Loss of a Life

Bimal, 24years old, grew up in Queenston a small city in southern Ontario, Canada, where his father Kamal was a professor at the Queenston University. The parents wished Bimal to follow his father's footsteps, namely to study a lot and then become a professor at the Queenston University. Instead Bimal chose music as his calling he moved to Toronto and lived there. He belonged to a group of five musicians there was an Italian guy who brought laughter in the group, there was a German guy who brought discipline to the group there were two Scandinavian guys, who wrote the songs and Bimal put tune into their words.

While Bimal did his musical work, his chest heaved, it puffed up and went down rhythmically at the same rhythm as the music, his eyes shone like two diamonds, they blinked to the rhythm of the music. His longtime girlfriend Lizzie could even see a halo around his head just the same way she saw the halo around the head of Jesus Christ in the church. That’s how people knew that the tune Bimal created came from the core of his heart and soul.  His heart and soul were in the music.

This group performed in pubs and had rented a room in Toronto where they all lived together. They had only one bed and at night after their work they all heaped up on the same bed.  Even in that way all of them slept very deeply and very well.  Every evening Bimal's mother Sarala called him and told him almost exactly the same words repeatedly,

’Bimal, I hope you know that you are wasting your life. You are simply throwing your life away. Your father and I had such big dreams for you to be a professor at Queenston University, to have a good job, earn a good salary and have a nice house, a good status in the society and a good family life.  Instead what you are doing is living like a vagabond in Toronto; you don't have any fixed job, no fixed salary, living in one room with four other fellows.  Whenever I think about you tears flood my eyes.  I hope someday you will come to your senses and come back to Queenston stay at home, get degrees from the Queenston University, get the job of  a professor at the Queenston University, marry a good girl, and settle down in a nice house and not live as a vagabond in Toronto’.

His mother knew that she would have to go on telling him the same words over and over again, and then finally down the road his nerves would be shattered he would break down and do everything as she wished.  But Bimal was extremely happy in Toronto the work suited him very well; his girlfriend Lizzie loved his work she loved his friends; she even loved his vagabond lifestyle.  Most of all both Bimal and Lizzie loved the city of Toronto in comparison to Queenston. Toronto seemed immense to them, they loved that immensity of the city. They loved the innumerable shops all around Toronto. Each shop was a new world to them; through the front window they took a peek in every shop world.  They loved doing window shopping for hours on end.

But after one-year Bimal couldn't take his mother's begging and pleading any longer. As his mother had foreseen, his nerves did get frazzled, he did break down, and he came back to Queenston to live with his parents. He also enrolled himself at the Queenston University and gave up music because, there was no such band available at Queenston. The only bright spot in Queenston was that his long time girlfriend Lizzie lived in Queenston. They were dating for twelve years because they lived in the same neighborhood and attended the same schools.

To Bimal it seemed that he had known Lizzie all his life, since his childhood, as if as long as he had known his parents. But Lizzie loved Bimal also because of his music, because he was at his happiest when he worked with his music. Following his move to Queenston when he didn’t work with music anymore, he wasn’t happy anymore either. His eyes hadn’t shone like twin diamonds. His chest didn’t heave up and down in the rhythm of the music; Lizzie didn’t even see the halo around his head any longer. Because in Queenston all the happiness of his heart and his soul had been zapped away. Lizzie felt the absence of the happiness, so much so that she didn’t have any fun dating Bimal any more. She had a hard time telling him the truth. But when she didn’t show up at Bimal’s birthday party, he understood the significance. After Lizzie’s departure Bimal’s life in Queenston was nothing but a drudgery which he found very hard to endure. Bimal was utterly heartbroken. But Bimal’s parents were happy. They could revert to their dream that after studying for years, after getting all the degrees, at the end of the road, Bimal would be an university professor, and follow the footsteps of his father, he would have a good job, good pay, stable life, a big house, a happy family and a whole lot of social status.  

People in general think of life as walking down a path, Bimal preferred to think of life as a voyage across the ocean. One night as he was dreaming of such a voyage  in his dream, accidentally he fell overboard. He didn't know how to swim. As soon as he fell, immediately he started sinking the saltwater entered his mouth and his nose. The water from the nose went upstream and started to burn the top of his skull and the top of his scalp, the burning was so severe and intense that he thought there would be holes burrowed through his scalp and skull. Am I dying? He asked himself under his breath, nobody could hear him. The burning sensation was severe and it started spreading to the sides of his head so that soon he couldn't hear any more, then the burning sensation spread to the back of his head so that he couldn't see any more. Without hearing and seeing he felt a bit more at peace. If I am dying, he thought, then I would like to die peacefully.  More and more saltwater started to flow through his nose. Without seeing and hearing the pain was not as severe as before, as he was sinking deeper and deeper in the ocean he also realized that he was coming closer to his death that by and by his brain tissue was getting replaced by saltwater and when it gets completely placed death would arrive.

