Greyish fungi invaded the memory
Cells congealing quickly, as hard as ice
Cold, emotionless, vacant, melting
Reaching nowhere.
Brain; deserted and derelict
Like an old farmhouse waiting for the end.
Rotten barks covered the wall, of heart and body.

Come Comfort, fill the lacuna
Between death and dying.


This poem is the outcome of a heated debate we had yesterday evening. It was a friendly gathering on Friday and, somehow, the topic of euthanasia sprouted suddenly. While some favoured the idea saying people should have an explicit right to die, others argued that it’s an irreversible process and, once a person is gone, she/he is gone forever.

The word “euthanasia” in Greek means “good death”. It’s a controversial topic, at least in India. I have made my standing pretty clear in the poem above.

What do you think of it? What are your opinions about euthanasia? We would like to know.

122 responses to “Choice

  1. a sensitive topic. beautifully expressed…perhaps the very thought of the act of euthanasia being irreversible dissuades one from thinking further on those lines. But the pain of suffering and the progressive withering of an ‘once lively/lovely’ dear one is unbearable. btw, liked the ” maut does look like mehbooba” ..

  2. Very sensitive and controversial topic.I support euthanasia.A terminally ill person is freed of the suffering through this.But proper checks should be there to avoid misuse

  3. Liked the use of metaphors. In my opinion, our country is not yet ready for euthanasia till strict legal provisions to avoid misuse, are in place.

  4. Mani, I feel the patient should be given the right to decide.
    But, in many cases the patients are not in a state to do so, they survive in coma-state or as a vegetable… Some coma patients do revive after many years, but one cannot say how long. Hope everyone has family or friends to take care or else to take such decisions.

  5. A very nice poem. 🙂

    For now, i would only appreciate that. It sure is a very debatable issue and certain things might change ones own opinion! Like what if the person in pain has desires to live more? What if even though the person knows there is no option than suffering, still finds good int it! eww! Complicated!

  6. First of all, its a very nice poem to read, you have written it beautifully. and about the Euthanasia—i have lots to say, i will share it later,probably through my post.

    • True, I basically want it for myself, I don’t want to live in a vegetative state. But, sometimes, it becomes more painful to witness some close ones dying every moment. Real death could bring peace to them… 😦

  7. I was against euthanasia until I had kitty cats who were suffering and near the end of their lives, And I couldn’t see the point of making them suffer longer when the end was so soon in sight. So I took them in and had them euthanized. And I thought to myself, I sure wish humans could do the same thing! So when the option was on the California ballot, I opted for euthanasia.

  8. Beautifully expressed, Maniparna, in those closing words of yours on the lacuna between death and dying. I saw my mother suffer in extreme, yet overtly suppressed, anxiety for some weeks as she sensed life slipping away from her. Had she the option, she would have taken the route of euthanasia. In the event, then a few days before she finally died, she suddenly was completely overcome with a great euphoric sense, and asked me what was causing it. I checked to see exactly what medication she was taking, and ruled that out as being the cause of this euphoria. Through talking things over with her at length, I came to see that what happened was that she finally accepted her mortality, that she came to accept the inevitable. It was a staggeringly monumental thing to witness, and to be a part of, and I am so glad I did not miss the opportunity to share that amazing experience with my mother.

    • It’s so difficult to see someone in great pain, suffering from something for which we have nothing to do. The helplessness and the agony are unbearable. I can understand your mental state while your mother was in pain. She was a strong woman, I surmise, and I’m happy that you’ve shared some unforgettable moments with her even at that stage. Thanks, Hariod, for sharing with us… 🙂

  9. It is a very complicated issue to talk about Maniparna. You have done it beutifully in the precise use of words in poetry. As for my view, I don’t really know – at one point my mind says – should let people die peacefully cos it is unnatural to keep them suffering for a long time. On the other hand, it is also about the hope that things can turn around and a life is very precious to gamble upon. I guess it depends on the amount of suffering. If it is unbearable, then maybe euthanasia is the way to go.

