1 .What is your Life Worth
“The Time Calls You Now…!”
-Author by :D. Ramachandra Raju.”
-Cell : 98499 04513, 99083 24214
“Yes…. What is your life worth?”
“What nonsensical question!”
“May be. But, do you have an answer?
There is some value for everything.
The worker gets wages. That’s his labour’s worth.
If you are a salaried employee, you get a monthly salary.
This hut of yours is worth something.
A palatial mansion…. Each square yard of it has some worth? By the same token, shouldn’t your life be of some worth?
If so, what is your life worth?”
Did you ever ruminate on this? No.
Then, this is the time to think upon it. Life is like a fertile alluvium. Sow quality seeds and you will get bountiful harvest. Protect the sapling from pests, insects and birds and the yield shall be good. A bad seed begets a bad crop. So, let’s now see who is sowing what and who is reaping what in their lives.
Let’s take an anecdote from the hoary Mahabharath first. Duryodhana was so wonderstruck at the marvel that Mayasabha was, that he mistakes a pond for a plain flooring and slips down. On seeing his predicament, Draupadi laughs at him or members of her regal retinue laugh at him and Duryodhana mistakes it to be Draupadi. Unable to bear this slight, Duryodhana wants to end his life.”What an unbearable shame….? Isn’t it better to die than to live through this slight? Should I continue to live a life of ignominy and insult or should I die?” Duryodhana gets totally consumed by pangs of grief and insult. “The world would scoff at you and say that not sword but a derisive laugh killed this warrior. They would further exclaim that what the arrows from the Pandava quiver could not accomplish, a woman’s laugh could do to you. After you are gone, Pandava weaklings will rule this land and wipe out every trace of your great clan,” counselled the wily Shakuni.
Shakuni’s words turn Duryodhana’s inconsolable grief into incorrigible hatred for the Pandavas and this drives him to go to the extent of molesting Draupadi in full view of the royal gathering. When the Pandavas bide their time in the wilderness aspart of their vanvas, Duryodhana and his royal retinue take out a Ghosha Yatra with an avowed aim of showing off their regal resplendence and heckle the Pandavas on their plight.Yet, this attempt falls flat and Duryodhana and his ilk become captives in the hands of Gandharva king Chitrasena. It takes the valour and might of the same Bheemasena, whom he tried to deride and belittle in the worst possible manner, to set them free. To top it, imperious Bheema’s indolent utterances rub salt into his wounds. A deeply insulted Duryodhana once again gets ready to kill self and relents only after a great amount of cajoling by cohorts like Sakuni, Karna and Dussasana.
Thus though ego and indolence personified Duryodhana shows himself as a woefully weak person.But… But… Draupadi, who suffered greater insults more than thousand times to that of Duryodhana in full view of husbands, relations, gurus and servants alike and who endured unspeakable shame of outraging of her modesty, chose to wreak revenge on the perpetrators of the heinous outrage instead of sinking into the suicidal tendency. Not for one moment, did she think of ending her life? Who, pray, is the real hero? And whose life was a life welllived?”Why should I live? What purpose does my life have anymore? What can I achieve by continuing to live? I cannot stand this ordeal anymore. Nor can I endure this mental agony. Death alone is final solace and solution”, thought Neelima. She locked the door with an air of definitiveness. She was 25. Moments later, she was at the Infosys building in Hyderabad. She sent her last SMS to her husband. “Sorry for not being able to give you any happiness.
I am ending my life. I want you to remarry and be happy.” Then out went another message – this time to her lover. “If ever there is another life, let’s be together then. For now, it’s adieu pal.” She was atop the fourth floor of the building. She closed her eyes. Yes, she closed her eyes. If only she opened her eyes but once….. She had everything going for her. She was an engineering graduate.
