The 125th death.
[Text by Farha Noor; photo by Shireen Akhtar]
Farha Noor died in her dream. She dreamt she was dying. She was found dead on her bed beside a pile of half-read books in five languages and a packet of tobacco, from which she had rolled a cigarette that was only half smoked and left to burn out, like the rest of the lives of the things she lived with. Her neighbors (who did not know her at all) in Vasant Kunj noticed her absence (which was quite normal) despite her main door being unlocked from the outside (which was not normal at all). And so, no one knew that she had died in a dream, a dream that successfully carried out her fear of death.
As a child, Ms Noor had always feared death by water. She did not swim. Too early in life, while trotting a village path in Bengal during monsoon, she had slipped along a muddy slope, into a pretty green pond, studded with pink and white water lilies. Unable to understand what had happened, she cried out and could never recollect the incidents that followed. Her mother told her later in life, that hearing her cry and with a slow and certain realization, her mother understood that Ms Noor was not holding her hand any more, that she was not even anywhere nearby, but had fallen into the green and pink pond of death. Ms Noor’s mother, unlike her, is a doer. She jumped in, and being an ace swimmer in village ponds, saved her child.
Ms Noor had since then conjured up a variety of feelings regarding water bodies, muddy village paths, water lilies and anything that combined itself in the hues of white pink and light green. She had always feared and known that these (any or all of them) would lead to her death. But people will never know the significance of her pink pajamas and green bed sheets. No one will know why her bed-side table had a pencil-sketch of a wreck at sea that depicted the death of her favorite poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Nor will anyone know that the flat was never again visited by her white pet lizard, Waterlily.
No one will know that she died drowning in a dream; that her ever-confused brain sent mixed signals to her lungs, which, tired of all the mixed signals they have received all their active life, at that very moment, decided to give up and stop taking in oxygen; that Ms Noor took her dreams a tad too seriously. Medical examiners could not spot any reason for her death. Investigators are trying to understand what she was trying to hold onto, in her tightly clutched hands, as nothing was found in them, to give out any clue. Her grieving mother says she last spoke to Ms Noor on the phone while she was asleep and was mumbling ‘water, water’.
Our Self-Written Obituaries invites people to write their obituary in 200 words. The idea is to share with the world how you will like to be remembered after you are gone. (May you live a long life, of course!) Please mail me your self-obit at email@example.com.