Cheating Death

As I sat in the auto today morning, the driver upon anticipating a heavy rush, wheezed through a narrow gully that seemed to be lost into oblivion. The acrid smoke of someone’s kitchen fire, the oozing moist vapors of freshly prepared tea in the dingy tea stall, and the familiar dark cloud of smoke from the narrow pipe of a rickety jeep passing by, seemed to create a tiny smoky world of their own.


I was lost in my own world. The relentless honking, the frivolous banter between strangers, the infinite shades of dust rising from the earth and the countless unknown faces, each treading through the thin rope of life’s uncertainties failed to amuse me. I was lost in my own miseries after all.


The emaciated auto danced its way to the end of the gully, creating a funny creaking sound, each time its wheel jumped into the open mouth of the pot hole. The sound too, failed to amuse me; it was the tune of monotony for me, almost like the creaking sound of broken dreams that emerged out from me every now and then.


The auto with bated breath passed beside the dilapidated gates of a crematorium and halted for a while owing to the long line of vehicles ahead of it.


A lonesome funeral pyre burned at a distance, as the people related to the deceased chatted away while standing near the gate.

The smell of the burnt human flesh filled that area. The morning air seemed to fan the fire, gently lulling the soul to a deep sleep till the next time it arrived on the face of the earth with the shrill cry. I looked at the hungry flames, having strokes of yellow to amber, engulfing one more human from the face of the earth in all its glory. My eyes shifted to the strewn flowers, earthen pots, crumpled clothes and the bamboo mat of the deceased, that lay listlessly near the pyre.


I too shall burn like this someday, I wondered as I traced the surface of my phone. All the demons dancing within my head shall be quiet that day. All my miseries which are burning my own being will leap out of my body and unite with the flames of the pyre to burn my existence. In the hungry flames, my existence will shift to oblivion.


“It won’t happen!” a soft voice whispered into my ears. I jolted back to reality, turning to find the middle aged lady beside me, blabbering something in her sleep. It certainly wasn’t her. The auto in the meanwhile was moving forward like a famished snake.


The soft voice continued.


”Death is an end for those who trade their dreams with their self-centered existence and lust for materialistic pursuits. For those who escape this track, become tricksters of the greatest kind: they cheat death, their existence becomes far greater than their physical bodies. An artist who has touched the life of others selflessly will not cease to exist so easily as cheating death is the greatest trick an artist masters.”


The voice stopped abruptly as I gaped like a confused toddler, mulling at the abstruse thoughts that had unexpectedly hit me like a bullet train.


The auto driver crooned the song of a long gone lyricist, spreading it like a perfume to the ears, as the auto gathered pace, leaving behind the lonesome funeral pyre.


The soft voice had spoken the truth.The lyricist had indeed cheated death.



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