22 October, 2008

Fear of Death

The bus was fully loaded. I got into the bus and started moving inside. As the conductor was keen on accomodating more passengers, he was keeping on shouting to move. I almost went near the driver’s seat. This was a private bus running in the suburbs of Chennai. The conductors were paid commission according to the sales.

I looked around. It was very crowded. There were huge baskets near the gear box and the driver yelled at those villagers who had kept them. They moved it a bit and in the newly found space another villager went and sat. Loud music was being played. It was another latest hit (those days) by Ilaiyaraja. It was hot and humid morning. You cannot expect the people around to have used the world class perfumes. Since it was morning the sweat smell of people around was bearable. It was interesting to hear the driver and conductor’s comment at each and every stop. There were funny characters doing their own comics. After all villagers are very innocent. There was a level crossing and the gates at level crossing went down. The bus stopped at the gates.

I kept observing the people around and it all happened suddenly. The villager before me suddenly started showing some signs of pain on his body. He closed is eyes and started making gestures. He could not speak. He started beating his chest. I noticed this, and started enquiring the man calmly. Slowly everyone started noticing and were offering their own treatments. I looked for symptoms of heart attack. I asked him, one by one and the man constantly said that he felt a kind of blockage in his chest. Suddenly a lady offered her water bottle and other passengers asked him to have it slowly. He started showing little improvement. Again he started beating his chest and I requested him not to do it.

The railway gates opened and I requested the driver to stop in the nearby town so that he could be attended. The patient started getting scared. He thought he is going to die and started crying. He was not ready to listen to me. He wanted to rush to see his family before he could breathe last. I listened to all his symptoms and was not sure whether it was heart attack. Since the bus was full of villagers, they all thought he is very serious and carried him to a Doctor in the next stop. I could see him improving within those 10 minutes. He said he was better before getting off the bus and thanked me for all the comfort. I wished him to recover soon. I could remember the fear on his face for those few minutes. Since I had very important job to be done, and there were sufficient people to take care of him, I continued my journey. After a week or so, I travelled by the same bus and the same gentleman was there smiling. He came and held both of my hands and thanked me for all the help offered. He said that he went to Doctor immediately, and it was nothing but some kind of Gastric problem. After this I used to see him very frequently in the same area and he became alright. But I could not forget those fearful moments he had. Fear of death!

When I was in my early teens, I was attending a function in a local temple. It was dark and we were doing some service to the devotees. Suddenly I felt something biting my legs and shook my legs so hard and there was a Scorpion. My friends found it in dark and screamed. They immediately killed it and each started screaming something. Sekar, my childhood friend, who was exposed to all these creatures due to his farming background, immediately said that if it had bitten me I may be in danger. On hearing those words I started feeling bad and felt that I was losing my senses. I could hear all the friends screaming. I requested to be taken home and wanted to see my mother. Since each one were telling something, I thought I will die soon. I was given first aid and some elderly gentleman who was in the temple, saw the bitten place on my foot and said that the Scorpion had just started to climb my foot and I had kicked my leg immediately. He was my saviour since he said that I need not worry and will be alright soon. Still I wanted to rush home and see my family. Those fearful moments ! I experienced the fear of death.

Years have rolled by. Now I have experienced quite a lot in life. This has given so much of maturity. Still being in the mid-life this fear is trying to conquer the mind now and then. Fear of death! Will I die soon? What should I do quickly if I know some symptoms? I am not afraid. But cannot be brave to face it.

I started analysing death and why we are afraid of death?

It is purely insecurity of mind and thoughts. Everyone who is born has to die one day. But we think that we should be allowed to fulfill certain responsibilities in life and live in full and see every other happening . Life is never full. So why should we be afraid? Death can come to anyone.

This morning when the flight was taking off ( For the past few weeks I have been travelling by flights instead of Train. Believe me or not! The flight tickets are cheaper than the train sometimes and so I have booked them in advance!) I felt some heart burning sensation. I remembered the villager and his sufferings whom I have seen atleast 25 years before. Laughed to myself! Stroked my chest and realised that I did not have proper sleep last night. Still it was gloomy and closed my eyes and kep listening to all the announcements. Looked through the windows and saw the milky clouds. Wondered how funny it would be if I could see some people walking in the clouds clad in heavenly dresses as seen in old devotional Indian films.

The pilot announced that there may be severe turbulence and informed us about the usual stuff. Suddenly the plane started jerking. Everyone became aware about the jerks. I felt that I was travelling by a local corporation lorry in Chennai. It was so noisy and everyone were laughing. I wished that the laughter remains as laughter and does not turn into screamings. Suddenly the Air-hostess rushed to one lady, and helped her in changing the seat. I held the seat before me tightly. I felt like I was swinging. In such situations, nobody has any control except the pilot. I realised what a responsible job it is! After few more minutes of cradle journey, it calmed down.
Once the plane touched the ground everyone were relieved.

