Death Wish

– Srikanth Mantravadi

Does the knowledge that a man is going to die make the event any less painful?

He had a stroke in 2006, when I was in my 9th standard. It was on an unusually sunny May morning, the rays piercing with a strange vengeance like in Garcia’s Macondo that I woke to find myself locked inside an empty house. The dissonance of the morning aside, it was the emptiness in the building that was unnerving. And just then I got a call from my mother. They had saved him, my grandfather, but he was in an ICU. He was, needless to say, a strong man with some presence for his short stature; the baldness giving him a muscularity and ferocity. He had sunk into a stroke at 3 AM and had gone stone cold on the way to the hospital; his heart beating at a surreal 500/300 (A day later we found that he had been neglecting his heart condition; his fortnightly blood pressure readings touching a double hundred. He was a Registered Medical Practitioner; a doctor). Continue reading



Loss is not a number. Thousand Dead. Hundreds Injured. It jolts you. Shocks you. But it is not loss. Loss is in the grief of a lost child’s father, in the pain of a lost wife’s husband, in the unknowing innocence of a lost mother’s child. Loss is in the contemplation of a life ahead, a vast, unending life time ahead, without the warmth of a person; in the useless tears wept, in the memories that corpses leave behind, in the reminisces that taunt, in the unkept promises, in the snuffing out of promise. Human tragedy is in human emotion; not in stone cold, ruthless, soulless numbers. There is no tragedy in a number. Adding one more, or subtracting two, would not make a difference. But even the glimpse of a human story wrings the heart; tears it to pieces. And then you see thousands of other numbers through this human prism. Grief speaks. Tragedy speaks. Destiny speaks. The silence in a thousand homes. The dried tears in a thousand eyes. The denouement.