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January 25, 2011

Having subscribed to TATA Sky’s annual pack I get 11 free movies on showcase every year. Despite the fact that the latest movies are just a remote’s click away for me, I rarely bother watching any. But yes every once in a blue-moon I do decide to watch a film. Somehow majority of them have been nothing less than disasters – Aisha, Kites, Love Story 2050 to name just a few. But today I decided to watch Guzaarish.

I’m not much of a movie cinema goer, it’s only when I’m with my friends that I go to watch a movie in a theater. And knowing everyone’s choice around me I knew that Guzaarish is one movie that I’d have to watch on my own. After watching the film my mom too wishes that I had seen the film on my own.

She found the film to be morbid just like thousands of other Bollywood cinema watchers, for after a hectic day in the office it burdened her further. Crying during a movie is just not a bollywood thing, unless of course the hero and heroine are reunited in the end.

Guzaarish though did not do well in the box-office, is a truly wonderful movie. It raises a rather pertinent question, that of Euthanasia. It is the practice of ending a life in a manner which relieves pain and suffering.

I know people highly object to this practice as they believe that no one has the right to take one’s life, even the fundamental right’s guarantee the same. But lets compare it to other FRs. One has the freedom of expression but that doesn’t mean that one HAS to talk or write. One can choose to express or not express. The important point to be noted is the FR allows us to express ourselves and stops others from stopping us from doing so.

Our life has been someone’s choice. The choice of our parents, and in that we had no decision. But we have and we should have the right to choose our future. I’m not saying that just because your girlfriend dumped you have the right to jump off, I don’t promulgate such freedom. But I do sincerely promote the right to dignity, even in dying.

For those who have been frequent readers of my blog would know that only a few months ago my beloved Nana passed away, but what you may not know is that he died of cancer.

Me and mom along with our friends were in Manali when we got a call from Nani informing us that Nana had been detected with cancer. Mom held herself together but trembled. I on the other hand was calm cause I was under this illusion,sadly, that he would be treated and cured. Not knowing that not everyone is so lucky.

The moment we reached back Delhi we sat in our car and drove off to the hospital. No longer were in the same fun-filled mood that we were just 24 hours before. Mom’s tension passed on to me,it shook me a bit.

The last 5 years had flown by, all in a daze. In and out of the hospital, that became our routine. Every time I’d enter any hospital I’d find a dilapidated building smelling strongly of phenyl. Instantaneously I’d feel sick right down to my stomach, cold and dizzy. But the worse would be yet to come. The moment I’d enter his room I’d feel weak seeing him surrounded by drips and needles.

It’s horrifying to see your loved one suffer. I have beautiful memories of my nana. But some how the last few years happen to over shadow all of them. It was only last year in July that he was detected with cancer, after 5 or probably even more years. It had made him hollow, I knew that, yet I believed that he would be all right.

While my mom, after collecting his reports, drove off to the Cancer Institute for advice, I called up my pal Varun. I told him the entire situation but was somehow convinced of the fact that nana was going to be just fine. I bitched about my other relatives for coming and crying in front of him as it lowered his morale and made the entire atmosphere gloomy.

While returning back home mom was unusually and ominously quiet. I inquired what the doctors said and when could nana’s treatment begin. Her eyes said it all, in a heavy voice she told me exactly what the doctor told her,” He has just a few months left.” While writing this my two windscreens are all wet and I can barely see my laptop screen. What I went through then was a million times worse.

I cried my heart out when Varun called up later in the evening to check how things were. I just wanted Nana to be happy. And somehow nothing in the world could make me happy.

My mom called me inside and told me that we had to pray for nana. We had to pray to God to end his sufferings and not for a long life. We couldn’t be selfish and ask for him to stick around and suffer.  I knew she was right but just couldn’t imagine losing him.

The next two months I saw him shrivel till he was just a bag of bones. On his last day nani called us and what we all saw still haunts me. He was white and his sparkling blue eyes were hazy. He couldn’t speak or move. He somehow gestured to me to come and sit on his bed, put his hand on my head and held on to me till his dying breath.

No one should die a tormented death and everyone has the right to dignity. If the court can provide remedies like Law of Defamation and Privacy to ensure a dignified life, then why not a dignified death?

It somehow happens that today the newspapers carried an article that the Supreme Court has set up a panel to look into the issue of Euthanasia. I don’t think that my blog is going to change the law or the world. But all that I want to express is that life is not just governed my the norms of law, society and religion. There is something called humanitarian grounds. That is my guzaarish.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2011 5:22 PM

    Euthanasia happens to be one of the ongoing topics of discussion among Indian bloggers, both due to the case of Aruna Shanbaug and also the movie Guzaarish.
    Everyone must have their right to dignity, especially those bed ridden people who cannot do a thing without others help. And the film Guzaarish did a wonderful job in putting the point on the table. I am only worried that once this becomes legal, it would lead to misuse in many ways.