She was employed in such a prestigious organization as the Infosys. She had worked in the US. Yet, she forcibly ended her beautiful life.Who, pray, is responsible for Neelima’s death? Sure it is Neelima herself and none else.Another scene…. Another time…. Another 30 plus was counting down for the fatal plunge. He decided to jump to death as his hotel was making losses and he was fed up with his life. But, moments before the plunge, he saw two blind men walking away with a song on their lips. He saw and had a sudden relief of Griff. “If blind can live happily in this world, why can’tI?,” he told himself. Abandoning the idea of suicide, he climbed down the stairs.
He used all his persuasive skills and convinced his lenders and started his business afresh. He made the hotel an epitome of hygiene and service a cherished memory by serving food on plantain leaves. Soon, the hotel became hugely popular and its branches spread far and wide – even on foreign lands. The chain of hotels is today known as“ Kamath Hotels”. What would have happened if had taken the fatal plunge? It was 11 at night. She jumped up suddenly. She had beencrying inconsolably for hours. Suddenly, her face showed afatal determination .She wiped her moist eyes.and stood up.
She switched off the fan and peeped into the other room to find mom and papa in deep slumber. She picked up her mother’s saree and made a noose of it hanging from the ceiling fan. In a slow but determined movement, she put the noose around her slender and beautiful neck… “Mom… and Papa… At least now you will realize how much I yearn for the gold ornaments. If only you bought them for me…. I would not have resorted to this extreme step.” Last night’s ruckus flashed before her mind’s maze. “I want those gold ornaments…. Now”. “How can I buy those? We are neck-deep in debts. I will buy, but not immediately,” said her father. “In that case, why did you give birth to me at all?” her voice quivered with anger. “Shut up.” Father’s anger brimmed over and he landed a powerful slap on her cheek. Mother was visibly shocked. She tried to cajole.
“Aren’t you aware of our financial problems? You are grown up and understand everything. If ever we buy gold, it would surely be for you and none else. But, we need to tide over the financial problems and clear off all our debts.” “Problems… problems…. They will end only when I die.” Mother too lost her cool. She suddenly flared up…. “Then… so be it!” But, Anjali was in no mood to listen. She was overcome with grief and a sense of deep insult. Her friends sneered and sniggered at her for not having gold ornaments, in the function held in the morning. She closed her eyes with strange finality. She kicked the chair that she was standing on aside. The noose tightened. Moments later, Anjali was hanging lifeless. Anjali, just 19 years of age, died unable to bear the insults by her friends at the village fair. Stranger as it may seem, but this one was a real life incident reported from NGO’s Colony in Kadapa. “Silly,” one might say. To what avail was her education? Why did it not deter her from committing this mindless suicide?
* * * * *
Suspicion… a sneaking feeling of distrust….! “Just one year into marriage….I can’t take it any longer,” Anasuya told herself. With a husband suspicious of her every move, doubtful about her fidelity at every step, she did not move out of the house lest someone talk to her and her husband raise a ruckus all over again questioning her fidelity. Initially, everything was hunky dory. But, of late, he is all eyes and ears when someone glances at her. He becomes suddenly inquisitive to see if Anasuya was exchanging glances or making discreet gestures. Once, the youth next door knocked the door to borrow the newspaper. While handing him the newspapers, her fingers inadvertently touched his. The husband did not fail to note this and suddenly became moody. Since then, he became extremely cagey and obsessively looked at the youth to see if he is glancing at her On occasions, he returns from the office suddenly to see if she was with anyone and many times, he calls up from the office enquiring whether she was with anyone in his absence. Anasuya is very depressed.
Even when she goes to her mother, her husband enquires if anyone met her there. “How do I get over this? Whom to tell all this? Can mom and dad solve this? Or Should I talk to the in-laws?” Some women take all these in their stride. They put on a façade of braveness even while cursing themselves for marrying such a fellow. Some others raise this issue with others and dry to sort this out. Others revolt and counter-attack. Some allow their men to probe and realize that their suspicion was unfounded. Unable to bear it any longer, some women take recourse to suicide. Such suspicions are common among the middle class. Anasuya too decided that she must put an end to all this by ending her life. She walked out of the house to plunge herself before a moving train. On way, some greeted her. But, she took no note of them. Replied in monosyllables and moved forward. All she was thinking about was her husband and his piercing questions doubting her character.She came close to the railway track. Vehicles were moving about. People were walking along. NO one paid any attention to her.