    • Amount of suffering- yes, I agree with you. That’s what I’m trying to point out. When there is no recuperation then it’s better to end the life with dignity than suffering endlessly while waiting for the inevitable death… 😦

  10. Beautifully captured the agony here Maniparna…I absolutely support it…Although it is illegal in India but it happens more happen than we can imagine and many times because of money or just lack of medical facilities…people choose to suffer and eventually die because the services are beyond their reach…they take their kin off life support because the only earning member can’t stay anymore with the patient all the time…the situation is too complex here…Euthanasia is choosing to die when there is no treatment possible at all and not just being poor…and yes miracles do happen…I’ve seen a child who was taken off life support by parents after 10 days but 6 months later he came back walking…As I said it is way too complex to answer because there is no objective criteria, no cut-off…

    • I understand. There are complications for the implication of this rule, to make it legal. But, I think everyone should have the right to choose between suffering and peace through death. Who wants to live a vegetative life? Who wants to depend on others even for daily chores? Life sometimes becomes even worse than death as we fail to fight against the diseases.
      Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts, much appreciated… 🙂

      • Well said Maniparna…I completely agree with this…yes it won’t be easy but there certainly is a need to discuss it further for a meaningful conclusion…Thank you for bringing it up with your beautiful post☺

  11. Let people have a choice to end when they have no reason to live and no hope. It’s cruel to let them suffer….

  12. Hi Mani, Your poem is deep, dark and profoundly meaningful.
    Who would like to live in that state? Who likes being wheeled around with all kinds of hands on your body, trying to treat a hopeless case while your brain is “deserted and derelict?” It is akin to being an article tossed around, just because he/ she is helpless.
    Euthanasia may have been a much heated, debated and feared topic but ask a terminally ill person. I am sure the answer would be positive. I have a very strong opinion on ‘let me die with dignity.’ If I want to go, I must have the sole right or the person I entrust with this decision should be able to take it for me.
    Euthanasia should be legalised without any further politics and hypocrisy.

    • I absolutely agree with your comment. Actually, when I was talking in favour of it, I was thinking of myself. I would NEVER want to see myself in a vegetative state in the future. I would rather be happy to find my peace in death… 🙂

  13. Your poem which is replete with visual imagery of decay, took me to a gloomy zone esp. as I could relive some horrifying deaths I have seen. I would say, if situation is really dreadful and painful, and the patient has lost most senses while also losing dignity then euthanasia can be used…as a last resort. Of course as others pointed out, there are many factors to be taken into consideration. It can be a dangerous tool in wrong hands.

    • Of course, it can be a dangerous tool and can be used for ulterior motives. But every law has loopholes and, we know very well how criminals take advantages of those, in every part of the world. As you’ve said, it’s really painful to see some loved one writhing in pain, suffering from some terminal disease. Moreover, I feel very much scared to imagine myself in that stage… 😦

  14. “Of all the arguments against voluntary euthanasia, the most influential is the ‘slippery slope’: once we allow doctors to kill patients, we will not be able to limit the killing to those who want to die.” — Peter Singer

    • Sounds nice, but I feel that not would be the case. In every profession there are some people who take advantages of the situation; be it medical, law or anything. We very well know that. What I feel, I would never want to see any of my loved ones writhing in bed, like not a human being, but just a creature, semi-alive. Trust me, it’s painful, VERY painful to keep alive in such a state…I’ve seen once. 😦

      • Agreed absolutely. I fully understand your perspective. But, discretion in decision making can be viewed from the perspective of the flexibility and choices granted to the decision maker based on the decision being made. The problem is that the emotion, the pain, the suffering can be felt but cannot be measured, so that we cannot stipulate a cut-off level beyond which the decision may be treated as justified or how much flexible will be legally permissible. Also, the emotion, the pain, the suffering varies from person to person. An abuse of discretion may occur when a decision is not an acceptable alternative.
        The bottom line is that the decision itself is very painful.

