Let me live, before the last evening of my life…
– Dr. Arkanil Gain, New Delhi
People say that Human life is one of nature’s most beautiful creations. From inception, we have run through miles after miles and traverse endless dimensions of space and time, to make a mark on this earth, and, to make our lives more and more polished and luxurious with the magical touch of ever-evolving technology. We now have everything at the tip of our fingers. We wake up wrapped up with our gadgets and move our soul to the rhythm of this world’s breathtakingly fast pace.
In this article, I want to share a few of my reflections while working in palliative care for the past few years. During this time, I have grown both professionally, and internally as a human being. My patients have taught me or rather reminded me that while we are caught up in the innumerable happenings of the world, we must be appreciative of our life and our being.
So, “Tell me something, are you truly happy in this modern world?”
In a world filled with diversity and joy, music and laughter, grace and creations, strawberry and lemonades, at the end of each day, we find ourselves stranded in the crossfire of set standards and protocol, agony and anguish, distress and dilemmas. Everything on this earth gets celebrated apart from “Human Life”. At some point or the other, we have all received appreciation for our achievements, awards, glory, assets and many other earthly things, but we forgot to appreciate the little things, like the window beside our balcony which allows the warm sunlight to peep onto our desks. We forget to appreciate the taste of the food which our grandmas made for us specially on our birthdays. We forget how we cherished and enjoyed that familiar tune which played every morning from our old radio kept on the table. We forget to visit the playground in which we played when we were once young.
One fine day the lights from our life will start to fade and we may possibly sit on chair at the end of the day, with a glass of wine, only to find ourselves empty and exhausted. Before realizing what we had, we will be on the verge of losing them.
All our success stories, the greatness we achieved, and the respect we earned will be meaningful, only when we choose to have the right state of mind to appreciate and value these things.
I am certain that we have all more or less missed these thoughtful and important reflections. We have been chained to places where we never wished to stay and have been bound to the pressures of those words which we never wished to say. The happiness we so frantically searched for in these earthly things, therefore slipped away from us, right in front of our eyes. We forgot to be grateful to that one basic thing, that we were given a life. We forgot that we are not to lay bricks on the wall with a prefixed pattern of the “so called” achievements, and that we are instead to realize that we were given a life to be lived in and to pave our own pattern. You see, every human brain and heart has its very own beautiful intricacies which are beyond valuation, imitation, and clear of the disgrace of prejudices and curses.
While working in palliative care, I noticed that there was no person who denied the fact that they wanted to live. Yet, they had all gone through the saga of active or passive denials, only to land up in a state of dire distress and of not actually having self-actualization.
On an arbitrary winter / rainy evening, there comes the cries, there goes the apologies to life, and there goes ‘Let me live…. before it’s too late’. I have seen some of them recognize the wearing away of their body, the disintegration of their soul, the calling of the child within them. The calling of “Let me live, before my heart stops! Let me dance to my favorite tune before the last evening of my life sets in”.
About the Author: Dr Arkanil Gain is a second year junior resident (MD in PM) in the Department of Onco-Anaesthesia and Palliative Medicine at AIIMS, New Delhi.
Apart from being a doctor, Dr Gain celebrates his life and living through making music and trying to make the world a better place for everyone he meets. He believes that, “No person on this earth can be devoid of tragedies and distress, we will all have our share of pain and heartbreaks, but at the end of the day, the clock ticks and, the show must go on!”.