What would become of her after she dies? Someone shall burn her pyre. But, that pain is definitely more acceptable than the pain her husband was inflicting. She plunged herself., eyes teary and lips dried and quivery. She did not know what happened next When she woke up, she could see a couple of elderly persons chatting away sitting beneath a shade tree. An elderly woman sympathetically asked her “How are you feeling?”She was Gayatri. She ran a home for the elderly.”Where am I?””You would have been in heaven or hell but for this lady who pulled you away from the tracks. Would you like to have something to eat?” she asked caringly.
Anasuya was overcome by emotion. “Why did you save me? Why didn’t you allow me to die?” She wept bitterly. “Don’t worry… everyone shall die someday.” “No! I have no will to live. I cannot bear anymore harassment and insult,” Anasuya said sobbing. But, Gayatri was unrelenting. “You must be hungry. Have a morsel or two first,” she said with warmth and affection. Anasuya felt comfortable. Her sorrow subsided, but hunger rose. The inmates offered her something to eat. Later, she told them her problems amid sobs. They listened patiently. As she ended the story of her travails, they all laughed and said “That’s not a problem at all..” Anasuya was taken aback. “Isn’t it an unbearable problem?” “That’s not a problem at all… Look what I faced… My fidelity was suspected too,” said Gayatri. And Anasuya was shocked. “You too faced the same problem?” All along, she had been feeling that she was the only one to suffer. When you realize others too have problems similar to yours, you get a strange feeling of solace.
Strange are the ways of humans. If he falls sick, he feels this was the biggest ever tragedy to strike at him. But, he or she feels comforted when others too are under similar distress. If he loses an eye, he feels the light has gone out of his life, but feels consoled when he confronts someone who lost both the eyes. Soon Anasuya realized her folly. Such problems were common among the newly-weds. Trust needs to be built gradually. She realised that she was about to commit a major blunder. She could have talked to her parents or sought the counsel of friends.”Instead of facing the challenge head on, I had timidly decided to seek refuge in death,” says Anasuya looking back. Today, she is a Mahila Samakhya member from Chittoor.
Let the bubble burst!
When there is distrust and when you feel you are innocent, the best way forward is taking over to clear the air. Instead of worrying over it and suffering silently, it is always better to talk it over and understand your partner. He was a bold soldier but black in colour. His dareness and fightings spirit was told as heart gripping stories. Therestucked the heart of a beautiful girl. She was such a beauty made with mixture of honey milk moonlight snow and jasmine. Neighbour shocked after knowing the love of a beauty and a coal rock. They god married, she was happy with the life of his position as military officer. One day a bubble was raised putting the santity of the lady for the test. He failed to undravel the plot knitted by his below ranked soldier. Aiming that she has deceived him, that groused black horse killed her brutally without any mind. This spilled blood laughed at her blind love. The plot was clarified by her servant to him on the same spot. The valcano burst in the heart of dumbled wild beast and killed himself with the same nife pierced his wife. He is Othello and that Damsel is Desdemono. That is the famous tragedy drama of Shakspeare who cannot forget once read in his life time “Othello”. When there is mistrust, talk over to clear the air.
The problem invariably vanishes. Life is a catalogue and you are the one who chooses what you love from the catalogue. You alone can select what you want from the catalogue of life. A beautiful, newly-married girl, who had just given birth to a baby, faced a similar problem. A young army officer called Vronsky falls for her. Initially, she spurns him. But, finally gives in to him when he says he would rather die than live without her. She boldly decides that the secret affair mustn’t continue and comes to her husband and asks him: “Sign on these divorce papers.” The shocked husband goes through the papers. He could believe himself. “Why, pray, do you want a divorce,” he askes.
