“Our health is something we often take for granted. But, there are some things in life that should never be taken for granted. Take care of yourself. Catherine Pulsifer”
Who is our soulmate? The question, although clichéd and threadbare, is still quite significant, seminal, and timely. The answers given by the most people are: our spouses, our siblings, our intimate friends, our parents etc. These answers are not wrong but at the same time they are not also water-tight. These answers need to be revisited. We should rethink about these answers. We should pose this question to ourselves individually in isolation, for isolation is highly meditative, educative, and enlightening. Health, they say, is wealth. The dictum is quite connotative and veritable. A healthy man enjoys everything in life. He relishes and enjoys even mediocre things and bland events of life. In comparison to a healthy man, a sick person always feels himself isolated, betrayed, dismal and negatively obsessed with himself/ herself. Sumptuous feasts and glamourous events sound to him/her dull and dismal. A healthy man easily befriends other people and vice-versa. On the other hand, an unhealthy person always finds himself behind a glass ceiling that separates him/her from the rest of the world. He remains caged in the world of his own.
Relatives and relationships matter in life. Without them life is but a joyless event. Relatives and relationships beautify our lives and make us feel emotionally strong. We share our secrets, sorrows, and joys with our friends, relatives and relationships. But the question that needs an address here is: Are our relatives, our relationships, and friends our soulmates? The answer to this seemingly quotidian question is: No. It is our own healthy self that is our soulmate. Why is our own healthy self our only soulmate? Because when the health of a person cripples he/ she becomes a kind of burden to his/ her family. Most of the people will strongly disagree with this proposition. The disagreement of the people with this proposition stands deconstructed at present. Denying the fact is but a kind of arrogance, dishonesty and namby-pamby sentimentalism. We know what is being done to the so-called soulmates in the present pandemic. This pandemic has made us kind of untouchables and racists. We distance ourselves from the infected. And this physical distance is the only antidote to this pandemic
When the health of a person deteriorates in any way, the relatives, relationships, and friends start distancing themselves from him/her. It is bitter truth and a stark reality. This reminds me of the novel “The Metamorphosis” by the French novelist Franz Kafka. The novel is very interesting and emotional. The main character of the novel is Gregor Samsa, a travelling salesman, a sole breadwinner in the family. One morning, when Gregor Samsa wakes, he finds himself transformed into a horrible vermin. He is not able to stand up. The focal event in the entire novel is how his parents and his sister, on seeing him changed into vermin, loath and betray Samsa. Samsa used to love his sister very dearly but as the health of Samsa deteriorates, the same sister insists about getting rid of him. The sister no longer takes care of him. He is quarantined in a separate room and he dies of starvation and thirst. The sad part in the novel. Who is the soulmate of Gregor Samsa? His own health. His parents and his loved sister desert him at a very critical juncture.
The Gregor Samsa event in the novel deconstructs the old and false idea and definition of our soulmate. Most of the people feel themselves like Gregor Samsa when their relatives etc. abandon them at the time of their health deterioration. The world order is going to change because of the pandemic which is engulfing the lives of the people at present. The world is going to change like Bakhtinian Carnivalesque. With the change in the world order, there is surely going to be a change in our understanding regarding most of the questions.
Nobody except our health is our soulmate. Every relationship abandons and betrays a person when something bad happens to his / her life. Relatives and relationships in the words of Allama Iqbal are: butanay wahamo-guman (the false and fake idols).
I am not discarding the notion of relationships, I am only trying to think deeper about the older idea that we falsely harbor in our minds about the taken for granted term soulmate. We should take care of our health in this pandemic. We should act reasonably in order to save ourselves. Nobody is our soulmate except our own health. When wealth is lost nothing is lost. When health is lost everything is lost. So, let’s take care of our health, let’s treasure this treasure in this pandemic by staying indoors and thereby maintaining a social distance. The only way to save ourselves at present is by staying indoors. We should take care of our health on priority basis. Bravery and sanity lies in saving one’s life not in imperiling it. Let’s stay indoors. Let’s stay safe. Let’s follow this slogan in letter and spirit.
Postscript: Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have depleted. Denis Waitley
Bilal Ahmad Dar is a Research Scholar at the Department of English, AMU, and can be mailed at: email@example.com
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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