Friday, April 11, 2014

A man who avoided death

By Naseer A Ganai

He was afraid of death. He feared death the way it should be. He was always cautious that he should not do something that would give an excuse to death to knock him down. 

If he had to travel from Shopian to Srinagar, he would call his relatives in Srinagar to seek information about situation in Srinagar. He would then cross check the information with his journalist friend. He had a belief that journalists know much about ground realities. Many a times he cancelled his visit to Srinagar after he heard a rumour from well known rumour mongers that something is going to happen. He even trusted established rumour mongers when it came to any news concerned about life and death. 

He would plan things meticulously. He had complete faith on his travel plan. He would plan his travel as if was in war room, where he had to think which route to take and which road to avoid. He was not a person who would take chances. He would advice people that when it is question of death never take a chance. Because, he would say death always looks for a chance and never ever give her any.

That day in summer of 1997, he had to visit neighbouring village for some ordinary work, when he accidentally found himself in a position that provided death a chance. He regretted it later. He regretted it bitterly. He told his friends that it was not an urgent work for which he had come out of his house. He told friends that he should have walked away when he saw a military vehicle stopping near him. He was furious what he did. He was angry with himself for what he did. He wept for what he did. He knew what he did. He provided death a chance. And she did not miss it. 

That day when he ventured out of his house, he walked to the main chowk. There he met his old friend and he started discussing something ordinary with him. Friends when meet they always discuss ordinary things in extraordinary fashion. It was sunny day. He was in high spirits and he was with his old friend. What else you need in life!

He was in his late forties. He had a number of apple orchids. He was rich. He had a beautiful wife and two sons and two daughters. Life was kind to him. Only thing that marred his smooth life was his thinking. His thinking was confined around the death. He was obsessed with the death. He would always ask, why people die and why should they die and why they die after all? What is this life all about if one has to die one day?

He was least concerned about what happen to a body of a person after he dies. It was immaterial to him even though he was very religious person. He was more concerned about why a human being becomes a mere body after he dies. Death, he would always think is a serious business. ‘Why people take it so lightly?” he would complain. Death was end in itself for him. He was always trying to devise a plan how to avoid the death.

While he was in deep conversation with his friend, he saw a military vehicle stopping at some distance from him. It did not perturb him. It did not make him nervous. He continued his discussion with his friend. At the same time something unusual happened. That changed course of his life. Forever. Some ten minutes after the army vehicle stopped on the road a big explosion was heard and he was injured. Someone had lobbed a hand grenade toward the army vehicle. The grenade missed the target and rolled down to the place where he was talking to his friend. The grenade exploded near them. The explosion left his friend unhurt but a splinter hit back side of his head. He was rushed to Srinagar hospital.

For three days after he got injured, he was assuring his friends and relatives that he would not die. It is a minor injury, I will be fine, he told his journalist friend in feeble voice trying to assure himself more than to his friend. 

Next day he implored his friends, “please save me from death.” "I don’t want to die. Please do something,” he told them. After three days his friends say that he went into coma and died.