My younger daughter Drishya, who is 7 years old, seemed to be a little disturbed…there was something on her mind which was troubling her.
Finally, she came to me asking, “Mummy, will you die when you are 100 years old?”
I replied, “Yes, I too will die someday…”
Drishya – “Why do people die when they grow old?”
Me – “If nobody died, the world would become a very crowded place. There wouldn’t be place for anything. Old has to be replaced by new. Don’t we discard your old clothes when we buy new ones for you? If we didn’t then there wouldn’t be place in your wardrobe to fit in all the clothes!!!”
Drishya -“So will you and papa die too, when you become 100 years old?”
Me – “I can’t say when we will die. It isn’t in our hands. We are not the ones to decide when we will die.”
Drishya – “Oh, So God decides….. Do people become old as soon as they grow up? Have you grown old?”
Me – “Me and Papa are not old yet. We are still middle aged. But Grandma and Grandpa are older, they are in seventies. Your friend’s grandmother is in her eighties. With time we grow older. So there is still some time before me and Papa become old.”
Drishya – “Why do old people die then?”
Me – “Didn’t you see your friend’s grandmother today? She was so weak, she had to take support while walking. She couldn’t eat the food properly. As we grow older, our ability to do things decreases. Our memory fails. We grow weaker, we can’t do things on our own, life becomes difficult for us. So ultimately we die.”
Drishya – “So after you die will you be born again? Will you have one daughter or two daughters or maybe a son?”
Me – “Maybe, I don’t really know. Maybe we are reborn now, but we don’t remember who we were in our past life. Our memory of our past life is lost. So let’s not worry about what will happen in our next life…”
Drishya – “Do we become angels and go to heaven after we die? Or do we go to Hell?”
Me – “Do not think of heaven and hell as someplace we go to. When you are very happy, you are in heaven. When you are very sad you are in Hell. Just imagine you are eating your favorite ice cream, enjoying it…then you are in heaven. And imagine that you fell down and hurt your leg, and you are feeling sad, then you are in Hell. Just live in the present. That’s all that really matters!!”
Then Papa called out to Drishya and our conversation ended.