“I am in love with another person.” “You don’t need a divorce for that. I shall not object to your love.” “I wish to spend my life with him and him alone,: says she. If it were an ordinary husband would have killed her or would have slapped and abused at the very least. Despite being a military official, he simply signs the document, saying he was doing it for her pleasure. His name was Karenin. Her name was Anna. This was immortalized by Leo Tolstoy in his famous novel “Anna Karenina” We come across similar incidents here too. The groom realizes that the bride is moody and disinterested. He finds out that she was in fact in love with some other person and was being forced into the marriage. He then helps the girl get the boy of her choice. This sense of fortitude and righteous-ness makes the man a true winner. He lives with his pride and selfrespect in-tact.
* * * * *
“Yes… my husband attributed motives to me and says Ihave a sexual relation with my co-writer,” said a sobbing Tamil writer. She is a name to reckon with in Tamil language. “Why does he feel you are untrustworthy,” asked her friend with concern. “He is asking me to collect money from my co-writer” “Why?” “I and my co-writer wrote the story and the script for a movie. The producer tried to evade payment and I had approached the court to get back the fee. Now my husband is cut up with me for sharing the money with my co-writer. He wanted the whole amount back. When I refused to take the money back from my co-writer, he slapped me and now he feels I have an illicit affair with him,” the authoress said. Writer Akhilan, who came to know about this incident, penned Chittirappavai, a novel based on this. In 1980 behind the sad suicide of actress Silk Smitha lies the story of harassment and torture by her husband. Many more persons ended their lives unable to come to terms with life.
* * * * *
This was what a Gyan Peeth awardee had to say. “Yes… darkness stared at me when my husband for two years, whom I loved so dearly, passed away. I was 22 years old then. I defied my parents to marry him. When he was gone, it was darkness at noon for me,” said Indira Goswami, the celebrated Assamese authoress and Gyan Peeth awardee.After the passing away of her husband, suicide was on her mind and on several occasions she walked to the brink. However, she managed to come back and began writing her experiences. She penned such famous books as the autobiographical “Adha likha dastavej,” JIndagee Koi Sauda Nahin,” Neelkanthi Broj (on widows) and A Saga of South Kamarupa. The very thought of suicide is desponding. Only weak hearts, the depressed, pessimists, introverts and those afraid of discussing their problems with others become victims and end up consigning their beautiful lives to the grave. Life, the most valuable gift is being frittered away at the altar of graveyard.
* * * * *
“Shall I meet my husband in the other world?” asked the rickety and pale woman, who is unable to come to terms with her husband’s death years ago. This query was posed to philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurthy. That was in 1948. A large number of devotees thronged the sprawling building to listen to JK who had come to Mumbai after long hiatus. They were shocked by her query. There was deafening silence and everyone was eager to hear what Jiddu Krishnamurthy had to say.JK had a deep look at the woman. She was mother of Pupul Jayakar, who was to become JK’s lifelong devotee and compiler of his biography. She was old, frail and unable to come out of the memories of her long-lost husband. She was deeply depressed and Pupul, who heard of JK from her father’s friend, brought her mother to him for spiritual succor. JK said: “Sorry, I cannot give you the answer you would very much like to hear. I would not even say that you would get to meet him in some other world that you believe in. But, can you tell me which husband you would want to meet?”The question reverberated in the ears of everyone sitting there.
The old woman became paler. “Which husband do you want to meet in the other world?”
“The man who is dead?”
“Or the man who lived with you?”
“The young man who tied mangal sutra around your neck?”
“Or he in his childhood?”
“Or do you want to meet him in his earlier incarnation?”
“Which phase of life in your husband that you want?”
