Do It Now
Learning to face death
In today’s world of instant communication we can reach out to anyone anywhere with the touch of a button. We get impatient if a phone is unreachable or if we don’t get a reply to our sms instantly. We want to update our ‘status’ on Facebook regularly so that our ‘friends’ know what we are doing every moment. We expect immediate and continuous communication from those we love or care for.
One breakdown of communication, death, is what it was even a thousand years ago – irreversible. What happens when your phone or Internet just cannot reach your beloved, who has passed on beyond this world?
We have all heard the proverb “nothing is certain except death.” Even this proverb we don’t remind ourselves too often – because death is one topic that we would rather not talk about. There are people who almost believe that talking about death hastens its arrival! Knowing that it is 100% guaranteed, is it not better to prepare oneself both mentally and physically for our own death and for the death of a loved one?
Having seen innumerable people breaking down miserably on bereavement, having observed families being broken apart on the death of a patriarch who did not leave a Will, I am a strong believer that Facing Death should be taken up as a vital life skill which should be taught to children, adults and the elderly. If it cannot be done in an organized way, we can certainly do it individually over a period of time.
By Ali Khwaja
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Leading Banjara Academy's online email counselling team of volunteer-counsellors, I realize it is not an easy task reaching out to a person one has never met, never seen, without the added advantage of gestures, eye contact, a gentle reassuring touch, tone of voice and yet providing empathy, positive strokes, making the person feel heard and understood.
With the aid of only written words, it is quite a task building trust, making people open up and share and helping them cope and feel better. So when in many instances they write back saying thank you and that they feel so much better, the feeling one gets is priceless and incomparable - knowing one has done something right, something good!
Hats off to all the volunteeer-counsellors of Banjara Academy who have been carrying on this work silently, anonymously for the last couple of years. Truly commendable! - Sreedhar MA