The Survivor

Heaving breaths,

welcome me into consciousness;

my journey into the night is yet of a fugitive.


Water eases my parched throat,

dried by the oxygen that pushes through;

Survival is a binary game,

and we're all, but playing blind.


Beside me,

on the right, at a 4 palmed distance,

lies Amir.

At a fragile 72,

his 27 seems infinitely younger.

It's the perversely overturned mirror of disease,

that has brought us closer than 45.


He looks whiter today,

but takes undisturbed, calm breaths.

The soft sun,

turns his black hair brown,

his fair skin into the afterthought of a shadow.


I sigh,

His loud breathing was the rhythm I would hum along to,

One day, when I'm well,

I will immortalize him in my music.

.

.

With a catch in my throat I awaken again,

A frantic nurse flashes a reassuring smile,

on my left is troubled Anisa,

and the sun that has now completed its day.

I follow the nurse to the right,

where young, loud Amir is now silent.

A constant drone from the machine,

where only today was a rhythmic living breath.


Lifelessness looks fake on him.

It's like his death mocks me,

"I plucked a bud,

and left a ripe fruit,

where the vultures of time will find it.

For the fruit, though ripe,

was not ready for the plucking;

and the bud, though young,

didn't know, it had yet a choice."


4 days hence, I am home,

Lighter breath and a heavy heart;

The mirror is unforgiving now,

And instead of my wrinkled face,

and white hair;

I see Amir's shadow of white and brown.


The keys on my piano,

turn into daggers of monochromatic memory.

As I play them,

I bleed.

Amir's extinct breath is angry,

It doesn't relent for a homage.


I'm sorry Amir,

I wish it was me.

It's too late,

the sun has set on my right now;

and I too, switch off for the day.

What is guilt but helplessness dancing to the devil’s trance?

As Eva Lavi, a then-young Holocaust survivor most aptly puts it - “I feel guilty I survived” And today the world’s in a different kind of Holocaust, one of another kind of disease that has yet triumphed over man. With many people losing their lives in this unfortunate circumstance a lot more who survive are struggling with the fact that by apparent chance- they outlived their relatives and/or friends. Death, when seen at close quarters touches you, and especially when it is deemed illogical, baffles everything we have worked so hard to build - the hope for continued survival basis mental and physical strength and ability. Yet today, when many of us grapple with untimely goodbyes, the gnawing question that oft plagues us, returns, but in a different form

- “Why not me?”.


“What a lurid thought isn’t it! What a perverse way to think! What nonsense to focus on this when there’s real troubles in lives!”


These comments are the reason many of us don’t understand what we feel, why we feel and how to communicate it. In my view, it’s the self that we exist with and that often falls prey to external validation or self depreciation in absence of it that perceives survival as the war between the worthy and the unworthy.


But what’s strange is worth itself is an individual perception, and thus, many of us feel unworthy, of love, of care and even of base survival as compared to those we love or those we respect in good stead. Here’s a plea to those of you who read this - they didn’t die because of you, you couldn’t have died instead and you are worthy: many times over.


Read this prose on survivors guilt responsibly. And remember to be human - first to yourself and then to others. Instead of guilt choose love. Instead of helplessness choose help. Instead of dejection choose acceptance. And if that doesn’t make u feel better please understand you’re not a survivor yet. For a survivor isn’t just someone who doesn’t die - a survivor is someone who lives on.

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