The 60 plus woman was shell-shocked. She stared at him pointlessly. Slowly his utterances began sinking in. Moments later, she felt the memories of her husband were flying away bit by bit never to return. “Life is an evolution. What has gone will never return. Of what use is ruing over things that have gone by never to return? Why do you still want to live in his memories? Look at the tree that sheds leaves. It never grieves over the fallen leaf. A new tender leaf sprouts at the very spot. There is no great teacher than the nature, if only you can learn,” he said. Can there be a better exposition on the life and its gradual unfoldment? You will never understand reality as long as you live in to illusion. Accept the truth. That alone shall give you solace.
In Adilabad district, a police official sets his sight on a married woman. The woman was forced to acquiesce to him. However, her husband and in-laws soon find out her extramarital relationship and confront her, the police official and the middleman who facilitated their affair, about it. The crestfallen woman ends her life by immolating self. She felt a life of insult wasn’t better than death. Is shame so powerful? A 16-year-old was accosted by some vagabonds. She suffers a gang rape. Her mother made a big issue of it and went about the town wailing and breast-beating. The whole town came to know of the rape. Unable to bear the insult, the girl committed suicide Another girl was subjected to similar atrocity. He wept inconsolably. But her mother gave her fortitude to withstand. She asked her to take a shower, offered incense to her and applied perfumes. She said : “Don’t worry. All the sins are washed away. You are as pure as this fire.” The girl soon got over the pain and insult and led a normal life. This story forms the bedrock of Sahitya Academy awardee Jayakanthan’s novel ‘Agni Pravesam’, entering the fire.
When you are not responsible for what befell on you, think of it as a mere nightmare that passed by. No one ends his life if bird droppings fall on him. One simply washes it away and moves along. How one faces the challenges of life shows how much wisdom one has and how much learned one is.
* * * * *
Chilly winds, icy cold and snowy Himalayas…. A 25-year-old good looking Brahmin youth stands on a high cliff for the fatal plunge. He closed his eyes … ready to jump todeath. At that very moment, a Siddhapurush opened his eyes. The youth is a great scholar of repute. He was madly in love with a woman, who spurned him. Dejected and deeply insulted, the youth wanted to end his life in despair. He pushed aside all the puranas, shastras and scriptures that he had mastered. He was overcome by the grief of being rejected by the woman he loved. Nor did he think of the fact that there were many more beauties in the world to savour, the girl’s rejection notwithstanding. He felt death was the only answer to all his sorrows The Siddhapurush opened his eyes to see the young Brahmin about to take the final plunge. He plunged forward swiftly and drew him away from the cliff. He took the youth to his ashram and was surprised at his erudition. He gave him a sobreiquit ‘Saraswati Putra’. The youth realized his folly and felt ashamed that he had almost taken his life. That was Puttaparti Narayanacharyulu, the famous poet whom C. Narayana Reddy fondly recollected while receiving Gyan Peeth. He had in fact said that Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu was more deserving and always rued the fact that the latter wasn’t awarded the coveted Gyan Peeth.Subsequently, Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu authored several books and won accolades from far and wide. His poetic work Penugonda Lakshmi, written when he was just 14, was prescribed a text book for students of Telugu Pundit courses. In fact, when he sat for Telugu Pundit exam, Penugonda Lakshmi was a text book for him and quite interestingly, Puttaparthi Narayanacharyulu failed in the same subject. His Shivathandavam is another highly celebrated and much appreciated work. What do we get from this? As Budha said: “ There is a sorrow. Every sorrow has a reason There is solution to every sorrow.” Benjamin Franklin has famously said that only the idiot despairs. Only when one understands the problem, one gets the solution. But, death is never a solution to any problem. Only those idiots who do not understand the value of life and those lazy people who have no hope of life end up committing suicide.
* * * * *
A lecturer asked his disciples:
“What is the most valued thing in the world?”
“Mother,” one boy answered.
“You are right… but what more?”
The replies poured in.
“Correct answers all.” The teacher continued. “But, when can you realize that mother, father, education, money and character are among the most valued?” The students became curious. They were eagerly waiting for the teacher’s answer. But, he did not. To raise the curiosity levels and the reasoning levels among the students, he said: “Think over! Come back tomorrow with the answer!”
