I had couple of friends visiting me some days ago and we had discussions on a wide range of subjects. Both are part of a group to which I too belong, which has monthly meetings where such discussions take place and, it was not unusual that it happened again.
One of the friends unfortunately has recently been having morbid thoughts. He is four years older than I am and has seen much suffering in his life despite having had a successful academic life. He has been exploring various avenues of living in some kind of seclusion in some old peoples’ home.
Among the issues that have been agitating him is the concept of “Right To Die”. He has lately been studying cases of euthanasia and has been wanting to carry out research on the subject among senior citizens of India.
He lives alone except to spend every Sunday with his only son, daughter in love and grandson. My other friend and I believe that his recent bouts with health issues like high blood pressure and insomnia has brought him to some morbid thinking. That is the reason he brought this topic up again to discuss and I was a bit impatient with him as, we had discussed this topic a number of times before and had concluded that he should seek help rather than live with some morbid thoughts of euthanasia.
I finally had had enough and told him that though I had come across many people from all walks of life with fear of death; he is the first and only one that I have come across with a fear of life. I bluntly asked him as to why he was afraid to live the full life allotted to him and enjoy it to the best of his ability.
He was taken aback but, quickly recovered and said that, that was the problem indeed. He was afraid to live the way he was living and would rather not. That insight has changed his attitude somewhat as he called me up earlier today to thank me for the insight. I again suggested that he seek psychiatric help and he has agreed finally to do that.
I use the word googly quite often in my writings, which is a cricketing term used for a ball bowled by a bowler that turns the wrong way from the direction that the batsman expects. This is something like a curve ball or a dipper in baseball. Rajan Phanse is a Cricket Crazy follower of the game and has just bowled a googly.
Rajan Phanse has been a very dear friend and business associate for about a decade. He was one of Urmeela’s favourites too and the reason for that was that he used to call her his Julia Roberts. He is a charming, simple and generous fellow who wears his heart on his sleeves. I consider it a privilege to count him among my friends, as I am sure he does me.
Rajan has had a very eventful life and has seen a great deal of set backs and problems and has fought his way up from what I call, the bottom of the pits. Though he does not appear to be so, he is a fighter and his story written about in The Telegraph is proof of that quality.
All the characters mentioned in the story, Prithviraj, another fighter who has fought his way up from great troubles, Sangeetha, a remarkable woman and a loving sister to Rajan and Rajan’s mother, are all known to me and are almost like family.
Rajan was diagnosed as suffering from Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia in September 2002 and has fought that battle, the intensity of which is known only to very few people as he is not the type to talk about himself much. He is now in remission and has just come out of another battle, which is what the newspaper article is all about.
The purpose of writing this story as a post in my blog is to eat my words that I had written in my post “Euthanasia”.
Raja, it is nice to be your friend and thank you for teaching me a lesson which I will not forget in a hurry.
Today’s newspaper frontpages an interesting and very disturbing story. It is disturbing, because, a human being has been kept alive in a vegetative state by modern medical means. The Times of India and the BBC both have reported about the matter going to our Supreme Court.
What hurts me as an individual is the question the Honourable Justices of the Supreme Court ask – ‘‘Is this plea not akin to euthanasia?’’ The lawyers to the petitioner have answered that question more than admirably, but what intrigues me is the negative connotation given to euthanasia.
This is a hotly debated topic and for those interested, this link gives extensive cover of the material available.
My stand on the issue is clear. I have instructed Ranjan that if I ever am in a condition where I am unable to decide on what needs to be done with me, he should a, see that I do not go into t a hospital, and b, if I am already in a hospital, refuse to accede to requests to put me on a ventilator, or other similar gadgets.
Life with dignity is more important to me than satisfying some emotional hang ups of others. I have asked for the law on euthanasia to be changed whenever I had opportunities to interact with our law makers, but our law makers do not believe that they have been elected to do anything about our laws.
I hope that my stand is controversial enough to generate some lively discussions as I am sure that there must be readers from both sides of the debate. I look forward to some other opinions.