I am scared of death, truly, genuinely. It is difficult for me to believe that one day I’ll be gone. This world, in its limitless expanse into time and space, exists because I exist – I, in my case, and in your case, you. Before me, the world didn’t exist at all, and it will cease to exist once I’m no more. One day, everything that matters to me, every truth, will turn meaningless. And this is scary. More disturbing than the mystery of “what will happen once I die” is the realization that everything that I’ve paid importance to, including myself, will end, and be lost forever.
I watched ‘Titanic’ today. I’m not a big fan of the movie and the decision to watch it was purely academic. I wanted to see how the 3D conversion of a 2D movie looks like, when done by the person who is an authority on 3D film-making. What I had not imagined was that the movie will also trigger the memories of watching it for the first time fourteen years ago. My brother says it was the first time we were sitting in an air-conditioned movie hall! Today I was reminded of that tender age when I was too innocent to believe that an actress can pose nude in front of the camera. They had chopped off the shots of full nudity and I was to wait several years to finally see Kate Winslet as proudly and defiantly exposed as the pencil sketch of her character.
Those shots were deleted in today’s show as well. The film had not changed much, despite the irritating 3D glasses, and a new ‘depth perspective’. But I had changed, and today the most affecting image for me was neither the erotic and gorgeous beauty of the leading lady nor the helpless surrender of that gigantic creation of man before the might of frozen and fluid water. Just before she is rescued, and seconds after she has let go of Jack’s dead body into the ocean, Rose blows into a whistle in order to attract the rescue boat towards her. That image of the young girl, surrounded by hundreds of dead bodies, blowing not helplessly but purposefully, to fight against death with an uncompromising and relentless desire to live, was for me the biggest moment in the film. In order to fulfill her promise to Jack, she had decided to live, and embrace life with all strength and passion. Today wherever she goes, she carries the photos from different stages of her life – Rose riding a horse, Rose posing like a black-and-white screen diva, Rose with her kids – the photos which are testimony to a life she has lived proudly and fully, a life that has stood firmly against death as long as it can.
Last year a stupid mosquito had infected me with Dengue. In the hospital, it suddenly dawned upon me what I today consider to be the most valid definition of life. What is life? In my opinion, it is the opportunity to defy death. The best way to live is to honor life, feel blessed that it is with you, and to live as if there is nothing after it, because this is your only opportunity. And if you live it well, without letting any regret haunt you and remind you about “what could have been”, your existence will go beyond the body containing you, and the time defining your tenure as a living organism. A life thus lived will turn into a blissful memory or an inspiration for others, and survive well beyond death. When I listen to Celine Dion’s rendering of ‘My Heart Will Go On’ or when I watch the celebrated cinematic moment of Jack and Rose ‘flying’ with their hands stretched at the bow of the ship, the blissful tears brimming in my eyes are stronger than the fearful sight of hundreds of people dying their premature deaths. Embracing life lovingly and passionately is perhaps the only answer to death, and the only code to immortality.