Only a few months ago, my life has been tantalising between living and dying due to severe infection of coronavirus and though now I have weathered that shock I cannot say, for sure, that I may not again be infected in future. Every night of that time was so painful to me that I dared not go to sleep even at the dead of the night for fear of dreaming macabre ominous dreams where my dead ancestors used to laugh at my sick condition. Pain, so to say, starts to inflict us from the very beginning of our life. That is why, perhaps, sensing the future tribulations of life, a human baby first cries out immediately after landing on earth being separated from the umbilical cord of its mother. At every moment, life on this planet somehow depends on others’ help from birth to death and our vulnerability manifests through the taking care of us by our parents when we are still too young to move alone and finally ends through the burial of our dead bodies by others. In life, though we have nothing to boast of, we create all troubles during the interim period.
Meaning of life varies from person to person, from time to time and from place to place and during this corona pandemic if anybody asks me what life signifies I will say it entails the sum total of some hard struggles for our survival; sometimes the struggles between ourselves and sometimes the struggle against the extraneous factors like the adverse environment. And this time the entire human kind of the world is fighting a tough fight against one common enemy; the COVID-19 disease. Every day as well as every moment our cells are undergoing through some struggles and changes. Platelets of our blood always fight against any kind of germs entering into our body. Furthermore every moment we are riveted and tormented by our mental blizzard while having interaction with others in the society. We are always tortured psychologically by two types of thoughts; thesis and antithesis. One proposes hedonistic feelings and the other nullifies by critical analysis. Again we have to sustain both internal and external shocks. This entire struggle never ends until death does our soul part from the body.With few exceptions for saints and dervishes, craving for wealth and exquisitely beautiful life partner is universal and we spend a big part of our valuable time for earning huge amount of wealth and getting involved with the opposite sex of our choice. Generally it continues till 45 to 55 years of age. Then standing on our own feet one day we see in the mirror that our hair has become grey, our teeth shaky, eyesight blurry and body weak and languished. Tiredness catches our minds and body due to senility. We don’t find any interest in those things for which once we were crazy. The tragedy of human life as it seems to me, is that we don’t get everything altogether and at one go. The Almighty Creator plays games with our destiny. One whom He gives money, doesn’t give a healthy body in order to enjoy it. In this peculiar world, no one can understand the problem of the other in plain eyes. Thus, in a sense we all are puppets in the hands of God.
Time plays a significant role in molding our life and spares nobody from its hard and fast rule. It punishes all of us ruthlessly without making any discrimination. Especially after reaching a certain age, our face value to others gradually diminishes. Like an old building, we look unattractive after losing our beauties and glares in our mid-fifties. Our health conditions deteriorate with the passage of time. In order to make us attractive to others we all strive to patch up our hairs, teeth or eyes in alternative means in the same way as we refurbish the old building with plasters. Virtually from 29-40 years of age when we live in our prime, we start falling from the peak gradually with the coming of more age. As the blooming flowers have no lack of bumblebees to dance around them, so we have no want of friends during our youth. But with aging and with the worsening conditions of health, our friends also start to leave us one by one. Finally, in our old age we are left alone, being neglected and taken less care of by our near and dear ones. This is because nobody salutes a setting sun. Till we can give service to our society we have value and the moment we fall ill or go out of service our chapters are closed from other’s accounts book.
Money, quintessential for our comfort and happiness, for which we yearn in our youth, comes of no use to us when vigour of our body dwindles. What a tragedy! At one time we die for money, again at other time this money becomes the source of all evils. We hanker after money as dreams of fulfilling demands one after another keep us busy for continuously doing work. But alas! It’s a cyclical game, where one ball always rolls down from its place and another ball occupies that space and the labyrinth never ends. It’s like a seesaw, one side of which goes down when the other side rises up and vice versa. In fulfilling our demands, we can hardly make ourselves 100 per cent satisfied in this short-lived life and thus the equation of our desires versus satisfaction remains always unsolved. Diseases, poverty, scarcity and doldrums cover a major part of our life. Feign conceitedness, emotional blackmailing and false pretensions in interaction with others also take a bit of time from our life. Quarrelling, backbiting and fighting with others for beautiful ladies or possession of lands also make life extremely bitter. Life is like a relay race, the end of which is unknown to us and we merely pass on the buck to others for continuing the game. Surprisingly true that today or tomorrow our names and fame will be mixed with dust and forgotten forever by our next generations. I feel like crying when I think that we are nobody to this earth and once our existence will be lost in the unfathomable ocean of time. What may make us memorable for a certain period of time to others are our sweet words and good conduct with people as average men and women or our good literary or cultural works as extraordinary men and women.
The recent long procession of deaths from corona pandemic reminds us that we are always unsure about our near future. Only the Almighty Creator knows what lies ahead of every human being in the next moment. In this regard I can’t but remember an incident which occurred in front of me only a few years back from now; one day while I was travelling by a bus from Khulna to Dhaka it was drizzling and at one place near Louhajang Upazila, I noticed some 3-4 youths kidding with each other and giggling watching videos in their mobiles sitting inside a parked truck. Only 50 feet away from them suddenly our bus driver lost control and collided into the back of the standstill vehicle. Due to the forceful push, all inside the truck fell on the street, breaking the glass shield in the blink of an eye and died instantly. Thus, only a few seconds made the difference between life and death, of which I was an eye-witness. The youths could never think of death happening so early and in such a tragic way. So life is very uncertain and where will it come to an end nobody knows. That’s why we should always be prepared for death by giving everybody his due in the quickest possible time.
The writer is a Deputy Secretary