      • Death is inevitable and may it be timely, painless and natural for everyone. I wish that no one ever needs to pray for death with dignity or euthanasia. Most importantly, live the life so long as you’re alive.
        “zindagi to bewafa hai ek din thukrayegi
        maut mehbooba hai apne saath lekar jayegi…”

      • I wish so too. But, I’ve seen people suffering. All of us want to live life to its full extent, when that’s not possible, when diseases force one to be in a pathetic condition, maut does look like mehbooba… 😀

      • Isn’t love sometimes quite painful? Many times it also demand sacrifice! Love is painful because it creates the way for bliss. I will always prefer to embrace the pain of love than live a loveless life.
        মরণ রে, তুঁহুঁ মম শ্যামসমান ।
        মেঘবরণ তুঝ, মেঘজটাজূট,
        রক্তকমলকর, রক্ত-অধরপুট,
        তাপবিমোচন করুণ কোর তব
        মৃত্যু-অমৃত করে দান ॥

  15. Hey, I see a new domain 😉 I always wanted to start one….sadly never got up to doing it. Congrats on the new domain and new dp 😛

    I watched the movie Guzaarish many years back in which there is the same topic discussed. Its a much argued topic.

    Have a great weekend!

    • Thank you ..:-D Go for a domain name…it’s very easy with WP.. 😀

      Not many years back re….3/4 years back… 😛

      Yes, a much argued topic. I sincerely hope it to be legalised in this country before I grow old. 😀

      • Going for a domain name doesn’t make sense for me since the traffic on my blog is bare minimum 😛

        Haha, yeah I watched it 3/4 years back. Feels long though.

        I don’t think it will be legalized anytime soon. There are a lot of things pending and this will take a back seat. But hope for the best 😀

  16. Maniparna – thank you for a poem which is so rich in imagery that it makes it so real to me. My mother had a stroke a few years ago that it destroyed her her completely. She was in vegetative state pretty much as you describe in our poem. However, I don’t think I would have had the courage to pull the plug. I did speak to her though giving her permission as it were – to let go. I’m sure she could hear me and was holding on with concern for her children. My concept of her hearing was more a spiritual thing and physical. She was beyond physical or mental recovery. I do agree with the notion of people dying with dignity.

    • Oh, so sorry to hear that, Chevy. I was actually thinking of such a situation while writing the poem. I’ve seen one my grannies (my father’s aunt) in a similar state. She was paralysed after a cerebral attack and lost almost all senses. It was SO painful to see her in bed…like half-dead 😦 A person who was so loving, so jovial….
      It’s an extremely hard decision for anyone to go for mercy killing, but it’s harder to watch some loved one writhing in bed….

      • Thank you Maniparna. I watched a movie the other day where someone was begging for her family to give her morphine to save her from an untenable situation and I was okay with that.
        On the other hand there is the story of Stephen Hawkings in the movie “The theory of eveything” where through his will to live and the loving and positive attitude of his wife – has lived and achieved so much over the past 40 years. It is a difficult subject but I’m convinced that it was best for my mother to move one because it was terrible seeing her the way she was and being unable to communicate with her. As serious as the topic was, I really loved your writing of this poem – the imagery was truly powerful😀

      • The story of Stephen Hawkins is really an exceptional one and is full of positivity and optimism.
        What you did for your mother, I think you took the right decision. If I were you, I would have done the same…

        Thank you…the poem was the outcome of natural and spontaneous emotions… 🙂

  17. Your poem is indeed thought provoking which highlights life’s toughest decision. I think the final decision may vary from case to case and depending on the mental strength of the closest relative.
    Cheers and regards.

  18. Euthenasia…. Most liberal approach and can be exercised in places where two conditions will be fulfilled…

    1. The overall societal growth is required…. to understand and appreciate the consequences.

    2. The patient must be in a vegetative condition for more than decades which means there is no chance of recovery.

    As far as India is concerned, this is a debate for people who can afford it.
    To be honest, the liberal idea is not sufficient to implement liberal thoughts in a society that is not properly developed… in terms of economy, literacy, culturally etc.

    And culturally I mean the ability to appreciate acuturation, sanskritization…

    We simply cannot debate on why this Hart-Fuller debate in India, where even medical science is still not so progressive and accessible..
    Ethical concerns would be there ws well as the fundamental right issues.

    Right to life under Art 21 for both include right to death because both are natural rights..

    So, not on favor as of now…

    • Trust me, it’s hard to watch some loved one writhing in excruciating pain, suffering from some terminal disease just for a few days…and more than a decade in a vegetative state!

      Every law has loopholes, as a person with a legal background, you know it way better than me. I remember the “Aruna Shanbaug” case. Did she deserve that? What’s the point keeping someone suffering in a state like that for 42 years?

