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I turned 14 that day, not everybody knows that the fourteenth birthday was the hardest to come over. The fourteenth birthday left a scar which took eight years to shed. A couple of days before I had to turn fourteen, a bright sunny day brought a sunset that never rose again.

Like every other child cutting a birthday cake used to bring more excitement than the birthday gifts. As far as I remember, a lot of people used to visit home, including some that were never seen around. My cousins had arrived from Wellington, my relatives used to visit every other day.

In the excitement, I used to think, this year’s birthday party could be grand only to realize that they had come for my grandfather who was ill. We never knew what he was suffering inside, he looked perfectly fine from outside though.

But things couldn’t fall into place as the ex-army man after fighting two battles for the country couldn’t battle his illness. He lost his breath a day later. It brought agony to the family. I was too young to understand. Like every grandchild, I had good relations with my grandfather and eventually, we were talking about my plans.

A few moments later, he became unconscious. A man may be strong enough but he can’t defeat death. We all felt helpless, doctors were called. Everyone gave and so did my grandfather. I was supposed to burn candles that day, eventually, I was asked to burn the pyre. It was the saddest moment of my life. I could blame myself for being way too happy.

Years and years passed and whenever my birthday came, I used to relive each moment I suffered that day. I could see the pyre burning. The skin was burning and in no moment turned into ashes. Since then, I used to turn off my phone and just couldn’t see anyone happy on this day.

The cries and the sorrow I had gone through that day was much more than the happiness of my birth. Of course death could beat birth any day. Any of my friends would enjoy accompanying me to a small hike or a long trek and I took that as an escape.

Many people used to quarrel about this, many used to make fun but it’s a feeling not everyone would understand so I never stopped anyone. Things enter into the mind not with the age but with the losses and the losses come with experiences.

But, last year things didn’t go my way. I was detained in a few subjects and so was my roommate. We decided to go on a long trek this day and my intuitions didn’t allow me to inform my dad. It went well until we found a small pathway which was very steep and had to cross a glacier to reach the other side.

My roommate being flexible with snowfall and small feet stood his ground and used his hands and feet to cross over. However, I being the restless one fell on my back and slid down. He had just crossed the pathway when I fell. It was an 85 degrees cliff and there was a frozen waterfall which would have met the river. It was at a height of barely 800 meters.

I was hanging there and was sliding down. I could imagine myself sliding straight into the river. I tried to move a bit and could only help myself sliding downer. Being nostalgic, I didn’t want to die without leaving a message. I looked at my friend. He looked helpless but tried hard motivating me.

I was stuck for around a couple of minutes and I was sad about the thing that I couldn’t remember anyone. Not my family, not the girl I loved, not my friends and no one and this brought more sadness. I was stuck in a comedy of errors until I looked back, I saw a trident on the top of the mountain.

The trident was the Shiva’s Trishul and the place which was the highest point of the trek. I just couldn’t understand the fact. Being an atheist I didn’t want to plead to God to save my life. I shouted on that node. Fortunately, I have a habit of not cutting my nails, I somehow used it as an advantage.

The nails were big enough to get stuck in the frozen ice and I managed a grip and stopped myself from falling. Slowly, I reached the other end. Both of us sighed in relief. I laughed and he was more tensed. “I was about to call the rescue team.” I can still remember his words. However we cheered and started moving down.

We had to reach Chandigarh by the evening and we reached there by midnight. I was going to meet my oldest friend who knew every bit of me. And suddenly in a hurry as the clock clicked 12. He opened the cake box and everybody started singing. For the first time in eight years, I realized I deserve this.

I realized that I could have died this day. For the first time in eight years, I was happy I made it and I finally burned the candles that day for the first time in eight years.  But this realization took place on that cliff. Those couple of minutes taught me that life can end any day and anywhere.

No one can stop it. Even your loved ones cannot. Even your hatred ones cannot bring you to death either. I realized I was just more than this. I realized, “We live every day, we just die once.” And that’s how life is. Not a single day, a man should end the hopes of tomorrow, for there shall be no tomorrow one day.

Nothing lies forever. Forever is a lie. What we have is a life between two breaths, the first and the last. Live Life. Love People. Accept Adventures. Kill the hate.





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About The Author

Anirudh Chandel

| Lawyer | Writer | Traveller | Footballer |

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