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The Death of a Colleague, Life's Irony & a Term Insurance?


A Monday morning, back to the office after a satisfying weekend of bhajan & kirtan parties; if you haven't been to one you should try once, it's pretty exhilarating like any rock concert.

I was taken aback by the first message in the MS teams by our department head - Our dear colleague is no more. A very shocking & sad affair, way more shocking was the fact that his life ended abruptly cause of a heart attack.

Heart Attack! He was just 26 years old, strongly built with more than 7 feet in height. Does mild physical activity with frequent engagement in swimming. Last Sunday, he went out for an hour-long swim, came home to his working table & asked his mother for the brunch. When she called out for him to have food, he stood up from his chair and fell down on the floor with blood oozing out from his nose. Hearing the loud thud, his mother ran towards him, finding him unconscious called out the ambulance. They rushed him to the hospital but alas he died before he could reach the hospital. The doctor pronounced him dead, cause of a heart attack.

A good soul left us, neither involved in smoking nor drinking, soft-spoken with a wonderful life ahead and in the process of getting engaged next year. Can't imagine the pain & suffering of the family.

I have been hearing this type of calamity striking our younger generation a lot for the past decade. The increase in layoffs, broken marriages & drowning EMIs, have taken out quite a bit of life inside us. There can be n-numbers of reasons for uncertain deaths like this, but my mind wonders about three very specific ones. Not correlated to the above case but every reason comes up with a strikingly different set of contradictions which amounts to the fact that life is a Big Fat Irony.

Reason number 1: Stress

Stress and wealth seem like relative of each other. As our standard of living is getting uplifted at a lightning pace with that innate desire for - a little bit more, is crazily putting our life at edge 24/7. In reality, I don't understand the concept of good & bad stress, what science says is that under stress our body releases a chemical called cortisol. Once in a while, it's good but constantly under stress can lead to the build-up of high amounts of cortisol posing life-threatening situations.

From the time we are born, we are constantly under pressure to perform our best. Be it in school, sports, college, or job. And when we complain in our thirties how stressful life has become, the same generation asks us to not take too much stress, life is like this. Wish we learned it earlier. Can this be the reason for a sudden calamity?

Life throws away an irony if we believe in absolute truth. Almost all the successful personalities of our generation an entrepreneur, sportsmen, celebrities, etc, claim they perform best under pressure. Taking to the word of the most obsessed entrepreneur of our generation Mr. Elon Musk - “Don’t let stress sideline you. Instead, use it as fuel to keep rocketing ahead, maybe even all the way to Mars" (1).

I wish we can handle this lethal fuel to power ourselves to propel in life rather than burn.

Reason number 2: Food

You must have heard about it, the first line of Ayurveda scripture - Food is your medicine. A pesticide-free, naturally grown, least cooked in its most freshly avatar is the best for your body along with the timing of consumption. But what we love is the high sucrose-saturated refreshing drink with highly saline deep-fried chunks, munching late at night, don't we? Is too much chemical, lost nutrients with high processing & regular habit of dining out with a large proportion of junk food; the culprit that's killing us?

Another irony of nature here; As we proclaimed with great wealth comes great stress and should probably look towards healthier choices in life but not for one of the richest people on earth. I hope you guessed it right, Mr. Warren Buffet.

"If I eat 2700 calories a day, a quarter of that is Coca-Cola. I drink at least five 12-ounce (roughly 350 ml) servings. I do it every day,”

The billionaire investor is known to feast on colas, ice cream, burgers, hotdogs, and an assortment of food that the world knows as junk food (2). Buffett’s preferred meal is a bowl of ice cream, potato chips & a hamburger from McDonald's - he hates broccoli. Yet at the current age of 92, he doesn't have any adverse health issues.

Reason number 3: Physical Activities

I read a very interesting book a few years back by the founder of Cult Fit Mr. Mukesh Bansal - No Limits: The Art and Science of High Performance. Here he provided very fascinating and logical reasoning for physical activities. He states that the human race started as hunter-gatherers way back 4 billion years ago, where more recently 10,000 BCE we started agriculture with industrialization started approx 300 years back with the current information age. So statistically speaking we spent 99.99% of our evolution gathering food through intense physical activity - that's how our body evolved.

And suddenly we paused, mostly sitting in our chairs, scratching our heads all day long in front of a screen to make our living. Such a sudden decline in physical activity, don't you think will adversely affect our health? Is that the reason for such a youthful & sudden demise? Besides, you very well know all the benefits that come with daily workouts.

But then comedian Raju Shrivastav, kannada filmstar Puneet Rajkumar, singer KK, actor Siddharth Shukla, WWE legend Scott Hall, and many more famous as well unheard persons - someone among us died cause of intense physical activities. Whatever may be the reason but it is contrary to our belief.

What's with Term Insurance?

I used to wonder Term insurance is such a waste of money, paying 35 to 40K annually for the next thirty years with no actual return. In my wildest dream, I never foresee a future where my life abruptly ends, at least before the age of 60.

This current episode has put me in dilemma and made me think about all the consequences your dependents & partners will face be it your parents, wife, or child. Added to the pain of losing your loved ones, the burden of paying off the loan or EMIs (if any), will as well fall on them. A very recent conversation with my dear friend on how being casual about the future & not taking the correct steps can lead to a terrible life for the dependents, who struggle lifelong to meet the bare minimum of life with no fault of their own.

Will rest that story for some other day.

You must be wondering how abruptly I am ending this write-up, this story. No conclusions, no end, and no research findings; Recently I realized life is like this, how cliche it may sound but -

Be happy always & Live This Day As If It's Your Last!


*Image by Raj Khandelwal; Courtesy: Wall painting, Bangalore Iskcon, Hennur


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