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In Hour Of Death

In a palatial room of the most pleasant city of the world, an old and feeble
writer was lying on his deathbed with open eyes. He was gazing at the
ceiling without looking at any particular thing. Shadows of death were
passing across his face. It seemed as if he was facing pangs of death in his

He was not an ordinary man, he was a great writer who had won all the greatest awards of literature.
He had millions of readers in the world, but
at this moment he was quite alone, waiting for ghastly advancing death.
Every passing moment was adding to his sense of loss. He was never in love
with life, but approaching death aroused some hidden desire to live.

He recalled his remarks on life, when once he was addressing a huge crowd:
"Life is not important for me, I am not afraid of death." Remembering that,
a satirical smile appeared on his withered face and he spoke in a murmuring
voice, "One of the hundred lies which every 'great man' utters to make
himself worthy of his greatness." The fact was that he was dying like any
other creeping creature, despite his marvelous achievements and sagacious

Long ago he had longed for death when he had too many failures in life; when
he was forced to obey the debased orders of his masters for only a few coins;
when pale faces of children and the violence of the masters had even ceased
his belief in God... yes, life was miserable then, in poverty. Poverty
snatches away all the dignity and liberty of man and he becomes the most
humiliated creature. But now when he had everything of his desire, death was
approaching him with its ever-frothing face... what an irony of fate.

At that fatal moment he did not feel himself different from the dying dog
that he had seen in his childhood, on a hot summer noon. He did not know
then that he would recall that death-sight after so many years at the hour of
his own death.

He still remembered that the upper part of the neck of that dog was wounded
by the gunfire of a rascal hunter and it was severely infected. Steadily the
infection spread in his body and worms started eating him. The writer never
saw him sitting anywhere; he always would run here and there due to his
intolerable pain. Nobody cared about the pain of a dog.

One day the dog lay down accepting the victory of worms. Before dying, he
stood up, uttered a feeble, painful cry and then fell to be finished forever.
Half of his body was already eaten by worms before being presented to the

The dying writer wanted to spend his last moments in pleasant memories but
the image of the dying dog had captured his mind and soul. Then he turned
his eyes towards the hanging medals and pictures in the room. He recalled
the sights and visions of his youth and stopped his sight at one picture:
"What a combination of youth and dreams! My God, if I had a piece of life, I
would return to those days of youth when I had a lot of desires and big
mountains to climb," he thought. Now, when he was the most popular writer of
the world, he was longing to go back to the days of hunger and miseries.
Once again he wanted to face the pangs of failure and anguish of rejection;
once again he wanted to enjoy the pleasures of the mettle of youth, as among
giant evils he used to survive merely because of his colossal will... the
will that defeated owl-monsters.

How beautiful was the moment when his beloved gave him a warm kiss on
publication of his first story. Remembrance of that sweet kiss--which once
healed all his wounds of deprivations--soothed him for a while in the
agonizing feelings of death.
How lovingly she separated her lips to say, "I am proud of you." He heard
the echo of that sweetest sentence in the whole universe. This one sentence
was more precious than all the medals and praise that he received in later

A wave of death struck his mind but he resisted forcefully with his remaining
energy and was again lost in thought. "I would surrender all my achievements
for that kiss. My God, for an instant gift me with a piece of life, I would
return headlong to kiss the wet eyes of my beloved, then happily shall I die
keeping my head in her lap. Then I will write a story in blood that will
melt all the hatred of whole world; I will utter all the unutterable words
that will finish the agony of earth; and then I will offer, my God, that
story to You which will perish Your indifference to man's sorrows. When Your
face will turn pale and sad, I will be overjoyed at the success of my story.
My words will drain Your eternal anger and the tears from Your eyes and will
wipe off the filth of the world. They will move Your heart and I will see
You breaking the high towers of hatred and revenge. I will tremble with joy
to listen the echo of Your words throughout the whole universe, 'Gone are the
days of malice'."

He saw the twilight of the dying sun coming through the half-opened window
and came out of his bed, but his lifeless legs refused to share the burden of
his body. He fell on the floor but that did not stop his desire to see an
alive world. He started creeping towards that light, which was a symbol of
life. To link with that light, he exerted all the energies of his body. At
last he reached the window and opened his eyes completely to view the end of
the day. Dusk had covered the whole brilliant sky, spreading the gravy
shadows of night. Birds were returning to their nests; the sun was lost in
the deep universe. This take-over of night made him think about the odd
process of this universe. Every creation had to face an end. Now when he
was observing life at distance, an intense desire to be again in that sea of
life made him dejected. The bird flying alone in the dim light of sunset
added to his suffering of loneliness. At that sad moment he saw one gloomy
face appearing swiftly towards him.

Many years ago when he left his country in pursuit of dreams, only two eyes
wept for him, and now after so many years he was going to die looking at
those eyes. He recalled that cloudy evening when he said good-bye to her
forever. At that moment of death he came to know that those weeping eyes had
touched his soul, which was still roaming over there. The rest of his life
was soulless. All his ties with other bright faces were for his worth... the
worth of being a popular writer. But her sadness was from the core of her
heart, she wept for him when rest of the world was laughing at him, when he
was a penniless, unknown, striving writer stumbling in the darkness of
rejection. In the dazzling light of fame he had forgotten her but now when
he was again surrounded by the darkness of death she was there, standing
behind his pillow, softly moving her soft fingers through his rough and dry

Once, when he got a head injury by the brutish beat of the police during a
protest against the government, it was she who made him alive by her tender
care and prayers. She revived his will to live and unexpectedly he returned
from the threshold of death. It was she who put in him an enormous energy,
enabling him to reach the peak of mountains.

Now when he was standing at the peak some invisible force was dragging him
forward, and he could see what was next: the very dark and dreadful valley
of death. He knew very well that to fall in that dark valley was fateful,
but once again he wanted to go back to that foot of the mountain to have a
look at those two wet eyes, which were still waiting for him. Alas! At the
peak he learned that everyone wants to be on the peak, without knowing that
real happiness is in how it is scaled.

A stroke of pain took him back to that formidable state of forgetfulness. He
even forgot those kind eyes. He fell on the ground and felt the agony of
death in his bones and soon that unavoidable state overpowered him. In his
fainted condition he had a dream. He saw himself flying back fast. He could
feel the touch of soothing, cool air that was lightening his burden... the
burden of popularity, of pride, of jealousy and of praise. As he was flying
back, his innocence was returning. He happily said good-bye to all those
hypocrites who seduced him towards the path of painful greatness, which gave
him nothing except loneliness. Now for him the dearest thing was to kiss the
beauty with the kind eyes.

He was overjoyed at the revival of his innocent existence. He felt himself
free of torturing egotism.

Soon he saw the lost face of his beloved. He ran towards her, stood at a
distance, not knowing how to meet her. She opened her arms, saying, "Your
return is timely, I am very alone."

After this warm meeting she removed the dust from his face and combed his
hair with her soft fingers. He fell in her lap, felt the divine pleasure of
love and spoke in an exhausted voice: "I have discovered the truth of life,
which is to love and perish... all the rest is deception."

The fatigue of a long journey and the touch of his beloved made him sleepy.
Sleep overpowered him and he went into the eternal peace of eternal sleep.

story Information

Upload Date: 31/12/1969

Downloads: 1406

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