I duly informed the spouse of the same, because it mandated that immediate family needed to be informed.. “In case I die, you need to show this to the hospital.” He nodded grimly and continued staring at the screen of his computer where he was busy trying to decode NIFTY five year patterns. I didn’t know whether he had heard and assimilated what I had just said. I showed him the card. He cast a perfunctory glance at it and his eyes flickered back to the screen. I put the card carefully into my wallet and told him, something that had been running in my head for a while, but which I had never articulated so far, “You can let them take whatever is needed from my body, and whatever is left please just cremate it in the electric crematorium, no wood please, and scatter the ashes in the sea. And I don’t want any puja, havan or feeding of Brahmins or anything for my soul.” There was no response. He is a taciturn man. I took myself to my computer and began typing this out.
It did scare me, for a moment, this sudden reminder of my mortality. I have a young child who isn’t as grown up as I’d like him to be, books yet to be written, songs to be sung, places to be visited, friends to be met, a bucket list that keeps growing rather than getting ticked off. Contemplating what happens to my body after I die felt threatening, but just for a moment. Would it really matter, I thought, what happens to my remains when I go? Whether they send me intact into the after world, or they take out what could be used to help another person who needs it, and then dispose of my body? I would just be, I realised, a piece of dead flesh. It wouldn’t matter to me what they did to me.
When I filled out the online form to apply for an organ donor card, it didn’t really hit me as it did this morning. I could die any day, I realised. Anytime. While crossing the street. While going down in the lift if the cable snapped. While eating something, if I choked on it. This just made it more immediate.
It also makes me more responsible. What use this organ donor card if my organs aren’t healthy enough to be of use to anyone. I need to eat healthy, paradoxically, to live a fitter life, to keep body parts in perfect working condition so another person who needs it can benefit from it.
Would you like to be a posthumous organ donor too? Sign up here: http://www.shatayu.org.in. It is, perhaps, I think, the ultimate way to give back to humanity.