Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans

RIP www.clipartpanda com

A pretty woman was serving a life sentence in prison. Angry and resentful about her situation, she felt she had had enough; she would dare an escape risking capture and punishment rather than to live another year in prison.

Over the years she had become good friends with one of the prison caretakers.

His job, among others, was to bury those prisoners who died in a graveyard just outside the prison walls. When a prisoner died, the caretaker rang a bell, which was heard by everyone.

The caretaker then got the body and put it in a casket.

Next, he entered his office to fill out the death certificate before returning to the casket to nail the lid shut. Finally, he put the casket on a wagon to take it to the graveyard and bury it.

Knowing this routine, the woman devised an escape plan and shared it with the friendly caretaker. The next time the bell would ring when the woman was on her free time out of the cell. She would sneak into the dark room where the coffin was kept. She would slip into the coffin with the dead body while the caretaker was filling out the death certificate. When the caretaker returned, he would nail the lid shut and take the coffin outside the prison with the woman in the coffin along with the dead body. He would then bury the coffin.

The woman knew there would be enough air for her to breathe until later in the evening when the caretaker would return to the graveyard under the cover of darkness, dig up the coffin, open it, and set her free.

The caretaker was reluctant to go along with this plan, but since he and the woman had become good friends over the years, he agreed to do it. She assured him it was a foolproof plan.

The woman had to wait for several weeks before someone in the prison died.

It was break-time for her when she heard the death bell ring. She slowly walked down the hallway. She was nearly caught a couple of times. Her heart was beating fast. She opened the door to the darkened room where the coffin was kept. Quietly in the dark, she found the coffin that contained the dead body, carefully climbed into the coffin and pulled the lid shut to wait for the caretaker to come and nail the lid shut.

Soon she heard footsteps and the pounding of the hammer and nails. Even though she was very uncomfortable in the coffin, she knew that with each nail she was one step closer to freedom.

The coffin was lifted onto the wagon and taken outside to the graveyard. She could feel the coffin being lowered into the ground.

She didn’t make a sound as the coffin hit the bottom of the grave with a thud.

Finally she heard the dirt dropping onto the top of the wooden coffin, and she knew that it was only a matter of time until she would be free at last.

After several minutes of absolute silence, she began to laugh.

She was free! She was free!

She decided to light a match that she had thoughtfully carried with her, to find out who amongst her prison-mates had died.

To her horror, she discovered that she was lying next to the friendly caretaker.

A foolproof plan, it was, but fateproof?

End

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Source: Reblogged from Dec 12, edited from a piece from funonthenet.in. Image from clipartpanda.com.

A Black-Lettered Day

Yesterday – a day I suddenly lost a big piece of myself.

A day, I wish, had never dawned.

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A class-mate at school and a friend, a bond that lasted for over 50 years.

They say: “Friendship is the kind that doesn’t depend on a common situation, place or hobbies. A friend is one who loves you for being you, will worry about your problems, will help whenever he can without you asking him to, and will always care about what you are going through.”

He was all this and more.

Was I to him? I wish I could be surer.

I curse myself for not reaching him in those weeks.

It feels so unreal.

One more puncture in the bubble-wrap of life.

End
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Credits: ba-bamail.com for the quote.

Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans

rip inky2010

A pretty woman was serving a life sentence in prison. Angry and resentful about her situation, she felt she had had enough; she would dare an escape risking capture and punishment rather than to live another year in prison.

Over the years she had become good friends with one of the prison caretakers.

His job, among others, was to bury those prisoners who died in a graveyard just outside the prison walls. When a prisoner died, the caretaker rang a bell, which was heard by everyone.

The caretaker then got the body and put it in a casket.

Next, he entered his office to fill out the death certificate before returning to the casket to nail the lid shut. Finally, he put the casket on a wagon to take it to the graveyard and bury it.

Knowing this routine, the woman devised an escape plan and shared it with the friendly caretaker. The next time the bell would ring when the woman was on her free time out of the cell. She would sneak into the dark room where the coffin was kept. She would slip into the coffin with the dead body while the caretaker was filling out the death certificate. When the caretaker returned, he would nail the lid shut and take the coffin outside the prison with the woman in the coffin along with the dead body. He would then bury the coffin.

The woman knew there would be enough air for her to breathe until later in the evening when the caretaker would return to the graveyard under the cover of darkness, dig up the coffin, open it, and set her free.

The caretaker was reluctant to go along with this plan, but since he and the woman had become good friends over the years, he agreed to do it. She assured him it was a foolproof plan.

The woman had to wait for several weeks before someone in the prison died.

It was break-time for her when she heard the death bell ring. She slowly walked down the hallway. She was nearly caught a couple of times. Her heart was beating fast. She opened the door to the darkened room where the coffin was kept. Quietly in the dark, she found the coffin that contained the dead body, carefully climbed into the coffin and pulled the lid shut to wait for the caretaker to come and nail the lid shut.

