomorrow I am not there, and I haven’t done the things I always wanted to do, so now is the time because there is no tomorrow. So why not do it today, and just doing things you have always thought of doing”.
Usually, on a daily basis I take life for granted, but once you have these kinds of experiences, you don’t want to take life for granted.
Are you scared of death?
I am not scared of my own death. So if I discover tomorrow that I have a disease that cannot be cured and I am gonna die, obviously I am going to be heart-broken and all that…but I am more scared of the death of people I am close to. I freak out when I see somebody doing a stunt, or casually sitting in the balcony, or on a cliff taking pictures. What if they take one wrong step, and they are gone? I can’t even look at somebody hanging from the wall trying to paint. You see those labourers right? I get really terrified just by looking at them.
What does love mean to you?
What does love mean to me….uh (thinks hard) its something you can’t really define… when it’s there, you know it. You can’t put boundaries around it and say, “OK this is what love is and this is what it should mean to you”. Its different for different people.