C’est La Vie : Living with the fear of Death

By Soumya Bisht, Batch of  2019 

I lie sideways with my face towards the window. Rays of sunlight fall on my face through the cracks in the window blinds. The television is switched ON to something that would have left me enraptured in alternate circumstances. But just about now, I can hardly distinguish it from static. Or rather, I don’t bother distinguishing the two. Just like I don’t try facing away when the sunlight digs deep into my eyes- attempting to provoke me into an action of some sorts. Silly sunlight! Trying to will me into submission when my own family couldn’t. Moments like these are the only times when I’m strong- strong enough to rebel, to refuse, to stand my ground. Rebel against the sunlight. Hah. How pathetic!

It has been 3 years now. You know how the story goes, right? A regular check-up, a report later and *BAM*. Everything changes. Literally. Physically, you’re a wreck that draws disgust-inducing sympathy at first sight. And mentally, hah! May Lord show you the light. What follows? Why of course, the endless dip into uncertainty and the anxiety arising from it, the frustration and the ensuing depression that leaves you all kinds of distraught, the burden of the decisions you make, the friends you lose and those that you are forced to cut off. Life becomes a slow, uneventful chronicle of nothing. White, sterile- like the bedsheets I rest upon. Sometimes I like to think of my life like a movie. But Goddamnit! I have already been given the spoiler – death of the protagonist due to succumbing to the throes of fatal disease clawing a labyrinth of pain and darkness throughout body. Pitiful.

My family walks around me on eggshells. Little Minnie has been asked to not mention school lest I be thrown into one of my dark moods triggered by the thoughts of what school used to be like. My poor parents, who used to thrive on social activity, never mention the number of parties, trips, events they have had to skip for my sake. Their smiles stay plastered to their face. I want them to yell at me, to cry, to wail, to talk about what happens when I die. When I die. The phrase has become a taboo. I just wish Mom and Dad got used to the idea sooner.

I know I get difficult at times. Can you blame me, though? I will never get a chance to wipe away tears of joy from my mother’s face when I win a scholarship. I won’t be able to wear my farewell sari that would’ve been the right balance of sexy and demure. I won’t talk about all the colleges I got into and the ones I am aiming for. I have forbidden myself to mull over any more of life’s landmarks that are now nothing more than won’t-be’s.

I now scroll through my facebook newsfeed and as I do so, my breath catches in my throat when I see my ‘friends’ post pictures of them sky-diving, river-rafting, scuba-diving and I wonder what it must be like to prioritise ‘living life’ over just life itself. The only thing adventurous that happens in my life are plot-twists. Plot twists that see me hospitalised for days due to a mere cold while instances of coughing up blood are merely false alarms.

The uncertainty that looms over my family is unsettling.

I let the sunlight implore the etched frown on my face while multitudes of needles poke me in different places. And so begins my day with me forcing my entire being into trying to live yet another day.

The cycle works on loop and I know it stops at death- when I am finally allowed to bid farewell to this world that tried to be a good host but alas, we just weren’t compatible enough. I just hope that they dress me up in a sari that is the right balance between sexy and demure.

Yours Truly.