Soon she heard footsteps and the pounding of the hammer and nails. Even though she was very uncomfortable in the coffin, she knew that with each nail she was one step closer to freedom.

The coffin was lifted onto the wagon and taken outside to the graveyard. She could feel the coffin being lowered into the ground.

She didn’t make a sound as the coffin hit the bottom of the grave with a thud.

Finally she heard the dirt dropping onto the top of the wooden coffin, and she knew that it was only a matter of time until she would be free at last.

After several minutes of absolute silence, she began to laugh.

She was free! She was free!

She decided to light a match that she had thoughtfully carried with her, to find out who amongst her prison-mates had died.

To her horror, she discovered that she was lying next to the friendly caretaker.

A foolproof plan, it was, but fateproof?

End

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Source: Edited from a piece from funonthenet.in. Image from openclipart.com.

The Guru Speaks

The morning paper carried a human interest story with a snapshot of the scene of the incident:

“…He sat in front of the temple all day and night. He never hassled anyone for alms. The mere sight of him tugged at the heart strings of the devotees and loosened up their purse strings. He had collected a pile of rags, empty bottles and a couple of aluminum plates to receive food. Whenever the temple trustees objected, he would move to a distance and was back in a few days.

One morning he did not get up from the pavement that was his bed. He had died in sleep.

The municipal authorities were called in to remove the body for whatever investigation and finally cremation.

When they cleared the rags, empty bottles and other worldly possessions, they also found a bundle.

It surprised everyone to find the bundle had a large amount of currency notes, folded and tucked haphazardly. The beggar’s wealth was inventoried on the spot and rechecked by a member of the public. It totaled up to a little over sixty two thousand rupees…”


The Sishya (disciple) read it aloud and commiserated: ‘How assiduously he must have collected the money, poor man. He had it all the time, but, miserable chap, he was not destined to enjoy while he was alive.’

The Guru smiled: ‘Well, I would think, he enjoyed doing what he was best at – begging. The money was not the act for him. He didn’t die a miserable man.’

End

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Source: Unfortunately I’m unable to presently recall the source for this piece. Credit for the image: openclipart (Gerard_G)

And they were 38

It was a rule the counter closed thirty minutes before the departure. The man was all sweat as he rushed, his wife, a portly lady straining for breath and her sari in disarray behind him. The hassled girl fixed him in a stare and after a moment’s indecision decided to take them in as the last passengers on the flight. Now this was it and no more. It was their lucky day, he thought to himself.

The airhostess standing at the head of the isle behind the pilot’s cabin launched herself into the routine of demo’ing safety procedures. Exhausted some had already slipped into a sound nap while she gamely went about her chore and there were others sharing their jokes when she was on the part about emergency landing on water.

In a couple of minutes the aircraft climbed to its cruising altitude and the seat-belt signs were switched off. It was a cue for a few to stand up and stretch their limbs. Shortly after the hostess was all business sporting a plastic smile and handing out tea, coffee and light refreshment. That done the passengers, 35 of them, caged in the aluminum shell for the next fifty minutes, quietly settled down to reading books and magazines, listening to the in-flight audio channels or to resume their interrupted nap. A few busied themselves on their laptops and tablets. The mothers pulled out toys and gaming kits to engage the restless children.

All was well until thirty third minute when the plane smashed through a large bank of thick clouds. The turbulence brought prayers to the lips of the believing. The seasoned travelers were nonchalant.

About twenty seconds later

The channels were quick to push aside economic crises, epidemic breakout and ethnic violence to announce with profound grief the loss of thirty eight lives – that included a promising TV actor, a group of business men returning from an offsite event, a few other professionals, senior citizens and families with children and a honey-mooning couple. The flight from the island resort had crashed into the sea. There were the usual stories of how some narrowly escaped the grim fate quite fortuitously and others despite hurdles kept to their appointment. The search was mounted for rescuing survivors, the prospects appearing dim. There were clips of wailing relatives, some quietly in tears. One of them pitifully cried to the camera: ‘If there was a God, and a benevolent one, how could He mercilessly and indiscriminately cut out so many lives in a single swathe?’

