Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tomorrow never comes

A decade and a half, nearly, of working together daily. Of practically living in each other's pockets for days on end. Of finding, thanks to his company, that life can be lived with irrepressible joie de vivre. Of observing, though not learning, that provocation can be brushed away as less than pinpricks. Of finding that, if you are capable of ignoring the prickles, most people can be sweet.

Of shifting to Bangalore, leaving behind, geographically, someone close to you, with the firm thought that absence shall not mar the friendship. Of finding that friendship does last, though we do not meet. Of meeting, once a year, with the same warmth that we used to share when we were together. Of keeping the friendship alive in the mind, but losing yourself in the day-to-day activities of your current environs.

Of learning from someone else that your friend has been diagnosed with cancer in the third stage. Of knowing, shockingly, that he had known it the last time you met and had not let you know by word or gesture. Of talking to a man, still full of cheer, who did not want his troubles to mar your enjoyment. Of vowing to call up more frequently.

Of trying to call up a few times and not being able to connect. Of lapsing back into the routine of the day and letting things slide.

And, now, knowing that THAT lamp of joy is guttering out, to be extinguished some time soon.

When Yudhishtir said that the greatest miracle was that people, seeing others die around them every day, still lived as though they would live forever, he was effectively saying that people ought to prioritize their actions based on the assumption that they may not live to see tomorrow.

The bigger tragedy is to live as though you will be able to connect with the people close to you some time in the future - and finding that THAT is not possible. Regrets and guilt are for the living to experience - and not all the regrets will bring back all those lost opportunities.

His family's will be the greatest loss. Mine is loss enough - and I wish that it were a loss not tinged with regret. Regret that I left for tomorrow what should have been done today.

And a lesson I hope not to forget again.

For some things, sometimes - Tomorrow never comes.

38 comments:

  1. I've gone through this experience a few times. Some times, it's been sudden death, some times death after a long illness that I was not aware of. Every time, I resolve that I will always remember that 'Tomorrow never comes.' I keep the resolution for some time, then start forgetting the lesson.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can so feel for you, Suresh, as I am straddling in a similar boat. It cuts through you to know that you did not call often enough. That you found out from someone else. Besides praying that they get better (in my case), there is nothing much more that one can do. Life can be so cruel. And every single time I resolve to do it much better but every time I slip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All of us, Rachna! The immediate always seems to overwhelm the important

      Delete
  3. Great post Suresh. It reminds me of Steve Jobs famous Stanford speech where he said that how awareness of death shapes his personality. In his view death is very inspirational which also reflects in Yudhisthara's Vani.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The awareness of the possible imminence of death - ours, others' - ought to inspire - but sadly does all too rarely.

      Delete
  4. Very rightly shared, Sureshji.
    Tomorrow is today's time-saving device, but tomorrow never comes :)
    Hope I get to do all what I have postponed for tomorrow & the day after...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Especially with regard to what you do with those close to you, Anita

      Delete
  5. Your this post comes at a time when I am still learning to accept the loss of a loved one , which was so sudden that it took me by surprise. I am still in disbelief and am wondering if life took me by surprise or was it the death . Yudhishtir's words ring so true at such times. such losses make us reprioritize many things.
    I am almost a new reader to your blog ,commenting for the first time but have been visiting here for almost 2 months now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is such a tough thing to learn. the surprise is that we forget the lesson so easily

      Delete
  6. Sorry for your loss. Sometimes time does drift us apart, but the bond shared will remain in tact. We wish we could be in touch more often, but it's easier said than done. I could relate with what you said, how people, despite living amidst people who might not wake up the next day, take it for granted that they'll live through their 70s-80s, when everything seems so uncertain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes - living life as though death is imminent is close to impossible, though

      Delete
  7. Don't castigate yourself--life IS like that.So many issues vie for attention and what is not extremely urgent gets postponed.I am sure your friend must have been very aware of your affection.
    You have paid a loving tribute to him.May he R.I.P.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Indu! It does happen - but every time it happens, you realize that you actually could have done a lot more than you actually did.

      Delete
  8. Very high on philosophical note, Suresh. Only if we were to realize this, all things would perfectly fall in place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In life, realizations come easier - it is living in line with them on a day-to-day basis that we falter in.

      Delete
  9. So sorry for your loss. I don't know some people are so brave to fight all the battles alone. Yes, regret eats us. And yes, for many things there is no tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True that - and there are some regrets that cannot be rectified.

      Delete
  10. I'm so sorry for your loss, Suresh. When I turned 60, four years ago, I visited all my far flung friends. From Florida, to Minnesota, to Arizona, to Las Vegas. I'm so glad I did, because one of them passed away suddenly last March.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I know it sounds cliched and probably a little heartless to say this at this point in time, but whatever will be will be.

    Am sure you friend is in a better place right now, and you probably should feel happy about that for him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm - Que sera sera, indeed! It is only that whatever is, is sometimes because of your own commissions and omissions, Jairam!

      Delete
  12. The fragility of life - sad post, SC, but every word is true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THAT fragility - what makes it so beautiful; what makes it so tragic

      Delete
  13. Rightly said Suresh. Sorry about your friend.Today is all we have, tomorrow..well who knows.. Realized it the day I lost my dad suddenly..Regrets are hard to live with, better to fulfill everything as soon as possible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lesson that life teaches repeatedly - but, unfortunately, I keep forgetting.

      Delete
  14. A post that reminds the value of life...and the mystery of future. I can recall a incident when I used to drive past my grandma's home often from work and one such time, I ignored her just because I was late for work. And sadly, it was the last...I could have spend some time with her then, I regret...I never knew the other side of tomorrow :( ....and a lesson learnt...but again , what is the use of a lesson learnt when situations are the one that controls us immensely...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A thing that is always difficult to manage - when to ignore the immediate to make time for those who are important to you.

      Delete
  15. Every word you have said here resonated with me. We never know what the next minute has in store for us... I learnt it the hard way when I lost my father unexpectedly while I was away in the US... I don't think the ifs and buts will ever go away..

    ReplyDelete
  16. Truly heart wrenching.
    Yudhishtir's words are holds so true...
    How crazy we are to believe that death happens to only those whom we dont know...
    And not to us or our loves ones!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THAT piece in "Yakshaprashna" always stays in my mind

      Delete
  17. The more I realise that fact, the more it makes me want to live like today is the last day of my life....to do everything I would do if it indeed were....but the sad fact is that doesn't happen too often...and then something like this happens and suddenly jolts you out of whatever you were doing to rethink what you have been missing...and most of the times it is too late.

    ReplyDelete
  18. My Condolences, Suresh. May his soul RIP. You were fortunate indeed to have had such a friend and I am certain HE too must have felt the same. Parting is never a sweet sorrow but remembering him and the memories you shared might to a certain extent help assuage the deep sorrow that is so evident in your words. Regrets, I am sure there will be many -- I agree with you that we sometimes unknowingly procrastinate and don't put in the energy required to maintain a relationship -- but I am certain that the departed would never want us to regret their leaving -- there are some cultures that actually celebrate the 'parting' and I wonder if they aren't right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was, in a way, a celebration of him as a person.

      Delete
  19. Sorry Suresh. I am reading this when I just came to know that my first cousin was diagnosed with C last month. He has been operated and prognosis is encouraging. I understand what you are going through. Sometimes words fall short. Utter helplessness. Confusion. Pain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, Alka! Been through that with my own Mom as well

      Delete