Thursday, August 20, 2009


It is a very creepy thought to pick up and I wonder why I am writing this at all. I was reading about this Swiss organization called Dignitas which has a very specific market in mind (Though it is required by Swiss law to be a 'non-profit' organization). It is a group which specializes in assisted suicide. The Swiss government believes that amongst all the other freedoms that a person possesses, there should also be the freedom to pull the plug on one's own life if one chose to and so it went ahead & gave it to them. Aged men and women from around Europe come to Dignitas to face death with dignity, their bodies tortured by terminal diseases or pain beyond the capabilities of modern medicine.

In a way it is an act of extreme mercy on a person from whose existence the light of joy has faded out and will never return but it still qualifies as murder. Old age must be such a difficult and lonely place to be in. The life you had built for yourself was now a relic of the past, torn down and built over by subsequent generations whom you had helped raise to competence. Now you are most likely the beneficiary of a polite tolerance more hammed than natural. With the overutilized body acting up in every possible way, it's a place nobody wants to be but has to end up going. It's a tough life but that's the way it is.

What if everyone of a certain age were given that option? Wouldn't so many of them end up taking that option, abandoned as some of them are by their own progeny or worser still, feel like some kind of a leech on their offspring's family and happiness? I have met a lot of old people who are brimming over with a zest for life even more so than me, and an equal number of them whose every morning groan is a precursor to yet another day of incurable aches and unrevivable hopes. Life is a gift indeed but how much it feels like one when you are 90 and bed-ridden is highly debatable. Yet it is so horrifying to see someone being given that choice and choosing not to walk on, choosing to stop and melt into a sleep of peace.

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