Tag Archive: mountains

Positivity Post #9

I wonder sometimes about the fate of humanity. December 21, 2012 is getting closer and closer, and time is running out. Of course, the feeling of impending disaster is only applicable to those who believe in this theory. I don’t care either way. From what I’ve heard, if there is a cataclysm, then all humans will die, and there’s nothing that I can do to stop it: so why worry about it? If nothing happens, the conspiracy theorists and doomsayers will simply come up with a new hypothesis about the way the world will end. So where does the worrying come into play? The answer is simple; it doesn’t. There is absolutely no need to worry about the things which you can’t change. No matter how firmly you proclaim your atheism, all humans have to accept that there are forces acting upon our rock that are much greater than our own. While these forces may not be divine, they can certainly be all-encompassing. We are told in our childhood that all humans are made of cosmic material and that is true; the elements found within our bodies are also found within stars. Our seasons, our tides, even the effect upon our bodies by our Moon, are all events that we cannot control. Even though we can’t control them, we don’t worry about them, although they do affect us adversely at some times. Similarly, why should we be worried about the course that nature has planned for us? The Earth, its flora and fauna, its mountains, volcanoes, oceans, and glaciers, have all been around for billions of years before the evolution of humans, and they will continue to exist for millennia after we are gone. We are an inconsequential addition to the mass of this planet, so we should not worry ourselves about its fate. An asteroid the size of a continent could be on a collision course with Earth at this very moment, and we would be powerless to stop it. Our Sun could have sent out a massive solar flare, capable of disrupting electronic communications worldwide, and we wouldn’t even know until 8 minutes later, by which time it would be too late to take any action. The world might come to an end in 2012, or it might not. In either case, we should spend more time with our loved ones, as much as we can, so that we do not feel regret when our time finally, indubitably, arrives.

New Year.

Before I begin, I would like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year, and I hope that they achieve any and all goals that they set for themselves in this coming time.

It’s been a long time since I made my last post, and there are a number of reasons for this, which I will explain.

The year 2010 was filled with sadness for me, from the beginning to the end. There were some happy moments, but sadness was still, unfortunately, prevalent. It began with the death of my grandfather near the beginning of February. He was suffering from prostate cancer, and had been bedridden since October of 2008. Normally a very active man, this confinement would have come as a great discomfort to him. He lived in India with the rest of my family, where he was a logger. He would first go out into the forest every day, in the mountains, and walk about 40 kilometres one way to his site, where he would select certain trees for tapping. After extracting the sap over the course of a few days, he would then select trees to be cut down. Now, it is a Hindu superstition that trees should not be cut down, because they are the givers of all life. This superstition has been around for centuries, and we now know that trees produce oxygen, which, indeed, gives us life. When my grandfather got sick in 2008, he was rushed to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with stage-four prostate cancer. However, he was never told of this diagnosis. Instead, he was told to rest in bed until he felt better. Our entire family knew about his illness, except for him. They later told me that he was not a strong willed man; had he known about this terminal disease, he would have given up all hope. When we met him in August of 2009, he was weak, frail beyond all belief. Gone was the man who had walked among the trees in the mountains with a confident stride. Instead, all that remained was a sick old man, who could not even walk 20 steps without the help of a cane. So advanced was his disease, yet no one told him about it. In hindsight, I believe that he knew about it, or at least guessed that he was not going to get any better. Any human will guess their condition if they have not been able to leave their bed in almost a year. I spent as much time with him as I could, and he gave me a piece of advice that I will remember forever; there are more people on this planet who will lead you onto the wrong path, than there are people who will lead you onto the correct one. Therefore, he said, you must cherish any and all the people who choose to take the time out of their own lives in order to help you create a better one for yourself. When we left him at the end of August, I knew, along with my parents, that this was the last time that we would see him alive. In my memory, I try not to remember the emancipated skeleton that he became due to his disease. I try to remember the strong man who would carry me around on his shoulders all day when I was a child. His wish was for me to become successful in life; I shall not disappoint.

Fast-forward through an eventful year to November 30, 2010. This is the day that the son of my favourite aunt was born. Everyone in my family was extremely excited, because my aunt had only been married for little more than a year. Gifts were bought, phone calls exchanged, congratulations posted on Facebook, the whole deal. But that all changed soon.

On December 13, 2010, the lives of my aunt, her husband, and their son were taken in a brutal car accident by a drunk driver. Our happiness was burst like a bubble. Gone were the smiling faces of my family. Gone were their good moods, and the plans for Christmas and New Year’s parties. Instead, we packed our bags and were on a plane to India the next day. We didn’t know much about the accident, only that it was a collision between two cars. When we arrived in India, I was told by my mother that no one had yet told my aunt’s mother that she was no more; only that she was in a hospital. Once again, my relatives in India did not believe that she would be able to take such a shock, as they did with my grandfather. We arrived in India on the day of her funeral, which we were unable to attend. When we went to visit my aunt’s mother (my grandmother) a few days later, I was shocked to see how weak she had become since the death of her daughter. Mother and daughter used to do everything together. In fact, they were together on the day of the accident, during which they had lunch and enjoyed their time together. My grandmother went home by bus, because she had to go to a different place than my aunt was going with her family, and I believe that if she had gone with my aunt, she would have also passed away. The fact is, my grandmother had also had a serious accident 3 years ago, during which my aunt had nursed her back to health single-handedly over the course of 4 months. This only deepened their connection with each other.

