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Armed and Dangerous

Yet another life snuffed out of a very young person! But then, does it matter if the person who dies is young or a child or an old or a cripple? Death, after all, is death. Period! End! Kaput! Finito! However, one tends to believe that young should not die – well, young! Just like a young is ‘required’ to do so many things – hygiene, exercise, money management, etc. –young is also ‘required’ NOT to do so many things. And to die is one of them.

Is the corollary to the above statement equally true? Young should live, and old must die – without creating much problems or hassles to the near and dear ones? Is ‘euthanasia’ an answer? I draw a parallel from Canadian Income Tax (which is equally true in other tax jurisdictions). A Canadian Taxpayer is required to convert her holdings in her registered retirement savings (RRSP) to registered retirement income fund (RRIF) compulsorily at the age 70. She has no choice or option. And the withdrawal from this account is taxed in her hands…..

Similarly, do we require a person who has reached certain age (and meets certain other pre-determined physical criteria) to kick the bucket? Whether she (or her family) is willing or not? But that’s going off the tangent – to a totally philosophical and social angle. And the poser is not very pertinent to the question which is burning me today.

Norway Cliff

We had been to the prayer meeting of the latest death of twenty-two year old free-spirited young girl. The world travel was in her bucket list – she toured France and then onward to Norway; and was expected to be back home in time for her joining the college. This never happened, and upon frantic enquiries from the distraught parents, it came to light that the daughter died in a tragic accident – she fell over one of the highest (and most scenic) cliffs in Norway. The two eye-witnesses said that she was taking a ‘selfie’ – and was going closer and closer to the edge of the cliff. ‘We yelled at her to stop, but she didn’t hear us’. Also the back-pack which she was carrying (per eye-witness account) could be a contributing factor – she lost her balance and just toppled over. Just toppled over! And fell to her death. There are no pictures / no cell phone / no back-pack. And of course, no life – the height being more
than 2,000 ft.

A Japanese student met with similar fate a week before her death. And another young man died within ten days of this Canadian girl’s death. Norwegian government is reluctant to put any railings or protective fence around the cliffs. ‘Buyers be aware’ is still the maxim; and maybe the cost of erecting a fence far outweighs the cost of few lives of ‘foolish’ people who venture – where no one should go!

I remember the tragic story of another family. We were friends since before our (and theirs) children were born. First we were just neighbours, and then became ‘fast’ friends. We did drift apart geographically – they went to Australia and we moved to Canada. But in touch we did keep. Two well educated sons – who had grown to be very handsome young persons – and the parents – all went to New Zealand, a few days before Christmas – to celebrate the parents’ twenty fifth wedding anniversary. Evidently the young adults were in their early twenties (do the math). The glaciers were calling the young adults to take the pictures; and out of bounds they went to take ‘just one more picture’. Just a few feet! And suddenly, there was avalanche – sweeping the two to their untimely deaths. One body found immediately at a distance of few hundred feet or so; whereas the other was swept down more than twelve miles. The death called, and they answered. The not-so-old parents grew old overnight!

Yet another death of son of my friend – and also friend of my son and daughter! At a very young age of two and twenty! A motor-cycle accident in Mumbai – thanks to the pot-holes and lack of street lights; and people’s attitude and apathy towards
the accident victim (Why should I help? Somebody else will do).


Photography is a hobby – which attracts deaths; and so does motor-cycle riding. Salman Rushdie proved that writing is also dangerous; and an error in judgement, would result in judgement on your life! A recent cold blooded murder of journalists in France indicates that ‘cartooning’ is also not a good hobby. So all my favourite and good hobbies are spoken for – the choices for the future growth of my intellectual capacity now depends on what hobbies are left? Para-trooping and bungee jumping sound very appealing and non-life threatening! Should I venture into these? Or should I take up knitting and or crochet work – safe and sound; and also paying in the long run!

ATULANAND – October 18, 2015

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