what makes a human
days and nights seem too arbitrary to separate. after all, one is just the other side of the coin. i have bled for a few days now. and i have come close to losing my life. and i cannot say that i feel more alive than i ever have. my near-death experience was not a near-life experience, no matter what cliche-spouting characters in hip films might tell you. my near death was just simply that, near death. the experience of coming close to nothingness. that moment when you come head to head with the conclusion that there might very well be nothing beyond this and even this, is ending slowly, a second at a time.
there are things i would’ve liked to have said to so many people. i would’ve liked to make a list and recite one after another the long eloquent testaments to their love and support and unfailing devotion to all that i have done and thought was worth dedicating my life to. these people never really expected much from me. but they loved me as friends, as family, as equals maybe, as fellow sojourners. what is it that i wish to say now? i don’t quite know. there is no grand epiphany that comes to mind. there is no moment of clarity where you see it all and understand. there is just the faint letdown that this is all there is. that when the blood in your brain runs out, you will pass, slowly and quietly, into nothingness. there will be no fanfare, no light at the end of the tunnel. no welcoming angels and harps, no dead relatives, no four-armed deities. this measly scrap of earth we call our own is all we get. that is it. nothing more, nothing else.
when i sat in that hospital bed and went though the barrage of tests that my cognitive therapist put me thought, i passed it all. my brain kept up, following patterns, making connections, remembering and recalling information. it didn’t let me down. it stayed with me. but my body: the left side of my face remains immobile. i can barely hear anything out of that left side where the blood has congealed into a fine mess of scabs and clots. my balance is a little off and i am weak but these are things i will get over. the doctors tell me my face will make a full recovery in a few months time. i only hope that it will. my neck vertebrae have been damaged so i can’t really move all that well until they heal but they will heal, in six to twelve weeks. my skull will repair itself, the swelling will go down with the steroids hopefully.
so what makes a human? is it my cognition, my brain function that i seem to have retained most of? what about my bodily function, the extent to which i am able to function in the world and interact and hear and see? i do not remember anything of my accident or how i came to be so injured. there is a long spool of tape missing from my brain. there is a time when the record button popped up and no one remembered to push it back down. who was i then? what was i then? is my identity cogent upon contingency? this me, pranaya at point A and this is me pranaya at point B. what about in between? what happened then?
i am rambling. my thoughts aren’t in order. i just wanted to write something. something to prove my own existence to myself. to all of you who have stuck by me, i thank you from the deepest cockles of my heart. as long as my breath keeps pumping, my hands keep writing/typing and my brain keeps functioning, i will not stop wondering what it is to be human. this is my return. i’m not going anywhere.