A Dialogue with Death
Scores of people die every day from natural causes, diseases, accidents, natural disasters, crime and what not; according to Hindu mythology, the Lord of Death 'Yama' residing in the Kingdom of Death will choose a handful just before their death for a conversation or a dialogue just to get their thoughts on their lives before they kick the bucket.
The choice of a particular candidate for a dialogue just before his/her death was not random. As Hindu mythology goes, the deeds of every human life from birth to death is recorded and kept at Kingdom of Death, therefore, the Lord of Death 'Yama' has no problem in finding information on any particular individual, he find fit for a dialogue.
Yama can have a dialogue with anybody; a movie actor turned politician, a successful immigrant quickly turned into a tea party participant, a senior citizen on social security and Medicare for several decades complaining on too much government giveaways, a politician from Midwest suddenly noticed that meat packing plants in his district were employing illegals or any person from any continent about to die.
"You have few moments before your last breath, any thoughts you want to share?" said Yama to Jake, an 88 years old man from Idaho.
"I am scared of going to hell."
"There is nothing like hell or heaven after death, that I can assure you as the Lord of Death."
"Glad to hear that, I am concerned about it, after all just to keep up my standard of living, I cheated, scammed, or whatever it takes to close a deal not thinking about consequences." "I submitted fake invoices on a lagoon closure project and pocketed 35 grand." Now I am about to die, I am worrying how I may have to pay for all the past deeds."
"Why you submitted a fake invoice to pocket 35 grand."
"Well, the corporate didn't give enough year-end bonus so I paid myself a bonus," Jake was not apologetic.
"Was other General Managers stealing money from the company?"
"Well, submitting fake invoices and false expense reports were within our realm of doing business."
"Well, Jake, you don't have to worry a thing, once you were dead, you were dead."
"What about my soul or spirit or by whatever name it goes?"
"What soul, there is nothing like that, I had enough problems keeping records of every human being on earth while they are alive and monkeying around, once they dead, I will close the file and throw it into a fire, that's about it, I don't want your soul or spirit or zombies flying around in my kingdom." "As Lord of Death, I just monitor and record the lives, taking action for misdeeds is not my job, it is the responsibility of the society they live in on earth," confirmed Yama.
"So, all that stuff preachers' talk about soul and spirit is nothing but bunk; you know I was worried serious," Jake appeared calm now.
"If you escape consequences of your actions in your life on earth, you considered yourself lucky that you got away with it and that's that. There is nothing beyond that." "As Lord of Death and Emperor of the Kingdom of Death, I am telling you, once you stop breathing, rest assured, your body either deteriorates slowly below ground or burnt into ashes as per you wishes, that's it."
"Thank you Yama, the Lord of Death and the emperor of the Kingdom of Death for your assurances," said Jake and closed his eyes for the last time.
Yama took a deep breath and looked around the hospital room with disgust for spending so much money for keeping Jake alive for so many years on death bed in the name of social justice and political correctness; then Yama disappeared into the thin air.
"As an Obstetrician, I helped deliver hundreds of babies into the world, new life born, scores of them and now I am at the end of my life, I feel funny," the lady doctor on the death bed was not scared but philosophical.
"I see that from your chart," Yama was looking at Doctor's docket.
"I went to medical school to help poor people."
"Yeah, I heard that before, then what happened."
"I got caught up in the rat race." "The motto is if I won't do the unnecessary 'C' Section, somebody would do it anyway so why not I, thus I turned into a mean money making delivery machine," "now it is time for me to reflect," the Doctor was hard on herself in the last moments.
"When you joined the medical school, you said you only want to help people." "True, you practiced good medicine, but in free time, you could have spent more time conducting free clinics for the poor; instead you attended seminars on investing on hedge funds and funneled money into bogus real estate investments," that's all I see in your chart, doc," Yama placed the docket on the side table next to the dying doctor.
"For better or worse, you sound more like my brother Juggernaut."
"Well, that old dog has still some life left, he will hang on for while on this earth," said Yama looking at Juggernaut's docket.
"Am I entitled some salvation for all the work I did?" the Doc was inquisitive.
"I am afraid, you were overly compensated for your work, as per salvation, there is nothing like that, once you close your eyes for good, you sink into the black hole of universe, if you want to call that salvation, do so." "My job as the Lord of Death is to make sure you die before another sucker born into this world," with these words, Yama bade good bye to the Doctor.
As per our religious believes, our bodies can neither be cremated nor buried," anguished Mr. Roshan.
"I know very well."
"I was God fearing man, all my life. I am a conformist in every way and followed the Book; I even married my cousin to keep our business in the family." "Now, Yama, you tell me please, am I going to heaven? Mr. Roshan looked desperate.
"Mr. Roshan, I can see your actions and non-actions from your records." "Once you misplaced a 100 dollar bill while travelling in Indiana on business, you became restless and nasty and made your assistant's life miserable, do you recall," Yama inquired.
"Yes indeed." "Then my wife called me and said that I left the bill at home."
"Have you apologized to your assistant for your grumpy and jack-ass behavior?"
