life is so short – a glimpse, a glance, a fleeting moment. from the moment we are born to the moment we die, we flip through our moments like we flip through pages of a very thin and very endearing book filled with hurt, love, pain, joy, sorrow, success, failure, and all that ever comprises the journey of a lifetime.

when we hear of someone’s passing, we grieve for three days. we open our hearts and find in our days the time to sit down and remember the deceased like never before. another irony of life (among its many other ironies) – the deceased often collect our affections more than the living.

upon hearing of someone’s passing, my mother sighs and whispers khatam shud – what could loosely be translated as, “the end in its entirety.” in the famous anthology haroun and the sea of stories, salman rushdie titles one of his stories “khatam-shud,” in which the main villain is exactly that: khatam-shud. he is the great prince of silence. the ultimate foe of speech. and so is death. death is very much the princely being that rules in silence; rules forĀ silence. and all speech ceases in its deathly wake.

if death, then, is the prince of silence and the foe of speech, life must be the queen of clamor, of noise, of laughter, of cries and shrill agitation that comes with the buzzing flow of blood in our veins and the beating of hearts that beat and thud and crawl through micro seconds to make it to the next beat just to never ever succumb to the wrath of silence…to the silence of death. inevitable as death may be, the sheer exhilaration of being alive and being present in every moment, every microsecond is the very thing that humans exist for.

is it not strange and cruelly funny that at any moment, without warning, our heart could stop. no alert, no goodbye, no farewell, no decency or formality to say, “so long, friend?” – just khatam shud. and we cease to exist.

in its fragility, then, life is so precious and so heartbreaking.

how is it that life itself is so loving and heartbreaking at the same time?

go on then. pay attention to the beating of your heart. each thump is a dot, and when you peace together the dots one day, your eyes that have seen so many wonders of this beautiful world will behold the morse code that says, “the end is nigh.”

the end is nigh.