I Am Dead. What Next?

Monday, January 10, 2011

(Hindi Version मेरे मरने के बाद) 
From Times of India, Jan 7, 2011:
News Story #1: A middle-aged man was killed and his wife suffered serious injuries when they were thrown off the moving train by the train ticket examiner (TTE)
News Story #2: Parijat Banerjee was so engrossed in a cell phone conversation that he tripped on the balcony grill of his seventh-floor apartment and plunged to his death.
New Story #3: The 75-year-old mother-in-law of the advocate general of Punjab was found raped and murdered in her house.
News Story #4: The deaths of 18 lakh girl children in India in the past two decades have been linked to domestic violence against their mothers.

Newspapers are so uplifting, really. Unlike Facebook, where people dressed in latest trendy clothes are either vacationing at exotic locales or celebrating birthdays in style, which gives me acute heartburn, though I always ‘Like’ such updates and post comments like—nice, lovely, looking great….

To escape the heartburn and find some solace, I resort to newspapers. It cheers me up a notch to imagine that ultimately everyone will meet the same fate.

“The cologne-drenched and the mud-smeared,
Both eventually burn on funeral pyres,
Whether carried in cheap or expensive urns,
They drift together in river Ganges.”

~ Giribala Joshi (Inspired by James Shirley’s ‘Death The Leveller.’)

As a result of too much news exposure, I have begun to imagine myself dead for the past few days. I can see my near and dear one lamenting over my mortal remains, “What a waste. At least, you should have finished the medicines. As if money grew on trees.”

Then sometimes I worry as to what will happen to my body of which I take care with all my life. What if I were cremated as a Hindu? I am quite averse to burning. So many times I have burnt myself while toying with the convex lens in the sun, and believe me it had always been painful.

I am also anxious, rather terrified, about rebirth. I dread being born as a lowly creature. In past, whenever I stepped on bugs to flatten them to find out the probabilities of different shapes, my brother would say, “You will be a bug in your next life and the bug will be a human, and then it will crush you as you have crushed it.” If I hit a dog with a stone—again to determine the probability—he would say, “In your next birth you will be a dog, and the dog will be…” So on and so forth.

By the way, you can also calculate approximate probability P(x) of any event by the following equation:

P(x) \approx \frac{n_x}{n_t}.

Where nt is the total number of bugs flattened and nx is the number of trials where the shape x is formed.

The Christian and Muslim ways of saying goodbye to this world are no less horrible. My first concern is about worms eating my flesh. They will get all the diseases I have been infected with. Secondly, I have not followed the techniques of securing a place in heaven, hence I would be qualified to exist only in their respective eternal hells, full of fire, brimstone, pain, and suffering. I can’t find any mention of a decent hell in any religion.

My sister, Binodini, suggested that I should donate my body for scientific research. I liked the idea of postmortem philanthropy until I read that such bodies are also used in car-crash simulations.

Can anyone tell which religion was in vogue around 5000 BC in Italy, because the following fossil of a couple in eternal embrace has finally caught my fancy?
Eternal Embrace ( via Archeology)


  1. Great observation, newspapers have only sad stories to tell. No wonder people spend more time on FB.

  2. Just came in the news a story about an air crash in Iran. Death is everywhere. Sigh...

  3. Everyone want to be in Heaven but nobody want to die :) - Anonymous(e)

  4. @Lalit and @Deb: Yes,too many sad stories....
    @Harsh: I like this guy, Anonymous. He always comes up with very witty and intelligent sayings!

  5. I would never imagine myself as dead.Never.

  6. good poem (cant write nice as it doesnt deal with a nice subject..)
    Yeah looking at too many nice pics gives me also acidity :)

  7. LMAO Giribala, this was too good. And when you finally go to hell, you will be blogging about it, right?

  8. Rather newspapers are uplifting. It gives you sense that with all the problems in the world and bad events taking place, one is lucky enough to enjoy FB updates and chicken-do-pyaja not necessarily in the same order.

  9. Read it somwehere...just a bad dream!!!

    The date was correct and the words were spelt right,
    And it really gave me one hell of a fright.
    My name and age in a place none too merry,
    No other spot than today's obituary!

    What a crazy mistake, I thought to myself,
    As I picked up the phonebook from off the shelf,
    To see my own death in the newspaper post;
    It was somewhat bizarre, like being a ghost!

    So I called the newspaper and blasted the chief
    And told him off smartly for causing me grief:
    'It's not very funny, you silly blockhead;
    I wake up one morning and read that I'm dead!'

    'Well tell me, then, is it Heaven or Hell?'
    But before he could answer, the sound of a bell.
    . woke me up to a new working day.
    My alarm clock had startled my bad dream away!!

  10. haha!! Awesome Ma'am. And I can see the Proton Accelerator behind the blog name.

