We are almost a month into the COVID-19 quarantine and as university students, we are made or somewhat are accustomed to a spontaneous and chaotic schedule. There is one thing we probably never talk about as a pressing issue; death.
Immortality is a fluke, the reason for that is, time is still constrained. The concept lies on the presumption that the world it inhabits won’t end and so neither will it. Albeit, the world we live in will end; some catastrophe is inevitable or perhaps desirable to a certain extent; a meteor hitting us, plague, nuclear war, and or myth. All our biology is an embodiment of the same cloth of concept, certain secretions stop after a certain time, which are essential, bones deteriorate etc. All our primordial base is governed to not die. We try our best to control the external factors, such as wars, floods etc. as much as we can, but our own existence is a manifestation of death. It all runs in a cycle. We run in a meta cycle of existence: we are born, we have a childhood, we try to get our life together, we perhaps try to have a family, and we leave when they are half way through.
It is pretty evident of an example that when we aren’t given a date of submission of an assignment, we all delay, even when we are given one, but it’s kind of far away, we delay. It is reflected in the concept of death. Death is the deadline of our life, which we have rules and regulations that of which the assignment – so to speak – is made by. COVID-19 is the first epidemic that has massively hit our generation, although it’s nothing (right now) compared to the Black Death, but it could be. It has made us, the generation of highest suicide rates, ironically, aware of involuntary death; death of uncertainty and fear. We are mingled in our busy lives and trying our best to manage the vibes, but although we act out the cycle of life (in part) we forget the reason of urgency; death. And this overlooking of the only fact that is absolutely true has, to a certain degree, created an illusion of monotonous and stable life; a life, or rather a stage that we in the back of our heads never realize will pass. We won’t be able to have three pillows under our heads while we watch the reaction of a person a thousand miles away with the coke and chips right on our bed. This is perhaps the greatest and boldest illusion of our generation. We have what our forefathers didn’t, we have ample food, good house, internet, millions of available books, highest middle-class percentage etc. What lacks in our era are the psychological needs; feeling of belonging, of love and of meaning etc.
The reason for the “need” rather than “will” is the fact of self-responsibility, the underlying fact of inevitability is already hammered down our skulls. We need to die because only then does the sense of urgency apply, and only then will we ever do anything at all. COVID-19 has made us aware of the involuntary death and the uncertainty of it has laden many of us in fear and anxiety with all its baggage of hefty customs. Death is more real to us than ever before although it was always there; death needs to come, for us to be able to live at all.
Raafat Gilani is a student pursuing English Honors from Jamia Millia Islamia.