I lived and died

I was first born when the Earth was green,

The trees were tall,

And I wandered around the forest,

As soon as I could walk…

Gathering some fruit and hunting other animals,

Then a big bear bit my head off,

Ate me up and that was that.


Then I was born again when the Earth was still green,

I fell into slush as my mother worked in a field,

I wandered around the farm, covered in large leaves

Gathering grain, vegetables and fruits

Making sounds and gestures to communicate,

Then a snake crept up and bit me,

I foamed at my mouth and that was that..

Then I was born again when the Earth was somewhat green,

Many hands pried me out from my mother’s womb,

And I had a small basket to wander in,

A floor that hurt when I fell,

Nice sweet food, aromas that made me hungry

I walked to school, learnt many languages, wore clothes

Got a fever and that was that….


Then I was born again in a white room,

With people in white clothes helping me out,

They slapped my bottom and made me cry,

There was a lot of beeping and talking as I took my first breath,

I roamed around in a basket on wheels, had lots of clothes,

Was dropped to school, learnt English, watched TV for several hours,

I went to a temple and knew my God was special,

My friend went to a church and knew his God was special,

Another friend prayed at home as she couldn’t go to the mosque,

But knew her God was special,

I asked if there was a God that was not special,

Embarrassing my parents …

My mother whispered to me at night,

Our God is the most special, he was before time,

I told her, I have been here many times,

But didn’t find anyone called God …

She had tears in her eyes and a lump in her throat,

And called me an “agnostic”,

The Earth had turned red, yellow, green, white, blue …

Because democracy lets you paint the walls of your cage,

I chatted with my friend who went to church,

He too asked his parents if there was a God that was not special,

Embarrassing his parents … his mother called him an “atheist”,

Then I died after spending many days in a white room,

With people in white clothes helping me out,

They slapped my chest, put tubes into my mouth,

Injected me, pinched me and tried really hard

But I refused to breathe and that was NOT that …

A pyre was lit and my body was turned to ashes,

My son cried and recited some hymns,

Missing his work and me,

Spent money over many days in the hope that I find my way

Back to heaven, little knowing that I had made the trip many times,

Then my church going friend died,

They put him in a box, and lowered him into the Earth,

He joined me on the way out

My other friend who prayed at home also died,

They put her too in a box, and lowered her into the Earth,

She joined us on the way out

We laughed all the way,

For we knew our way and whatever our children did,

We all went to the same place,

We didn’t find any God, we didn’t find any Devil,

We didn’t remember what we ate or wore,

We only knew how much we loved and

How much we helped another,

We became wiser on this trip and that’s all,

Life goes on, death goes on, the Earth goes on…

And I am born again … can I be of help?



3 thoughts on “I lived and died”

  1. Bindu,
    Good characterization of reincarnation. Love binds through it all. I wonder, though, is the purpose to be helpful, or to be useful? You can be helpful without being useful, but not useful without being helpful. At least that’s what I believe today.

    • Its funny Katharine, that you said “useful” – thats the word I used first and then felt it didn’t sound right and changed it to helpful. The poem was more about all the ceremonies we do after one dies and every religion believes their ritual to be superior and better while birth and death have happened the same way since life happened on Earth. The whole concept of heaven and hell and God is created to keep human beings in fear and bondage. :):) Sorry for ranting, but I get pissed off with every religion trying to monopolise death and the ceremonies related to it.

      • Bindu, That tendency to try to own god is silly, isn’t it? I like the impersonal idea that god is love, with “qi” being a possible synonym, too. No rituals involved there, and it includes nature in its universality. However, Hinduism’s acceptance of reincarnation does differ from the Judeo-Christian beliefs. To my mind that broadens its appeal. I was thinking that if there is transmigration of souls–such as from human to animal or plant–the earth would never get overpopulated with people.

        Glad you approve of the “useful” idea. Lately, it seems a lot of “helpers” are also “enablers,” which is why I prefer the term “useful.”

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