  11. Great post. I was laughing first thing this morning when I sat in front of the computer and that's a good start for the day. So, are you now looking for some religion offering a 'decent' hell?

  12. @BKji: Imagination mein paise nahin lagte!
    @rt: lol at acidity :-D
    @Purba: Great idea! We should look for a hell from where we can blog!
    @sm: thanks :-)
    @Rajesh: Keep enjoying FB updates and chicken-do-pyaja in any order...
    @Deepa: Enjoyed the poem! But I suspect you have composed it yourself :-/
    @Prateek: :-)) Yes, I reached at the LHC looking for Higgs boson.
    @Zephyr: Yes, decent hell is what I am looking for. Have a great day!

  13. Alternative: mummification! Preservatives, and then a solid-steel/titanium coffin with the epitaph: "Here Lies a Lady Who Rests In Peace, And Does Not Like People Prying In. Grave Robbers, there's nothing in here. Move along to my neighbor: he used to own a Rolls."

    But really, I think donating one's body to medical science is a good idea. We can seek solace in the fact that, we'll doing our part in molding the next set of doctors who'll hopefully be competent, for a change.

  14. Hilarious post! Sad but unfortunately true about all the news we hear.

  15. Your article should pose a thought for everybody to seriously think about the karma or samskara theory that goes by "what goes around comes around." Therefore, I've taken up the SahajMarg meditation, which when practiced sincerely, guarantees liberation from this Earth, if not mergence with God! Living in India, one is easily exposed to such sad news everyday via newspapers. It is there in US local newspapers too about rape, murder, and burglery, but with less graphic since only gun is used for murder. Due to lack of easy access to guns, it's so graphic that you feel like throwing up after hearing that slitting throats and stabbing are so common in India even for petty crimes. Corruption to the tune of lakhs of crore rupees, then doing hush hush where that news finally never surfaces [this happens when a non-corrupt official is forced to take money otherwise threatened to transfer or even kill wife &/or kids.] Everyday, I pray for them and tend to think what would happen in their [culprits'] next life! Who knows if the present day beggars/insects/animals could be those culprits in their past lives!

  16. Wow, I almost gulped everything on this monster when I first sighted it in TOI.

  17. @Rindo: The first one is a great idea, but I am afraid common people would start emulating me and the world would become full of mummies....
    @gargi: thanks! The sad news are never ending.
    @Satish: Good analyzing! Yes, the crimes and criminals are same everywhere. But Karma theory is a big FAIL. People should get justice in the same life.
    @Prateek: Same pinch, Prateek....I too gulped everything from CERN website!

  18. Newspapers try to create a sensation out of everything. There should be a balance between positive and negative news.

  19. Early in our childhood, we stayed in a house whose terrace offered a glimpse to a famous crematorium on the banks of the Holy Ganges. Disturbed by the phenomenon I nearly became a hermit at a tender age! Overtaken by the finality of death I kept rationalizing on my way to and from school or lying in the bed before sleep would eventually take over. I eventually decided it didn't matter after you kick the bucket: the river, the pyre, the mourners or the crematorium staff in a hurry to start the next fire.... The world, in effect, comes to an end with you. The world dies with you. The world dies with every human. (And those are my own words and I say this because I remember being accused of plagiarism when I commented on a post with suicidal intent, somewhere on the net!)

  20. Hats off to you, not many can do it...Such a profound disturbing topic laced with wit....I could feel and connect. I hate burns..insects are too creepy, and Ganges is too polluted...Is there no humane way?

  21. @Blognostic: Balance goes to fetch water for sensationalism.
    @Umashankar: Profound thoughts indeed! I suppose you are not afraid of ghosts.
    @Alka: thanks! We are totally dependent on others unless we leave a clear will... :-)

  22. @umashankar what you experienced is not something unique (that does not mean i blame you for plagiarism :-P ) Death as we know it or rather as i know it, sorry i have the habit of speaking on behalf of humanity, haunt greatest minds of our like. Look around you are not alone, entire humanity (sorry again) is prisoners of death.

  23. @Giribala: No, I don't believe in ghosts. Even Shakespeare's ghosts didn't impress me. And I hate people who slink back to their previous lives on pathetic sitcoms.

    @Harsh: Till death do we part, then!

  24. I shall be wary the next time you 'like' something on FB

  25. @Umashankar Everything is in theory after death. And these theories come in different forms - religion, spirituality, philosophy, literature, etc.

  26. @umashankar: You mean those shows, which are shown on India TV?
    @Unhinor: Why single me out :-/
    @Harsh: Such big words! Did you make them up?

  27. Sagar Lakdawala hey i read ur I Am Dead. What Next? its nice its very common in newspaper now a days and u represent it humorous way i really like it keep it up mam god bless u


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