Yesterday I finished reading this book by Paulo Coelho which I'd bought at the Nizamuddin railway station, Delhi: Veronika Decides to Die. It is a story about a young, good looking, 24 year old girl with a steady job and plenty of boyfriends who attempts at killing herself by consuming an overdose of sleeping pills. Why did she want to kill herself at all?
Monotony. She felt that her life was too boring, too predictable and from then on it would only go downhill, with her becoming frail and weak and diseased and watching her loved ones die. She didn't see any point in living any further. She believed that every human being had a choice to take their own lives if they wanted to and 'God' shouldn't punish them for doing so, in fact, if anything, He is the one who should be apologetic for putting them on a place like the Earth in the first place.
Anyway, she survives somehow and wakes up in a mental hospital where she gets to know that her heart has been irreversibly damaged and she only had a week to live. While she waits for death to arrive, she suddenly realizes that she needn't care about what people think about what she says or does or how she behaves because she had nothing to lose. She needn't care about the walls she had constructed around her, trying to be correct, to be precise, to be proper. And so, for the first time in her life, she allows herself to be free. To do things she had never done, to experience beauty and love and hatred and perversion.
It is when she is so aware of death lingering around her that she finally understands what it is to live, to fall in love, to experience extreme emotions, to find joy in simple things. Isn't it ironical? Her decision to die teaches her how to live.
I read somewhere "The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost." It's only after we lose something that we realize what it meant to us. Veronika realized that she hated the way she had lived her life. She never let herself be a little mad, a little crazy; she always tried to be a cistern, containing all the water inside her; but never a fountain, overflowing with emotions and enthusiasm. She never took risks, she never liked adventure, she was never rude or spiteful, she never made moves on guys thinking they might dump her; she never lived life on the edge. There was no excitement, no meaning, no purpose in her life.
I guess this is what happens to most people somewhere through life. They lose the spark, they are too afraid to go out of their comfort zones, they don't live life on the edge, and they end up existing, instead of living. Reading the book has once again changed my perspective about life (earlier it had happened after I watched The Secret) I guess we should all live our lives like its going to end very soon. Like we only have a few days to experience everything we can and to do everything we wanted to do. Like there's very little time left. Like there's no tomorrow.
Be crazy. Be daring. Try things. Try things which are considered wrong. Make mistakes, make lots of them. Experience bitter resentment and extreme anger and maddening euphoria. Weep with happiness, jump with joy and laugh out loud. Live. Life is too short and there is a lot to be done. Like a wise man once said, "There is no time to act dead; for one day, we will be."