It has become my habit to note the dates of all important events of history and the present day; especially people’s dates of birth. I calculate their ages to present day and compare their ages with my own age and my date of birth. Winston Churchill was born on 30 November 1874. My uncle was born on 7 June 1974, hundred years later than the Prime Minister. I keep on comparing the dates of birth of people with other people in next or previous century. Battle of Austerlitz was fought between the Napoleon’s Grand Army and Russian forces in 1805; two hundred years later, I was sitting in my school reading Oliver Twist. I do it unconsciously and apparently without any reason, I just do it. In my mind, the past time is always enshrouded in mystery and almost every time I think of a dead person, that same instant I pity them. On my way to work, I pass a graveyard full of dead Navy officers, while I am listening to wonderful music I pity them and I don’t know whether it is pride or just happiness that fills my heart at that moment. Sometimes I don’t even notice that graveyard but at other times, I am haunted by its presence. Its always the same, on beautiful sunny winter days, on hot days in May, on rainy days in Monsoon, on dark nights, always the same, calm, serene, sometimes even beautiful but always haunting. I remember Iqbal’s powerful lines from his poem ‘Goristan-e-Shahi’ (The Royal Cemetery).
Why do I pity them? They have passed their times.I wonder some day, one dead man would rise from his grave and bark at me in a fearful voice: ‘Do not pity me, if you were born in my life and had seen me then, you would not have dared look at me like that, I could have seen it in your eyes, I was the king of my life and I was happy and satisfied when I died, don’t you dare look at me like that!’ I still pity the dead people,they have tasted the flavour, may they be bandits or saints, they always have my pity. They may have been more successful, happy and content than I am had they been alive but the blood doesn’t flow in their veins. If I were a beggar, I would be proud of my life when I would see an emperor’s grave.
I realize that all people,whenever they were breathing, have seen the matters of life which I see and deal with today, this hour. Nothing is new. Everything is old. Is there any new emotion, which someone can claim as having discovered himself? But everything that is old for the human race is new for a single human soul. Happiness fills me with pride and gratification. This pride is fake and old. Hardships fill me with sadness. This sadness is ancient. The temporal aspect of things has become clear to my vision. The triviality of every emotion is justified. But if all this is old and stinky, what does the future hold? The same old concepts of happiness and sadness?
It is the temporal aspect of life that makes it worth living. Life is beautiful because it has an end and a beginning. Life is beautiful and a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Happiness and sadness make it beautiful. Rise and fall give it an energy like the waves of the sea, a beautiful gift from The Creator.