I laughed to myself and walked away and looked back.

The plane was remaining there and was getting ready for the next journey.


uma kumar said...

first time in ur blog
nice and geniune posts

Balaji S Rajan said...

Thanks for your visit. Hope you enjoyed. Thanks for your comments as well. Please keep visiting and exchange your sincere thoughts.

ambi said...

//if I could see some people walking in the clouds clad in heavenly dresses as seen in old devotional Indian films.

LOL :) probably ramba, menaka or urvasi...? :)))

Fear of death is worser than death i think. one nite i was travelling to madurai from chennai. mine was very front seat almost near to driver. around 2 am i lost my sleep and i saw one speedy lorry trying to overtake an bus opp to us almost came to hit us.

our driver smartly controlled over the situation. no body came to know this on that moment except me, driver and conducter of course. i restricted myself to scream on that moment to avoid panicking rest of the pple.

while departing, i thanked the driver (usually i do in my all travelling except in trains where i could not find the engine driver he hee).
He told, "sir i too have a family"

what a words...?

Advance happy diwali. :)

Kavi said...

many years ago, i was bitten by a snake and was in hospital ! I somehow didnt think of dying as much of the next day's cricket match that i would be missing !

I guess perspectives change in life so much !

Between all the busy plane landings and turbulence, please do find time to write ! reading what you write is not only refreshing, but also energising !

I was addressing a class of MBA studentsthe other day. And was speaking to them about interesting people i meet. I told them that some of them are beyond interesting : they touch you and propel you to do something more.

You were also talked about !

Great to have found you here. And wishing you a happy Deepavali. And turbulence free journeys !

Vinisha said...

I was too young to be afraid of death when I first became aware that people around are afraid of dying... so much so that some choose to rush through their responsibilities. Personally I have seen my own mother barely enjoying some things in life because she was afraid.

If you think about it, it's just a fear. And of all the things fear can make us not do, the worst is that fear stops us from
living. There's no greater regret at the time of death, methinks.

Yes, we have responsibilities. But the thing most of us forget is that at the end of day, it's just a responsibility. The greatest human strength is survival. We all can survive.

I taught my mom a little bit about survival. Previously, the afraid to venture out lady, today, had learned how to venture out and experience everything, even something she thought was completely out of her reach - technology. Computer Savvy, Mobile Savvy :) I am proud of her.

I consider teaching survival is the best and the greatest responsibility. That's one thing that won't bother me when I am dying. :)

What do you think?

arvindh said...

Dear Balaji,
I am yet to read the post. Just wanted to write a quick note to say that I shall resume blogging shortly. Thank you for enquiring.
Warm regards,

ambi said...

where is my comment..? :(

Ravi said...

Balaji Sir, what a post! I could almost see each scene in front of my eyes. The thrill was evident in your writing. I have also heard a couple of stories (not sure of its authenticity though) where people have claimed to have re-entered their body and death.

Jeevan said...

Sometimes thinking or feeling neither bad nor sick gives fear of losing. Yes, of course I fear of death, because I love to live as everyone does. After 25 years! u have good memories dear and your describe brought the scene to imagine. When we get to feel symptoms, we remember those suffering by someone we come across and match the incident to fear. I wish you have save traveling on plane, enjoying as well.

Suchin Keralapur said...

balaji, your incidence reminded me of my mother waking up in the middle of the night complaining chest pain. she was not able to breathe. i was woken up and only thought that came to my mind was that she must have had gastric trouble. nothing else came to my mind. i didnt believe she would have heart attack. first thing i did was to rub her back from neck to her lower hip gently with slight pressure. after a while she started to burp. that eased her breathing. she was feeling a lot better and relieved.

it was good of you to help the old man in the bus. they are very ignorant of certain things and as you rightly said, no matter what, old age or young, we fear death :D

Balaji S Rajan said...


So nice to hear that you thanked the driver. Nobody realises this. The driver keeps awake and brings everyone safe.

Thanks for your kind words.

Balaji S Rajan said...


I do not know what to say. You have made my day through your comments. I should thank the technology for having got to know a nice person like you. I am elated on knowing that I was talked in your training to young graduates.

Let us all jointly keep expressing our thoughts through our blogs and do whatever we could do to this world.

Balaji S Rajan said...


Thanks for visiting after a long time. Keep in touch.

Balaji S Rajan said...


Thanks for your comments. I have also thought about this 'Koodu vittu koodu payarathu'. I do not know whether to believe it. I do not believe in renaissance as well.

Balaji S Rajan said...


We live in a world where we spend our time comparing. You are right. Thanks for your comments.

Balaji S Rajan said...


Sorry to hear about your mom's health. How is she now? Yes.. we do fear of death. I have heard stories from people who went to close to death. They live a new life with more energy.