In the frenzy that follows a celebrity death or any horrifying end to a well-known personality, the Freuds, Sherlocks and Devi Shettys of society come out of the woodwork to voice their expert opinions. News channels and social networking sites are full of messages trying to make sense of the seemingly inexplicable death.
It was the same with actress Sridevi’s sudden demise. When the cardiac arrest theory was mooted, we were all taken aback. Here was a lady who apparently took care of her health, while a cardiac arrest which is associated with stress, cholesterol, unhealthy diet and lack of exercise did not fit into the scheme of things. Neither did accidental drowning, for we were not sure how a grown up could drown. Suddenly, we started thinking incessantly about this conundrum. Speculation was rife and improbable theories were floated around, for, we wanted answers here. We were seemingly left with a round peg and all that was in front of us were square holes and we did not want to leave any explanations to the realm of the unknown. All of us pride ourselves on being rationalistic with a scientific bent of mind.
The need to find ready-made answers extends from the recent incident to the cause and cure for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. All of this angst boils down to the fact that we as human beings refuse to accept that we play a miniscule role in this universe.
Our grandparents regaled us with tales that tried to cement the belief that all events are predetermined and therefore inevitable. They tried to din into us the values of right and wrong through the concept of heaven and hell. The fear of God was put into us. Unfortunately, we learnt to scoff at these ideas perched as we were from our vantage position of having higher levels of education and inquisitive minds. We started feeling and believing that most outcomes in our lives rested solely with our own actions. Hence, we base our opinions and actions on reasoning and knowledge rather than on an overarching religious or spiritual belief system.
No wonder, the nation has been trying to make sense of the death of an otherwise healthy soul. It would have been much easier if she had been suffering from any malaise that most middle-aged people seem to be afflicted with or had led a sedentary lifestyle. Even the subsequent report about her accidental death was played and replayed to see how it was feasible for a healthy grown up woman to drown in a bathtub. We all seem to forget the very definition of the term accident. Instead of passing positive vibes to the family, we ensured that we tormented the loved ones of the departed soul to find answers to suit our thought patterns.
This is not the first time we are left with an incorrect peg, yet there is a need in us to over-simplify things
Having been closely associated with cancer and its aftermath, I feel extremely sad when I have some “well-meaning” souls who believe that the disease is of your own making.
Imagine a life where the lifesaving drug makes you often wonder at the futility of it all as you are left enervated, financially depleted, not even having ‘hair’ to call your own, and at this juncture, you are forwarded inane messages of a doctor who says that turmeric and lemon can stave off all types of cancer and that all you have to do is to remove the IV drip that is feeding you the drug and start ingesting turmeric and lemon and and lo and behold, all will be well in your cancerous world. When the future stretches out like an unending abyss, people are advised to keep their thoughts positive besides partaking turmeric! If negative thoughts causes cancer, I always wonder how newly born children are afflicted of the same disease. Positivity will help you fight the battles but to infer that the disease is of your own making is cruel to say the least.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have people who are living life as one would, if they had discovered the magic of immortality. They are hoarding enough to last them for this lifetime and beyond. We all forget somewhere in our life and in the way that we live that there is not much that is actually under our control though we all believe that we are invincible.
There is a world of a difference between being fatalistic in our approach and trying to be overly rationalistic and determined to find reasons for everything that we face. There is simply no answer for many things in our lives. All religious scriptures teach us to accept life as it comes, but our innate distrust does not allow us to put our fate into the hands of the unknown. The key here is to be realistic and to accept the consequences after putting in our best efforts. Needless to say, it’s easier said than done. Despite the fact that we all enjoy Doris Day’s song, Que Sera Sera, whatever will be, will be, we look for answers everywhere and in everything forgetting to live today in the best way possible.
When Rajesh Khanna spouted, Hum sab toh rangmanch ki kathputhliyan hain jinki dor uparwale ki ungliyon main bandhi hain, (We are mere puppets in the world’s stage, the string of which is entwined around the thumb of the one above) he wasn’t wrong. Many a time, all that we are seemingly left with are pegs that do not fit anywhere. Maybe, we need to hold on to them and hope that we will be able to fit them as and when life unfolds.
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