A Deadly Encounter
A Deadly Encounter
One Sunday morning Life was strolling down the road whistling away a tune of a local ditty. As she reached round the corner ; she spotted Death moving in the same direction. The careless whistle turned into a dreaded whimper as she pressed her back to the wall in order to avoid the piercing glance of the invincible.
"Hi ! Who goes there? Oh its you -Life. How are you?" It was the heavy baritone of Death.
"A-hem so is the end? What am I supposed to do know? Should I shake hands with you or should I leave?" quivered the voice of Life.
"Coward - Coward - you will always remain a coward",thundered Death."Just why are you so very afraid of me especially when we have been together for ages".
" Afraid? Who is afraid of you? Iam not . Who told you so? Don't forget that Iam the guiding force behind every living being . And don't you ever call me a coward".
"Guiding force ,my foot. Don't you fool me? I know you in and out . Afraid you are ; that you can't deny. Otherwise why your hands tremble when you talk to me?"
Life - (Hiding her hands behind her) " It's just the cold; no other reason".
"Cold? " smiled Death, "Or are you afraid of my cold hands ?"
"You were nasty and you will remain so. Always bothering me . Just why can't you leave me alone?" shrieked Life throwing her hands up in air.
"Leave you alone? Never! Is it possible? It isn't , and you know it very well. You are destined to live in my shadow."
" Okay, Okay .", stammered Life; evading Death's cold eyes. " I know that . But is it necessary that you cross my path whenever Iam in no mood to see you ?"
"Hey! Iam not a spoilsport as you make me out. You are trying to tarnish my image. I set you free for years - for decades and then when I meet you for a second - you start complaining. That is not fair."
"Meet for a second " mimicked Life. "That second in itself is a freezing, numbing experience."
" So what am I supposed to do? Tickle you? I perform my duty ; and I perform it faithfully."
" Faithfully! As if anyone can have faith in you ".
"Hey! Wake up Moron. Talking about faith then he will be a fool who has faith in you. In fact I can be trusted to come one day for sure", smiled Death.
A long uneasy silence followed. Time seemed telling. Suddenly Life snapped "What the hell Iam standing here for!"
"Ah ! that reminds me . I just visited Hell and it is bursting at seams; and it is all your fault."
"Come on " protested Life "Now how is that my fault.?"
"It is entirely your fault" emphasized Death. "You call yourself the guiding force; and this is the guidance you give to these living beings that they conduct themselves in such a way that they conduct themselves in such a way that they qualify for Hell."
"You blame me squarely for all this chaos?"
"Of course, you are to be blamed; for you are with humans for their entire lifetime. What is my interaction? Just for a fraction! So am I wrong if I blame you?"
"So what am I supposed to do" was the innocent query of Life. Death gave a very wise smile and replied
"Nothing special . Make them understand a simple rule - that they are for a limited time on this earth. They have to leave one day or the other. But they live as if they are immortal. They lie, betray, hate, envy , fail to understand each other , murder and what not. I simply fail to understand their mindset".
" Look Iam not taking any sides ; but they are afraid of you" , clarified Life.
" For Heaven's sake there is no need to be me. They should just remember me."
"They remember you."
" Huh - whenever they attend they attend the funeral of their near and dear ones."
" Ha! That again is out of fear. No other emotion governs that so called 'remembrance'. "
Life seemed confused and falling short of replies.
Death understood the confusion and walked near Life and placing his hand on her fragile shoulder she said - "Look dear I had no intention to baffle you. It's just that hurt the way things are going on. Morals , good intentions, love, care, respect , brotherhood , friendship : today all these terms seem to belong to folk-lore. All these were once the very essence of humanity. Today mistrust has raised it's ugly head. Trust , which is the foundation of any relationship , is slowly vanishing away. The society is dancing naked on streets. A brother slits the throat of his brother for wealth and property. A son kills his father to inherit money. A father sleeps with his daughter and still has guts to face the society. Politicians who are supposed to rule; ruin the nation. They fill their coffers by cheating the Nation. They harbor criminals and create violence to gain their petty political ends. It was not so in the bygone era. But this does not mean that Iam giving a clean chit to the time that has passed. No doubt that era had its own share of darkness; but overall it was a nice , serene , peaceful society. In those days my eyes used to moisten quite often when I went about to perform my duty. And now I feel like sweeping away the entire human race in one stroke. Iam helpless. I cannot control my anger." Thundered Death, it's eyes glowing like burning ambers. Then taking a deep breath she continued - "I will relate you yesterday's incident. I was hovering over the mountains of Himalayas- just to relax my overburdened mind: that I heard the noise of loud music. I noticed that it was blaring out of a bus. I descended and noticed a banner in front of the bus , which announced the name of some pilgrimage. To my horror I saw and heard the so called pilgrims having liquor and using obscene language. I was so very incensed that I pushed the bus in a deep ravine. ------ Something has to be done soon. Some remedy , some solution has to be found out. The Lord Supreme is very upset with His 'best creation' ; so much so that He doesn't want to talk on this subject any more. You may not be aware of this; but I have to face him every now and then. I try my best to evade His glance for I am afraid to see that frown."
A short silence followed during Life glanced downwards drawing lines in dust with her toes.
" I am not being moralistic" continued Death " for that is the last thing I would resort to. I take tough split second decisions. I don't preach. The preaching part is for you. But it seems that you concentrate more on the 'sleeping' part. Because it seems that your duty ends as soon as you convert a dark womb into a living thriving bonny baby. It seems that you have no regard for your duties."
"I am sorry; I will give it a serious thought". Apologized Life.
"You must. After all you have an important responsibility on your shoulders. By the way , may I ask, where are you going at the moment?"
"Oh I !" came the relieved voice of Life " I was on my way to recharge the lungs of the multi - millionaire old man : who owns that palatial bungalow down the road. For long he had been suffering from a dreaded disease. His son has flown in a team of Doctors from abroad. So keeping in mind all these efforts ; I think he deserves some more years on this earth to serve humanity. And what about you?"
"Me ?" guffawed Death. "I have to take away the only son of a beggar who lives in the hutment ; just opposite the bungalow you mentioned. The poor lad was having a common cold ; which turned into pneumonia. He was rushed to a local hospital. The over busy doctor gave him a wrong injection ; by mistake. Now the side effects will prove fatal. In any case it is wise to whisk away the poor soul away from this grime and penury. Ok I take my leave now. But do remember what I said."
"Of course I will " bowed Life.
Death moved away taking heavy steps.
Life gave a sigh of relief and resumed her sweet care free whistle ; her feet kicking away the dust of Time