After reaching this conclusion he felt at peace.  He also knew, soon he would be at the bottom of the ocean. Just as he had expected he did reach the bottom of the ocean where he came across a coral reef. He was astounded to see that on one side of the coral reef the polyps were pale and bloodless, whereas on the other side the polyps were plump red and healthy as if filled with blood. 

In the meantime Bimal's parents had hired the best possible rescue team to salvage Bimal from the bottom of the ocean floor, the rescue people in their special gears went down to the ocean floor and Bimal saw one of them. Bimal asked him, why on the coral reef the polyps on one side so pale whereas on the other side the growth is juicy red as juicy as if flooded with blood? The man answered, on the pale side there is no wave as a result the Coral doesn't face any challenge whereas on the red side there are lots of waves and the coral faces lots of challenges, as a result, the challenged side remains healthy, red and full of blood, you see, everybody needs challenge to remain healthy and alive, the wise man added.  And at this moment Bimal realized why in Queenston he fell overboard and was now dying, drowning in the ocean. In Queenston there was no challenge for him, here his girl-friend didn’t love him, his friends were not there to pep him up, he didn’t have any chance to pour the core of his heart and soul in music, while his challenges were in Toronto where he thrived. Where his girlfriend saw a halo around his head and loved him dearly, where he was surrounded with friends, where he poured his heart and soul in music, where the amazement of the big city never ended. 

At this point he started talking to his mother, He loved his mother dearly. He said, ‘mom, I’m dying not because of any fault of mine, I am dying because of living in Queenston, because I can't live in Queenston in the absence of challenges my soul died in Queenston, because this place holds no challenge for me. Mom I hope you will understand what I am trying to tell you and you will understand me. In my next life I shall study a lot and be a professor just like my father. Ma, can you wait till then? 

Then he talked to Lizzie, ‘Lizzie we have been together for 12 years it seems to me we’ve been to gather from the beginning of our lives who knows?  Perhaps I shall also meet you in my next life.  Can you wait till then? After bidding good-bye to his two dearest people Bimal let himself sink to the bottom of the Ocean. By now he was completely at peace with himself. How could my burning pain disappear completely? He asked himself under his breath. Nobody could hear him. Only the rescue worker saw some tiny air-bubble rising above his head.

On reaching the floor of the ocean, Bimal felt completely relaxed. He also found his mind and soul were completely devoid of thoughts. Being so relaxed and thoughtless he realized his brain had been completely replaced by the salt water. In the absence of brain there was nothing, absolutely nothing, but eternal peace, that’s what immense, unending peace is all about Bimal concluded. On reaching the ocean floor he lay himself down, He turned on the side. Then he curled up, in a tight ball, a tight fetal position. Every muscle in his body was relaxed. Between creation and birth in the same position he had lain in his mother’s womb, now at the time of bidding good-bye between life and death, he had reverted back to the same position in the womb of Mother Ocean. He curled up even tighter. What a great relaxation, what a great peace. While the rescuers were still searching for Bimal, his peaceful soul slipped away from this earth. Forever and ever he was released in the world of music played by the dolphins, whales and manatees. Bimal was all excited. A completely new kind of music to learn. But who would write the words? He didn’t know.

How long would I lie curled up on the ocean bottom? Bimal wondered. Would it be nine months as long as I lay in my mother’s womb? Lying in this relaxed peaceful state for nine months I wouldn’t mind. When the sun rises millions of sunbeams would reach the ocean floor. I would stretch out my arms and catch millions of those beams, my body would get warmed up, so would my limbs, I would be nimble and get ready for my next life. In next life I shall combine all human music with whale and dolphin music and create an unique music, Lizzie would again see a halo around my head, as she sees around the head of Jesus Christ in the church, on the top of that I shall study a lot and turn into a university professor. In my next life I shall build up an enormously glorious life. Both mom and Lizzie would be happy. At this moment Bimal’s dreaming, the movie of his sub-conscious mind came to an end. He went to sleep.

For nine months? Perhaps. Thus a life that had thrived in Toronto, met its end in Queenston.   


More by :  Dr. Manasi Dutt

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