ThE LiViNg mE
A richly vascularized brain lies naked to public view.
Like they say "here the dead revels to educate the living ..."
Shining, red , innocently living , its cells yet to reconcile to its corporal end. Like a new-born freshly extracted out of the womb it lay helplessly on the dissection board to the mercy of fellow humans while the digital documenter (just a flashy name for a photographer..! dont bother) clicks away with an unkind zeal to capture its last living moments for the archives!
I stood distracted and wondered if could remember anything - those innocent days of childhood, the sensation of its first kiss, the vicious schemes it had hatched , the feel of a refreshing breeze.... anything at all ? Or has it flushed it all away - a lifetime of memories of love, hurt , kinship, hope and sorrow....? Does it even see the tears of its family ? Can it feel their pain of separation ? Can it realise how much someone will miss the person it used to be ?
A stream of crimson blood silently trickles down its sulci and spreads over the board.Wonder whether its weeping at the pitious end of its worldly existence is it its lifeblood breaking free from the cage of its flesh and bones...?! Is this how "I" ends? ...Its ego smothered , its identity annihilated just because its body has given in to some terminating forces?
Suddenly I feel I am not sitting alone in this pathology museum. Each brain section preserved around me has a story of a lifetime to tell...of love, success, pain and betrayal .The paraffins just managed to trap a silly piece of organic material but the "self" has slyly slipped away ....
Its humbling to realize that all of us good bad or ugly will one day meet the same fate -
"to dust thou shall turn " but thats not the point . What bothers me is whether the definition of life is really confined to the display of some vital signs ? Is death really so full and final?
I find myself split into two - my head tells me memory is a hippocampal electrical phenomenon and the limbic system is the seat of all emotions but something in me likes to believe that we are much beyond that.What is this independent voice inside that promises me that I shall not die with my death ? Who is it ? Where does it come from and where does it go ?
If our brain and body is what we are, then why does the friend I made over the internet whom I have never shared physical space with seem more real than my reality? Why is it that I connected to just that one face in my whole class in college? Dont tell me its just because the electrical signals in our brains matched frequency !! Why do we sometimes at first meet feel we've known someone all along ? There is no preconditioning of the brain in such cases. Why does our brain which functions on economising principles even bothers to segregate these so called input signals into pockets of emotion related declarative memory and motor function based procedural memory if it has to bulk trash it at death? I like to think its our mortal brain's survival strategy beyond time and space, its visa to eternity ...
But I wonder if that timeless part torn away from it physical case ever misses its body ? Does it ever crave for a warm hug or just a gentle human touch ...? Does it see that its grandson has the same curve of the nose it used to ? Does it see that its loved ones have moved on in their lives ? What is eternity worth if you stagnate with just a bagful of old memories and dont create new ones ? What is it worth if it succumbs to time ?
You and I may never know .But what I do know is that the next time it rains , I will definitely go out for a walk , hands outstretched,my barefeet feeling the wet soil, my skin feeling the gentle prick of falling drops , my senses filled with the aroma of geosmin ... because for all I know its my only chance ...............