"No, I did not." "Am I going to be punished after my death for that?"
"Dear Yama, now I am dying from this rare disease which is unique for our kind of people from in-breeding."
"I know all about it, remember I am the Lord of Death."
"Yes, Yes, now what shall I do?"
"You have every opportunity to live a life with fairness and kindness; you blew it, now you are asking me what is stored for you after death?" "I say, nothing," "in a few moments time, you die and your body is disposed according to your beliefs."
"And the only consolation is." Yama stopped short of completing the sentence.
"And the consolation?" Mr. Roshan looked anxious.
"You will be dead and that's that," Yama disappeared.
"I born in Minnesota, where everything is white, the snow is white, for the most part the people are all white and I played ice hockey on white ice rink, the deer I hunt have all white tails and the Canadian snow geese I shoot for fun have all white feathers, even a wild turkey I shot the other day has all white feathers, perhaps it escaped from a nearby factory Turkey farm" said morbid McMurry breathing heavy.
"True, I am looking at your records as you speak," Yama replied. Mr. McMurrywas dying from complications of a head injury received while playing ice-hockey.
"I am from Minnesota where everything is white for most part of the year and I like white," "Can you tell me if heaven is white too?"
"There is no heaven or hell, so stop worrying about its color," "If you were to be buried after death, start worrying about the color of trhe dirt." "The dirt can be brown, red, black or even blue like in Blue Earth in Minnesota," Yama gave a short lesson to Mr. McMurry.
"Oops, I felt like somebody hit me again with a hockey stick on my head," those were the last words of Mr. McMurry just before he kicked the bucket or the rink, in his case.
"Sir, Yama Sir, I had the dubious honor of bringing in hundreds of thousands of IT workers to America in the name of bogus Y2K project in late 90's, it all legal you know," when I see everybody ganging up on illegal farm workers, I feel bad, after all what I did was no different except my clients have diplomas to show unlike those willing to work for a buck picking cherries," "I want to clear my conscious so I can feel light in departing," Mr. Dubey had hard time finishing his last sentence.
"Don't worry Mr. Dubey, with the cheap illegal labor and food prices, people are poisoning themselves to death." "As per those people who came to rescue America from doomsday prediction of Y2K, they are all now stuck with American debt amounting to trillions of dollars." "Good Bye Mr. Dubey," said Yama.
"I joined politics to serve my country," said Mr. Pandey, leader of a major political party recently kicked out of leadership.
"I heard this before, not once, not twice, countless times." "Say, serving country is serving themselves," shouted Yama."
"I am a born leader and thought of dying as a leader of the party, but then I was thrown out, here I am waiting for the last moments," sobbed Mr. Pandey on the death bed in a luxurious private nursing home.
"Never mind Mr. Pandey, you had a good run in politics; you galvanized the ever crumbling coalition of self-interest groups in forming the government and benefitted yourself to amass a fortune in the process; you ran a one-man show without giving anybody an opportunity to climb the ladder to become a national leader; practically the entire party membership has to dump you to get rid off you from the party politics," Yama was just reading Mr. Pandey's political resume.
"I don't like white or black but I love orange, the glowing color of purity, please tell me if the Kingdom of Death is color orange," begged Mr. Pandey.
"No, the color of Kingdom of Death is neutral, or shall I say transparent or see-through." "I need to keep a close eye on the accounting staff that records the activities of over 6 billion people on earth, for this, I keep my kingdom see-through," "Mr. Pandey, for your information, in few moments when you die, the color of money is your serious problem, you see, your political party is refusing to pay your medical bills and the hospital is going after your wife to pay the dues," Yama with these last words sapped the last breath from Mr. Pandey.
"I left my native country in a boat and traveled far to make a living in countries where there were no roads, no electricity, no sanitation, and no government," "I never paid taxes, yes, I did paid bribes to do business if that's called taxes, I have no problem," "taxes are for people with regular jobs, in business, there is no job security or income guarantees, so I keep all the income," "You tell me Yama, what's wrong with it?" Reasoned Mr. Das at his Florida home after doing business in several countries and eventually made it to America.
"Currency doesn't come with a source of origin ID tag; whether i twas found on a roadside, inherited, earned by whatever means, with or without taxes paid," "Why people bring up the topic of taxes all the time," thought irritated Yama.
"You said it all Mr. Das," "you can drop dead now with no guilty conscious, rest assured." Yama was in a hurry to close the last transaction of the day.
Yama called it a day and retired to his kingdom for a well earned break after listening to all the crap from Jake, Mr. Roshan, Mc Murray and others. "I don't mind preachers talk about spirit or soul, and all that jazz, after all it is bread and butter for them," "in reality, I have hard time looking into and recording the lives of over 6 billion people on earth; who wants them back in any shape or form after their death, not in my backyard.""The people on earth have at least an exit plan,an end game, a final closure with death; for me there is no beginning or end,as Lord of Death, I am immortal with endless life cycles, I am deathless," thought Yama sitting in a fancy arm chair, kicking back his legs and stretching his arms, in the Kingdom of Death, a place to relax forever.