On the same day late evening one of the channels trailing in ratings put out a hastily pieced-together program on places of interest on the island. A partial transcript of what was said:

“…Weeds, reptiles and rodents had taken over the old mansion and its lands. No one dared to go anywhere near. Whoever went in to lay hands on the rumored treasures from the mansion’s cavernous rooms was said to turn up dead foaming at the mouth. Screams could be heard in the nightsThere were no records of any descendants; no one so far had come up to claim ownership of the propertyWhatever could be gleaned about the last occupants of the mansion was by talking to a puttering oldie – she had heard it from her grandma: The Pannaiyar (the big landlord) owned much of the lands in and around the village. He and his hands had mercilessly lynched a young lad accused of outraging the modesty of a woman from the mansion. That the boy was mentally a little unstable did not count. His parents, restrained, watched helplessly as life seeped out of the dying lad. They cursed the entire assembly of perpetrators to doom then and forever. That was the beginning of the end for the Pannaiyar, his family and others and the mansion…”

An innocuous factoid strangely preserved in the oldie’s account was regarded as an insignificant detail and edited out by the channel: they were thirty eight in the assembly.

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End
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Credits to openclipart.com (laobc) for the image.

The Five Regrets of the Dying

This is reblogged from one of my favorite sites: ideachampions.com:

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.

She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom:

“When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.”

The Five Regrets of the Dying:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

End

It would be interesting to find out what would be this list with other cultures.

Anyways, before it’s too late…

Source: Grateful thanks to ideaschampion.com

The Jyothish (Astrologer) Who Failed To See His End Coming?

(Contd.)

Part 2

The Raja was holding court in the evening to discuss fresh avenues for collecting money from his subjects to finance the building of a new palace on a grand scale. His idea was to make his subjects pay a special levy for living in his kingdom and enjoying peace and prosperity. The minister and the other officials were aghast at this idea, but were at loss to make the Raja see reason.

Just when the Raja was planning to have his final say in the matter, there was a commotion outside the main doors of the Durbar Hall. Someone was trying to force himself in while the guards were stopping him at the doors. The Raja flew into a rage at this impertinence. He called out to the guards to bring the man in before him. When the man came into the view, everyone assembled in the Durbar Hall went pale in the face and stood up poised to make a dash for the doors. The King too froze in his tracks. For, the man was none other than the Jyothish who was thrown into a samadhi and burnt in the early hours of the day.

The Jyothish was quick to restore normalcy: ’My Lord, let no one have any fears. I’m no ghost. I’m the same man you had sent to the Heavens this morning. I’m grateful to you for arranging an extraordinary experience for me.’

The King finally found his tongue: ‘I don’t understand you. You went to the heavens above and came back alive?’

The others in the assembly overcome by this curiosity to watch this strange spectacle banished the thought of dashing for the nearest exit and settled back in their seats awaiting further developments.

‘Yes, my Lord, I have been to the Heavens by your mercy and now here I’m before you. And I’ve good news for you.’

‘This is unheard of, I must say. And what would the good news be?’

‘In the short stay, I met your parents and your dear brother.’

‘You did? This is incredible.’

‘Yes, I did. They’re quite happy out there. They were quite worried about your well-being. I assured them all is well with you, my Lord. They were mighty pleased to hear so. Your brother too.’

‘Yes, go on. What else did they tell you?’

‘Well, as I said they’re in no need for anything at all. They have everything with them. In fact they generously showered on me so many rare and expensive gifts before my return for bringing them the happy news of your well-being. Ah, now I remember

‘What’s it?’

‘They did tell me they have one unfulfilled wish. And only you can make good their wish.’

‘And what did they wish for?’

‘They are eager to see you even if for a short time. What more – they have even set aside a load of precious jewels to present you when you visit them. They requested me to carry it back for you. I said it would be more appropriate for them to hand it to you in person.’

’I would also love to. But how is it possible?’

‘Oh, my Lord, that’s easily done, just the way it happened for me.’

So the King ordered his minister to make arrangements overnight as before for him at a spot a little away from the Jyotish’s samadhi.

Following morning, in the early hours, before an assembly of his minister and other officials and also the general public that had collected, all watching in silence, the King entered the samadhi. At his bidding, the minister threw in a burning torch and sealed the lid. No shrieks could be heard though thick smoke leaked out of the samadhi sending the assembly into tears and coughing fits.

As an eerie silence descended on the samadhi, they turned their backs, slowly making their way homewards. The weary minister too headed back to resume his interrupted sleep. He knew he had a busy day ahead of him with the Rani and the Yuvaraj.

He suddenly remembered there was yet an unfinished job before he got under the blanket. He called out for the masons and generously recompensed them for a good job done – this time their job was a lot easier, the minister had specifically asked them not to cut an underground escape tunnel leading out from the samadhi.

End

Did the fiery end of the evil Raja sadden us? Though I can’t vividly recall the feelings of the moment, it seemed okay for the him to go.

Sources: Grateful thanks to parashara.com and tamilspider.com for the pictures. The picture here is of Pambatti Siddhar Jeeva Samadhi in Sankaran Koil, Tamilnadu. He was the last of the 18 siddhars (accomplished souls), believed to have lived in the 11th century and possessed siddhis or supernatural powers through rigorous meditation and other spiritual exercises (Wiki).