The Telegraph - Calcutta : Look
The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A hundred ways I’d like to die

No, I don’t think they should have shoved tamarind, egg and mustard oil down her throat in that bizarre attempt to revive her. Not when Malati Giri was up to her eyebrows already, in pesticide.When the 14-year-old girl decided to shake off her mortal coil, she had decided. That was that. Besides, it wasn’t much of a life they were forcing her to return to. It couldn’t have been much fun, having to choose between working as a maid to an abusive employer and sharing a roof with a stepmother who thought she ate too much.

Let me see, how would I kill myself' Let me count the ways.

Walk into a blizzard' Nope. Too cold. The ole-kerosene-’’-matches trick' Too hot. A gun to my head' I’d have to run around for a licence (in this heat) first. (Besides, too noisy.) Sleeping pills' Same problem: an adequate doctor’s prescription. Head in the oven' You have to wait around for a huge while, and I’m the type likely to light a cigarette when I’m bored waiting. Boom! Again, too noisy. Death by drowning' Would I wade into water with rocks in my pockets like that other literary great' Forget it. By the time you resurface, you look as fat as hell. Gas chamber' Everyone would get to see my cellulite. And my makeup would run.

What a nuisance it is to die.

No, looks like I’ll have to plod all the way to Oregon, apply for US citizenship and then avail of the Death With Dignity law. Or better still, The Netherlands (where they’ve had the foresight and humanity to allow physician-assisted suicide for the longest while.

In such a civilised society, they don’t leave you lying around forever after that. They dispose of you neatly and quickly. One thing I know for certain, I don’t want people ‘alerted’ to my death ' as the police report in the case of most suicides ' by the ‘foul smell emanating from the house’. What a goddawful way to go. Surrounded by retching cops.

But there’s the other thing. After all that trouble and expense, and after we’ve fled 'what Goldie Hawn has called in her life-celebratory A Lotus Grows in the Mud ' the “concentric circles” of our earthbound existences, where do we go' Will there be someone to give us directions' Which way to the harps and the kindly old man in a nightgown and beard' Which way to that interesting chap with horns and a sexy pointed tail, and his warm fireplace'

Whatever. Although this is a matter better left to theologians, it’s got to be a change from the astonishing pain-in-the-you-know-what that passes for life.

Besides, we get a second chance. I shall now contemplate the vexed issue of reincarnation.

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