* * * * *
The wife was in her last gasp… frail and bed-ridden. “I wish to be re-born as your wife!” she avers. “We shall be man and wife forever and ever after through many more births,” says a misty-eyed husband. ” O Lord! Save me from this pain. I want to die early so that I can be re-born to become wife of this man,” the lady prays. “Don’t do that,” Interjects the husband. If you are born now and I die later, you would be elder to me and we would not be able to marry. Pray for a re-birth some 50 years later, so that you be younger and would be eligible to marry me.” “How can you even live without me for 50 long years dear,” the wife cried even as she breathed with extreme difficulty. “Don’t bother about that. I have already told the widow next door that I shall marry her and live as man and wife after your death.” A shell-shocked wife breathed her last at the very instant. “Why should one worry about the life next. Why must one loose midnight’s oil thinking of the life that no one has seen or ever experienced. Why should one bother about that which cannot be proved,” questions Lord Buddha.
“Why should anyone give up his life for another person? Every life is one’s own,” says Geeta Devi in the novel Himajwala. When you understand what is going on around you, you will realize who you are. When you read what others have written, finding solutions to the life problems becomes easier.If you are reading this book, it only means you want to know the others who shaped their lives.“ He who shapes his life from others’ experiences is the wisest. He who learns from his own experiences is wiser. He who doesn’t learn anything from anyone and refuses to change himself or correct himself despite repeated failures is an idiot.”Thus spoke Swami Vivekananda. Life is God’s greatest gift to you. Live it despite all the sufferings. The most invaluable thing in the world is one’s life. Think over… ruminate… deliberate upon this.Ending one’s life for petty reasons like love being spurned, being duped and deceived in love, being insulted by people or being suspected at every step by the man whom one had married, for failing in an exam or for not getting what one wanted or due to debt burden is the biggest crime one can possibly commit. Killing self, isn’t that a crime?
* * * * *
Imagine there is only one train in this world and you want to board it. You run quickly to the ticket booking counter and ask for a ticket. The booking clerk says, “there are no tickets to be issued.” “I’ll pay double the fare” you would say.”You may be ready to pay 50 times more. But, there are no tickets,” he says firmly. “Why?” “The train that you wanted to get in had already left. No matter how much you may be willing to pay, the train will not come back.” Yes. Time and tide wait for none. Any amount of treatments or surgeries can be performed only when the patient is alive. Once the life is snuffed out, even the closest relatives say “It’s a body… a cadaver.” There is value only when one is alive. So, money is no more worthy than life. Character is no more worthy than life. Pain and suffering are no more worthy than life.Relations are no more worthy than life. Nothing is more worthy than life.
Thus, life is the most invaluable thing in the world. A life is most invaluable for the one who lives. A father sacrificing his life for his son, a mother sacrificing her life for her children, a lover dying for the loved one, or anyone sacrificing one’s life for others is useless. One has to have a liking for life. He should aspire to live. One should enjoy the life to the fullest. The one who sees himself as an inalienable part of the nature’s glory never despairs. He always lives in the hope of a better and brighter tomorrow.
* * * * *
Life is a boon and living is a technique. “Patience even when you are hungry, Smiling even when you are in sorrow deepest Remaining solemn even in penury, Welcoming even the enemy with the smile purest These alone bring paradise on earth,” – says a Sufi. Only when we enjoy such rare and exalted life to the fullest, the world becomes a happier place. Nature becomes happier and even God cherishes it. Innumerable seers, sires, the wise, the philosophers and world leaders say unequivocally and in unison “Life is the most invaluable thing in the.
What is the value of your life?
Will you mortgage your life for Rs 10 crore?
How worthier is it against anything else?
Is anything more invaluable than your life?
A life must not be sacrificed for anyone else.
Do you have the deepest urge to live this life as
long as the Almighty granted you?
Will you remember for life that there is no value in throwing away your life for something that is utterly worthless?