The Final Word… My Obituary…

Friday, July 22, 2016

कबीरा जब हम पैदा हुए, जग हँसे हम रोये | ऐसी करनी कर चलो, हम हँसे जग रोये ||

When I was born, the World laughed when I cried (very natural, that the cry of the newborn excites the world)… but I must do worthy deeds so that when I go, I must have a laugh, and the World should cry…
Sant Kabir : ~circa 15th century…

———————

“Have you written your Obituary yet…?” asked my Mentor…*

*… My Mentor has quite a few mentees eating out of his hand… so I am keeping his identity a digitally guarded secret… a secret that can only be unveiled by an alpha-numeric, psychedelic- pastel colored mumbo-jumbo passphrase…
OK, it’s not that complicated… I just want to ensure that he is not inundated with Mentoring requests after this blog post…

I was bewildered… this was a question I was not prepared to answer…

I was in a mentoring conversation with my Mentor last Saturday… I usually am, when I am at crossroads… like this last vacation week, with no determined thoughts about what I would do during the week… kids have exams… Smee is busy taking care of the kids… my maid is busy taking care of Smee…

Well – the only thing I knew was, I was doing – NOTHING…

Now, come on… Rabbits jump – and they live for 8 years… Dogs run – and they live for 15 years… Turtles do NOTHING – and they live for 150 years…

And here I was staring at the next 100 years having spent the first 50… well, almost… and I was thinking… Obituaries are written or said by people outside of your celestial existence… I mean, why would you write your own obituary… it’s for others to write them for you… extol you for a virtuous life lived… or execrate you if you have been extra nasty to them while they lived… and most definitely written or said when you are gone and you no longer are able to hear what they think and say about you…

Wait a minute… when I can no longer hear what they say about me…? I am well cremated and my ashes are immersed in a bay or a river or scattered in the wind over ploughfields…?

And then they say all the stuff that they do, when they gather for that wine and meal after my funeral (actually I like the idea of wine and a meal – particularly if I had led a life of contentment and have had a peaceful departure)… I would like the world I left behind to sing and dance…

I wish all of us to wish that… wishfully… we must celebrate death… as much as we do life… and I thought… if I were to be a part of that song and dance, dine and wine… what would I like to hear people say about me…?

I hung up the phone on my Mentor… literally… he gave me a week to live my life thinking about my Death… er… my Obituary… I started my week with my 5 resolutions in mind… which would eventually become my OWN Obit – the way I have written it here…

Like with everything else, I found a wealth of e-Books on the web to read before I got started… and the most that I was fascinated with, was Alan Gelb’s “Having The Last Say : Capturing Your Legacy In One Small Story”…

In 5 simple benefits of writing my own obit, I had spent each of the last 5 days this week in describing for myself what I wanted out of my next life… and for those of us who have seen the graphic expression of my 5 Vacation Resolutions on Facebook – over the last 5 days… https://www.facebook.com/ravi.kodukula.1 … here’s a behind the scenes, exclusive, limited edition version of the process of how it all came together for me…

  1. Cleanse Thy Friends’ List (July 18) : Recently, at a dinner table, some of my friends were having fun going through a list of all my “Friends” that I have on my Facebook… come on – you cannot be having 1800 friends in life – they said… of course NOT… Facebook “Friends” are a cult by themselves – some bullied me into their “Add Friend” deal or in some cases, I may have liked the Profile Pictures of some of them, knowing very well that Facebook Pictures are not a yardstick of how they look in real life… trust me, when I look at the entire list of my Facebook friends – and almost everyone that I have ever met, is with me on Facebook – and there are those that ping me and then call me for advice / counselling / coaching / or merely a chat when they are down on their chips… not that I can / nor am I the best person to help them all the time… hell no… but I discover, we need each other so often these days… that CONNECT (one of Gelb’s 5 benefits of an obit) – while peripheral most might say – is becoming increasingly legit… and while we take a high moral ground and denounce the newer generations for their inability to connect beyond the digital – let’s face it… that’s the way it may be… the way I see it… the way You see it… BUT, there’s a ‘way IT IS’…

So, HERE WAS THE GUY, who put ‘a Friend a Day’ to his list…

  1. Cut the Clutter (July 19) : When I am gone, no one individual would be so accurate to be able to describe me the way I was… I know the best about me… of course, everyone may describe me the way they have experienced me… but is that ACCURATE (Gelb’s second)…? so, an obit – my own obit provides that accuracy… I don’t want a premature obit about me like Alfred Nobel… nor do I have the money to create a fund to wipe me off the ignominy of the “inventor of Dynamite – the Merchant of Death”…

So, HERE WAS THE GUY, who put a lot about himself out there…

  1. Respect Smee More (July 20) : My life is incomplete without Smee – my “Ardhaangini” – better half… my mirror to life… and me… the mother of our children… and the brunt of my satire in life… and the world must see this ACCEPTANCE (Gelb’s third)… Smee is definitely not Xanthippe (Socrates’ wife)… because since I married Smee, I have been happy and prosperous, as I got a good wife… because if it were otherwise, I would have become a philosopher…

So, HERE WAS THE GUY, who made the best out of the feedback his wife had for him…

  1. Develop Myself (July 21): Of the hundred more years that I would now live… like the Turtle that does NOTHING… I would like to backward integrate my life… and the best time is now to write down what those years would look like… my first 50 years are lived through others’ shaping of what I could be… the next 100 will be my PERSPECTIVE (Gelb’s fourth)… in order to do that, I will need to invest…

So, HERE WAS THE GUY, who invested effort to get to the pinnacle of the Ridiculous and the Lunatic…

  1. Spread the Cheer (July 22) : Mortality is scary… and admitting that it is, is macabre… in Gelb’s words – “writing your own obituary allows you to consider your own mortality with RESOLVE (Gelb’s fifth), thereby doing some of the work involved in the demanding business of confronting Life’s Third Act…*”
*… Life’s Third Act – one’s mature years, now that you got a few more added owing to changes in Life Expectancy

So, HERE WAS THE GUY, whose digital tombstone has the inscription : “IN ALL THE HUMDRUM OF LIFE… HERE LIES THE GUY WHO BROUGHT A SMILE… HAULED A HOLLER… FANNED A LAUGH… LIFTED A MOOD… SPREAD THE CHEER… MAY THE GODS BE BLESSED… NOW THAT HE’S HERE…!”

And in summary…

Kodukula – जब हम पैदा हुए – जग हँसे हम रोए! ऐसी करनी कर चलो – हम हँसे जग भी हँसे!!

When I was born, the World laughed when I cried… but I must do worthy deeds so that when I go, I must have a laugh, and so should the World too…
Sant Kodukula : ~circa 1968 – …

Happy Weekend…

Ravi Kodukula

 

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One thought on “The Final Word… My Obituary…

  1. Thought provoking idea of writing own obituary . Today with fursat I read last week and this week’s blog.. …started falling in love with your writing skill.

    Like

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