Heaven’s just a sin away for those averse to wearing masks or failing to maintain social distancing during the pandemic. Flirting with death was never this easy in ‘loving memory’ as millions knock on heaven’s door that’s being flung wide open by the coronavirus. Death the leveller for the rich; death the deliverer for poor. Death the stranger for the living and the dead.
In both cases, the Grim Reaper is eager to mop up souls who may have lost their way. And if the hapless victim happens to be from the rich-list, there is a flurry of global attention — about their wealth, and who gets what when they are gone after giving up the ghost.
But expect some pandemonium here on Earth if the dearly departed spares nothing for the usual suspects in the family or bequeaths his (or her) vast earnings to someone from outside the inner circle. What if they decide to hand it over to some charity, a dog shelter, or some long-lost lover? Sounds like a perfect setting for an Agatha Christie-like mystery.
The shame, the scandal, the wagging tongues. But if you think wills are from the deadly precincts of celebrities and jet-setters who have now been mostly grounded, think again. Planning for your passing is important for the middle class too, financial advisors will tell you: it’s important to ensure the right amount of wealth goes into the right pair of hands.
I can’t wax lyrical enough about this serious business because I know little of its absurdities. But people tell me that the art of crafting wills without making life on Earth hell for your loved ones when you give up the fight is a delicate subject, even taboo to discuss openly in some families.
Perhaps you have planned a surprise that may shock your loved ones out of their wits. You want to write it down and keep it secure under a pillow. Better still, practise before a mirror before you summon those you love (or pretend to love). Read it out to them before you kick the bucket. It’s better that way before you’re buried or burnt. Either way, they’ll hate you for it.
The passing must be planned, deliberated and discussed to soften the blow when the call comes, experts tell us, but I am not inclined to listen, yet.
For the human body, it’s ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Others go with the flow and are thrown into holy rivers. A pall of gloom will hang over the family that grieves and weeps. For the departed soul, there are spiritual riches in heaven — like an eternal flame waiting in the portals of glory.
While heaven may rejoice your arrival, what happens when you are leaving nothing behind or don’t leave enough for the material needs of those you love — or claimed to have loved — and spent most of your life with, is what should concern the living. I am convinced there will be gnashing of teeth.
Meanwhile, Dr Tony Fauci or Dr Randeep Guleria are predicting wave after wave of damnation. Hurry along, they seem to say. They are the information hounds of heaven or modern prophets of doom of Earth who must be enjoying themselves as they steal the spotlight from the coronavirus, the modern angel of death that treats rich and poor, young and poor alike.
You got co-morbidities, you go first. The stairway to heaven must be creaking under the weight of those four million souls who have made their journey thus far.
But I am a believer in family ties. Someone, somewhere from the Jacob clan may have left something substantial for me from their legacy — an heirloom for me to enjoy.
I haven’t asked what’s in store and don’t intend to in the future. The only hint I got was when I overheard a conversation about the fullness of life and enjoying the moment; about the meek who shall inherit the Earth as we continue our hide and seek with death.
Que sera sera. What will be, will be. What is willed shall be done.
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