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Life After Life

Life After Life

Every country in the world is facing an unprecedented crisis due to pandemic Corona virus. For the last three months we are witnessing rising number of infections and death of human beings in all countries due to Covid 19.  The number of infected people have crossed  37 lakhs and death toll has crossed  2.7 lakhs. The largest number of infections and death are reported from the most advanced countries. While America has recorded more than 70,000 deaths, UK, Italy, France, Spain and many other countries have   lost many thousands of people.   The world is experiencing chaos and death  at every moment .  The deadly virus is snatching away hundreds of lives in India.

Wars, hunger, flu, plague and diseases have killed many more millions of people in the past. But they were confined to some countries or certain sections of people in a country.   Corona virus has become a pandemic and attacks thousands of lives irrespective of their nationality, religion, social status and position.   Several daily labourers   who opted to walk   along the roads to reach their homes  have died  on the way  due to  hunger and exhaustion. They are not included in the death toll recorded every day. Those who run the governments are used to witness death of millions of people due to hunger and various kinds of sickness every day. It doesn’t matter for those who ruled the country in the past and those who rule today.

Initial days when  the deadly virus showed its symptoms  in different parts of the country we were witnessing   death  and destruction caused  by the more deadly virus of  hatred, violence and  communal polarization in  the East Delhi area. While the country is crippled by the attack of pandemic  Covid 19 and many   people  are  infected and killed daily,  it is sad to note that many in the country,  who hold responsible  positions, are busy  spreading  the virus of hatred, prejudice and communal polarization.

Death of thousands has become the order of the day in our country and all over the world;  but many  of us  were shocked by the sad demise of four  persons on the last two days of April .  Film actor Irfan Khan passed away on 29th April after fighting cancer for two years. Within 24 hours we received the sad news of the demise of another great actor Rishi Kapoor . He also was also struggling with cancer for two years. On the same day ,30 th April,  football legend  Chunni Goswami  breathed his last. Goswami led Indian side to victory at the 1962 Asian Games and many other important games.  82 year old suffered a cardiac arrest. On 29th April, oil tycoon  Joy Arakkal who owned  the biggest mansion  in Kerala  committed suicide  by jumping from the 14th story  of a building in UAE . He owned one of the best refineries in the world.  He had  built a mansion of 45,000 square feet in his home town Manathavady, Kerala.  

Rishi Kapoor belonged to a Bollywood dynasty and was patronized by his father Raj Kapoor  and a lot of other  members from the family. With hard work he developed his talent and won the hearts of many by various roles he played in the film.

Irfan Khan came from a humble background. His father had sold tires for livelihood.  By hard work and determination Irfan achieved name and good will of people. Director Vishal Bharadwaj in his tribute said, “He never made a show about anything . Success never changed him”. He won the hearts of people of all faiths and walks of life both by his performance in ‘reel’ life  and also by his authenticity  in real life.

Chunni Goswami also is remembered for his passionate  performance  in the football field  as well as in real life . His friends and fans consider him a legend of Indian foot ball.

While three legendary persons passed away leaving their legacy behind them  the business  tycoon fell from his glory. While Irfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor were battling with cancer they were giving positive vibrations to all around.  Rishi who made his fans laugh and enjoy throughout his films wanted them to continue smiling  even in his last moments. Irfan completed his last film while undergoing treatment for a serious type of cancer. They were people who refused to give up while fighting with deadly cancer.

Joy Arakkal who started as an ordinary employee   in UAE rose to the level of a business tycoon in the UAE by hard work and best use of competence.  A year ago he constructed the biggest mansion in Kerala.  A person who  owned   so  much wealth  and managing  a business empire  could not  manage his personal   stress  and strain which were part of business  and life. He escaped from life by throwing himself from the 14th story of a building. 

The three legendary celebrities and the failed business tycoon would have attracted thousands of people for their funeral. The lockdown rules of Covid 19  restricted the funeral rites   to a minimum of 15 to 20 persons. The media gave plenty of space for all of them. Three celebrities got enough  space for their fans and friends to recall the great memories  and  achievements related to their lives. The defeated business tycoon also got space in Kerala based media not much to inspire many. His rise and fall could provide much food for thought and introspection to many aspiring businessmen about the need to build mental and spiritual stamina which alone can meet the stress and strain of life. 

All who are ambitious to be rich and famous may take lessons of character and simplicity from Irfan Khan as Vishal Bharadwaj  said, “He never made a show about anything. Success never changed him”.  It is important to make the maximum efforts to touch the skies, yet keep the feet on earth.  In the midst of wealth, prosperity and popularity many forget their roots. While developing competence it is equally important to develop character to guide once competence. The tragic end of Joy Arakkal may be due to his failure to build the strength of character to withstand stress and strain.

While struggling to achieve fame and success one has to ask himself/herself: For what people should remember me after my death? How many people should remember me? How long should they remember me?  These questions will give focus to our life, values and priorities.   Each one should ask every day, ‘will my absence matter to anybody?’

The words of Martin Luther King Jr. will help us to set our priorities and focus in life: “If you have not identified the cause for which you should die, you have no reason to live”.   

(Published on 11th May 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 20)