For what is it to die,
But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind?
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
She was barely 32. Youthful, vivacious, inartificial. We would fondly call her baby. I remember when she was married into my neighbors; we would all kid around with her. ‘My dad got this for me from Nepal’, she said, stressing Nepal. That was ammunition for us – Me, Suhail, Salah (who had spent a large part of life in Europe and US). ‘Yeah, Nepal, must be pretty expensive’ Salah remarked rather mischievously. She nodded, unmindful of our naughty ways. I still recall the glint in her eye. It was pure innocence.
Her dad was a colonel. Uncle died last year. Baby was a military kid in many ways. Upright, honest and impeccable. She was always perky. However I mostly admired her for her naivety. ‘You bring my lil sonny lovely toys from Delhi, I am truly indebted,’ she would say in her characteristic humility. Now where do you find people, who reciprocate and value love? Baby was really one-of-a-kind.
A beautiful girl, who was also god-fearing. And full of life until death caught up with her. She got some medical problem, which -- as my doctor buddy in the US tells me -- has no real chance of leading to a premature death in the modern times. However, Kashmir is a godforsaken land, notwithstanding its glorified beauty, where doctors – with inadequate contraptions -- routinely fail to establish such symptoms.
On Oct 9, the day preceding the holiest Islamic night – Shab-e-Qadr – [that means beatification, going by the native logic], Baby breathed her last in her new home. Still beautiful, still young, not at all deserving to die. No one knows whether death is really a blessing or curse, but it reminds you that we can’t take life for granted.