The time is 5:28 am. The mobile rings. I am sleepy, tired from a difficult meeting the earlier evening. I am told that my friend has just passed away. Multiple organ failure was the reason cited. I mumbled something just to get the conversation going. I was in a haze and I realised that I was just hearing and not listening. After a few minutes, three words going through my head. These words were from the domain of botany. They were pulvinus, sessile and ephemeral. With permission from Charles Lutwidge Dodgson – Lewis Carroll for uninitiated – and the walrus I say,
“The time has come,” (I say) ,
“To talk of many things:
Of sanity—and amity —and vanity —
Of birth —and life —
And why we live in an ephemeral world —
And whether we can fly off on wings”
The disease of life starts with an infection due to a prolonged affection between two others. Once you are infected the disease comes to an end only with another infection called death. Life is all what you do between these two infections.
What we do in between? We lead a life of insanity; we lead a life of war and of course a life of vanity. Norway was likened by me to one of the peaceful places until Breivik happened. Almost any place in the world would have figured in the news in the last one year for some gory act of shooting, killing or war.
We are bound to this mad world during life. We are sessile like the plant in one place. Life itself is not predictable. Your life now depends not only on the actions of those around you but also on those far removed from you. Life is controlled in a mysterious manner like the leaf is controlled by the pulvinus.
Life is ephemeral. When will lose your life? Will you return home tonight? Will you make it to the meeting? Will you near and dear wait for you forever like Hachiko? Life gets snuffed out. Just like that. It may happen when you are watching a movie, or when you finished teaching or buying a burger.
Can we in our own way bring more amity, less insanity at least within our circle?