Pic.: Pradeep Nanda

One of the greatest advantages – rather, privileges – for teachers like me is that because we are constantly in the company of our young and buoyant students, we tend to think and behave like them… young and spirited.

At times I wonder, what if I was not surrounded by these young-guns… who seldom worry about money, paying bills, serious relationships, health issues, and that mother of all the concerns – the death… yes, what if I was to work, surrounded by some grumpy oldies (sorry)… what if my young-ones were not there in my life… every morning, every noon, every evening… all day long till I landed home, late in the night?

Does aging weigh me down? Yes, it does. Health issues of not just mine, -  my wife’s our  my parents’ and  my young son’s – yes, I am not immune to any of them…

Death stares at me every day… and, it keeps me sane and grounded. It keeps me alive!

Last evening, some of my students were pulling my legs… “Sir what are the plans for tomorrow? Sir where is the party?”

“What plans, what party… I am not young like you anymore,” I thought I could get away with that…

“”That’s precisely why you have to make plans sir… You have to enjoy because you don’t have so many years to enjoy as we do.”

“I agree with them sir,” said one of my associates, who was seven years younger than me, “How many years do we really have?”

I complete 57 today. A happy b’day to me… Yes, I love life… I love celebrating it, honoring it.

But then, as each year turns, I become more and more aware of the value and power of each breath I take… each heartbeat I sense, each blink of my eyes, each step my feet are able to take, each morsel my hand is able to lift… my food-pipe is able to carry… every drop of blood… urine… and stool. The memory, yes, I don’t take it for granted, anymore … and, yes, yes, yes… I get sacred, very scared… to take my loved ones so!

It has been a great mystery to me as to why we aspire a new-born to come crying into this world. God wanted it so? He never wanted us to come smiling and laughing?  No matter how scientifically one tries to explain to me the rationale behind this, I still think that we have missed a very valid point here…

Beyond the candles and cakes, beyond the parties and plans... there is something more to our b’days… Probably, this realization comes with age…  I am a great believer in life. I pray to God to give me the strength so that I can live young and spirited till my last breath… I pray for good health… and for wisdom and humility to respect honor and celebrate the love of dear ones in my life…

One of the most poignant songs I, often, go back to happens to be a beautiful hymn and a love song… I get goose-bumps every time I hear George Younce render it… Here are the lyrics and here is the song…

Should you go first and I remain to walk the road alone
I'll live in memory's garden dear with happy days we've known
In spring I'll wait for roses red, when fades the lilacs bloom
And in early fall when brown leaves fall, I'll catch a glimpse of you

Should you go first and I remain, for battles to be fought
Each thing you've touched along the way, will be a hallowed spot
I'll hear your voice I'll see your smile though blindly I may grope
The memory of your helping hand will buoy me on with hope

Beyond the sunset, oh blissful morning
When with our savior, heaven is begun
Earth's toiling ended, oh glory dawning
Beyond the sunset when day is done

Should you go first and I remain, to finish with the scroll
No lessening shadows shall ever creep in to make this life seem droll
We've known so much of happiness, we've had our cup of joy
And memory is one gift of God that death cannot destroy

I want to know each step you take that I may walk the same
For someday down that lonely road, you'll hear me call your name
Should you go first and I remain, one thing I'll have you do
Walk slowly down that long long path, for soon I'll follow you

In that fair homeland, we'll know no parting
Beyond the sunset for ever more

Published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

I hope, it is not about death… It is about life…

It is about honoring and celebrating Life and love.

Thank-you Lord.


Video: YouTube


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