    • AN permalink*
      January 26, 2011 8:33 AM

      That is true Vee that euthanasia will also be misused once its made legal. But then every fundamental can be and is more than often misused. Just because there is money-monger wanting to kill off his father or not wanting to pay his hospital bills does not mean that others should not have the right to dignity. Its not the movie guzaarish that has made me realize this but my own nana’s circumstances.

  2. January 28, 2011 1:16 PM

    Came across your blog in Indiblogger. But you know what, you have good control over the words, and neat flow of writing. I m already feeling jealous of your writing. Duhhh!! Anyways, keep blogging, bcoz you have knack for it.

    • January 31, 2011 9:24 AM

      THANK YOU!!
      Wow my mom should really read your comment and guess then she might think of my desire to be a journalist right 😀
      And you should continue reading my blog, cause I have a knack for writing well 😉

  3. January 29, 2011 1:04 PM

    Death is just an end for me. Coz I don’t know what happens after that. I don’t support Euthanasia to become legal. I completely agree with “VEE” would lead to misuse.
    I lost my younger brother recently. It was an accident and before we could do anything, it was all over. While we talk about other people’s suffering we wish they get out of it. We can’t let them die just like that.
    Death is not a solution. Then God would have made us like this that if we are in a bad condition, we die automatically.
    Till we are alive, there are so many things we can do everyday.
    At least a smile on the face of our dear ones.. tht we r with them.

    No one can fill the emptiness.. no one can fill tht place… I still search him everywhere.. every moment. It hurts..It really hurts.

    • January 31, 2011 9:22 AM

      I completely agree with you and sympathize with you. In a span of two months I lost my nana and my best. And the worst thing that nothing or no one can ever fill that vacuum. I know that people say that time heals everything but I don’t think so, we just learn to live with it.

      Death is not the solution to everything but it is a solution to many, if we choose it. I rather die than suffer, that is my choice. I never wanted to lose TJ or nana or even snoopy( my dog) but then it is a natural course of life, but why should that desire mean pain and immense suffering for anyone of them? My nana carried on for all those months cause he was worried about my nani, about her future. But that meant that he had to suffer immense bleeding everyday and what not. For our happiness and sake why should anyone else have to suffer?
      And accident or any other unnatural course is a different case all together. But in case of a terminal sickness why not?

      As for it being misused, tell me one thing on earth that is not misused but that doesn’t mean that we revoke that right.

      But I respect your opinion and agree to disagree.

      • January 31, 2011 12:14 PM

        May be u r right. But have u ever asked ur Nana, whether he wants to die or not. I don’t think anyone with a healthy mind will ever agree to give up his life.

        Would you like to drop in to my blog and give some suggestion…

        • January 31, 2011 1:27 PM

          So you believe that the people who decide to end their lives are crazy?!! Their are people with compulsions and others for whom its the best option. My nana hung on to his life( or whatever was left of it) because of my nani! Because of me or my nani or the law or the norms of the society why should he suffer? FYI he died a very painful death, and no one wants that.

          Would you have wanted your brother to live on if he couldn’t have bared the pain? If he was in a critical condition where there was no other option? I understand you miss him but for us WHY should anyone have to suffer? Could you please answer that. And why shouldn’t someone have a say in their life and death?

          • January 31, 2011 1:29 PM

            & btw my nana did say that he had lived enough and that he was carrying on for his wife. This he said when he was in the ICU after having undergone SEVEN dialysis and having stayed in the ICU for a MONTH. So yes i know what my nana wanted. Its called mukti.

  4. February 1, 2011 9:02 AM

    I have also seen people suffering a lot. It’s not that I’m telling u should not have applied above method to ur Nana or not. My Dadi also died of Cancer. I’ve seen her sufferings. My brother ofcourse slipped to coma within few hrs of his accident n breathed his last in the same situation. I dn’t know whether he was in pain or not coz we were not around him that time.

    I know many people have compulsion, sufferings n there are various reasons y one does not want to live. But I’m saying, if it’ll become legal to give up ur life… what will be the criteria ??
    Who to decide how much suffering is enough…??

    Or someone detected with Cancer should apply to get MUKTI coz he thinks that he will suffer later.
    This is an emotional case. I wanted to die when I saw my brother lying infront of me. My Parents would have felt the same. But should they decide to end their life coz their son is no more. As the rest of their life is gonna be miserable without him….???

    What I am saying that Euthanasia should not get legalized, coz it’ll encourage crazy people to end their lives without any actual reason. N there are so many people who are ending their lives without taking any permission. So let them do that at their own consent. Y should we back them ?

    In simple words I can’t see ur Nana or my Dadi or My brother giving up their lives in front of me, with my help. How can I sit/sleep/eat knowing that someone is taking his life in the next room. The people who are giving up living may not be crazy… but the one supporting them really are.

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