Over the course of our stay with my grandmother, we got to know more details about the crash from my aunt’s brother. Details such as the fact that the other driver was drunk, driving rashly, and had done drugs came to light. I learned that my uncle had been travelling at a safe speed of 60 kph, for my aunt had still not recovered from giving birth to her son. At a rest stop, she switched seats with her sister-in-law, who had been sitting in the front seat. My aunt sat in the front seat, called her brother and told him that she was going to sleep, and that she would call him when she got home. She gave the baby to her sister-in-law to hold in the backseat (because there are no carseats for children there), and fell asleep. About 7 kilometres from their home, a large truck approached them in the oncoming lane. My uncle did not see this as a cause for worry, and he kept driving. Behind the truck was the drunk driver, going at a speed of 120 kph. Now, roads in India aren’t like the roads in North America; there are no dividers in between the opposite lanes, and there are almost no rules to speak of. To overtake large vehicles, drivers honk their horns to alert the truck in front, and then proceed to pass. This is what the drunk driver did. He honked, and swerved into the lane in which my uncle was driving. Witnesses say that there was a horrific crash, and that it was so forceful that the radiators in both cars exploded out from under the hoods. So forceful was the impact that my uncle’s car flew off the road and onto the grassy, unpaved portion, about 5 meters away. My uncle was killed instantly, the steering column having smashed his jaw. My aunt died on the spot as well, from a brain hemorrhage. Her child was pressed against the shoulder and chest of her sister-in-law; his death came from internal bleeding caused by the fracture of almost all of his ribs. The sister-in-law survived, however, as did the driver of the other vehicle, with broken limbs.

When someone you know and love is old, sick, and weak, you are expecting their death. That’s not to say that you want them to die. I’m saying that you’re prepared for an old man to pass on, both physically and psychologically. However, when an entire family, whose oldest member is only 25 years old, is wiped out by a careless driver, you start to sink into shock. The people that you talked to a week ago, a day ago, a few minutes ago, are now gone, and they will never return to you. The pain that one feels is so damaging, that it is safe to say the affected individuals are never the same again. And in all honesty, how can they be? An old woman just lost her daughter in the prime of her life, an older brother just lost his baby sister, 4 children just lost a beloved aunt, and countless friends just lost a near and dear one. It makes you start to wonder about how much we really value our lives as individuals.

Our home in India is in a city in the mountains; there is a narrow, almost two-lane road, that leads to it. Whenever we go to India, I keep count of all the possible accidents that we avoid. This time, I counted 15, in a 3-week period. We were almost run off the road by a truck, almost had a head-on collision with another car, almost got run over by a large truck driving in a thick fog without headlights, to name a few. It made me realize that I have lost the value of life by living in a developed country. In Canada, we hear about people getting in car accidents, and getting injured or killed, in the news on a daily basis, but we cannot relate to the suffering that these families are put through unless it happens to one of our own. We have become so desensitized to these issues by daily media that when it happens to us, it affects us profoundly. After the death of a loved one, we rush to their houses, no matter where they may be, in order to console the people that they left behind, and in our case, to meet with my aunt’s in-laws for the first time. Why can’t we rush in the same way when these people are alive? Why can’t we take the time out of our lives to go and meet these people and enjoy life with them? The answer is simple: because we take life for granted. We, as humans, feel safe in our little corner of the universe, and we believe that we cannot be harmed by anyone. Each of us has felt invincible at some point in our lives; it’s the same feeling that drives thousands of men and women to war every year. Once a friend or family member passes away, we start to realize what we’re truly missing in life. Personally speaking, my biggest fear is to die with regrets, without completing everything that I set out to do. After the death of a person who was so close to me, I discovered all the moments that we should have spent together, that we will never have the opportunity to spend together again.

My biggest regret is that, in over a year of her marriage, I never even met her husband, my uncle. How do you grieve for someone you do not know? I talked to him on the phone, sure, but the man is gone now, and I will never see him in my life.

So to all the people who have read through my anecdote, my main message is this. Live life to the fullest, and accomplish all the goals that you set for yourself. Don’t ignore anyone, or cut anyone out of your life; forgive and forget. Life is too short to be lived in seclusion. Life is too precious to be kept to yourself. Share your life with your friends and your family, because you never know when the day is coming when you wake up to a phone call saying  you can never share with them again.