To watch the soul depart from its cage of mortality is akin to watching – that too live – a tragic reminder of your own death; how one day, we’ll leave behind everything, everything, and head to a land unknown. It punches you right in the heart and the room around you begins to shrink and you are scared; you are scared of what is to come.
When I saw our first patient die right in front of us, mocking any amount of medical advancements my seniors could boast of, I was overcome by both grief and disgust. After long years of rigorous clinical practice, writing the death note in a patient’s file becomes a part of your routine. It’s like watching a news channel broadcasting the death statistics of a natural disaster and exclaiming “Oh, only twenty casualties!” And then you remember that you definitely need to discuss yesterday’s sale at your favourite outlet with your fellow doc. Life doesn’t stop for anyone and there’s no room for sentimentality in a room full of medical equipment like a ventilator and a defibrillator, and well, perhaps the dead human body holds no dignity anymore, does it?
As I walked out of the I.C.U., I battled with myself – what sort of a doctor will I be? Will I actually do that? Or will I mourn those I couldn’t keep alive? It was in that moment – the heartbeat of my moment – that I decided: a small prayer for the deceased and their family and a relevant reminder to cherish the people in my own life and to take out the time to appreciate their presence in my life, was what I’ll do. And as I made this resolution – trying to calm the rising turmoil within – I was reminded of the lyrics from the song ‘Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth with Money in my Hand’:
“We sit outside and argue all night long /
about a God we’ve never seen /
but never fails to side with me… /
Am I alive or thoughts that drift away? /
Does summer come for everyone? /
Can humans do what prophets say? /
If I die before I learn to speak /
can money pay for all the days I lived awake /
but half asleep? /
A life is time, they teach you growing up /
the seconds ticking killed us all /
a million years before the fall…”
Really, though; are we alive? Or thoughts that drift away from a God we’ve never seen but Who never fails to side with me?