      That was an exclusive case, though. Leaving that aside, I can say, I would NEVER want to imagine myself suffering from some terminal disease and not leaving the life of a proper human being. I just want to leave the earth in peace, with dignity and comfort.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, I know it’s a debatable topic. We forget to order the food on Friday while arguing until the waiter came and curtly asked whether we need anything… 😛 An embarrassing situation…

      • I can understand, you know I can share one small example, even after spending 32 days in ventilation, my doctor told me that my mom would not recover, there is no point in making her suffer…

        It is very very difficult to see our loved ones go through that suffering but it’s equally terrible to take that decision yo terminate the life.

        The case you referred was this court was in favor of passive euthenasia instead of active euthenasia..

        Yes, it’s embarrassing,
        Am sure finally managed well in the restaurant 🙂

      • I know, I understand that it would be one of the toughest moments of life to take such a decision. But, watching them proceeding towards death, slowly but surely, with agony and pain, is harder to me… 😦

      • You know, as we are saying here, the decision is a tough one for the near and dear ones, if, God forbid, I ever suffer from a terminal disease, I would love to put an end to my life. I’m a supporter of euthanasia…I don’t want to live with suffering and pain…

      • I don’t know whether to tell you or not… but I think I should tell you..
        The meaning of terminally ill has a legal definition, so many prerequisites plus the patient can’t decide, it’s the duty of the relative, the near ones.

        Hopefully you will not suffer any of such illness, my prayers will be there for you..

        And life without pain and suffering is not possible, only death can be without pain and suffering

      • There’s no question of thinking like that. I’m just talking of possibilities…and we never know what the future has in store for us. My motto is, hope for the best, and prepare for the worst… 🙂

  19. Watching a loved one suffer terribly is agony in itself. Let that person have peace,for it’s the body that will cease to live, and the soul will continue in its journey. Beautiful poem, Mani, told with powerful imagery.

  20. This one struck a dark place in my heart. On a second read, I realized how painfully beautiful you have expressed this issue. Euthanasia is a sensitive topic and I am leaning towards it. But our system has loopholes that will make it a murder weapon.

    • System has loophole everywhere. We know how criminals, the powerful ones, take advantage of that. Collateral damage, they say… 😦

      Thanks a lot for reading and sharing your thoughts, Prajakta… 🙂

  21. My Dad fought for life by getting chemo and radiation but at the end, pain and frail, he wished he had not taken the rugged and harsh path of fighting. I would not do chemo nor radiation and I hope someone will give me a cocktail which ends my life before I suffer and hate my life.

  22. At first i thought the poem is about leftover food in a fridge and how bacteria makes a feast out of it 🙂 ..

    Euthanasia is a option which must be given to a person in need , although a procedure can be introduced with a checklist including doctor recommendation and mandatory counselling session before granting approval for the same . Blanket ban will only encourage people to opt for suicide without undergoing any counseling which may save heat of moment decisions

    • Haha… I think that was a Freudian slip in your thought because sometimes diseases can make human bodies frail enough to look like a leftover food and make them a feast for bacteria and viruses…

      Yes, of course, a thorough counselling and other legal proceedings are needed, but as you said, blanket ban is not a solution nor does it help anyway to make life better. it, rather, makes the life of a suffering person worse.

      Thanks for voicing your opinion… 🙂

  23. A very bleak, sad and moving poem! Highlighting the plight of a hopeless patient. Padh ke dil kaisa to ho aaya!

    I’m pro euthanasia, especially in cases where there’s no cure. It’s already inconceivable that someone has to take a decision to terminate one’s own life I have sheer dejection! Can you imagine the hopelessness one must be going through because one knows that there’s no cure? At least, they deserve the peace of death!

  24. Maniparna : i dunno how aged are you but listen to me when you have to be e.g. in a hospital and are a old one you think that the so called “life” is more a prority not “death”. My opinion (but im not a fundamentalist one) is against euthanasia. The will to death was, in my opinion, a big mistake done by sigmund freud. Anyway the will to kill is really a political choice by the power of capitalistic state (e.g. death penality) in order to oppress the masses.

    Hugs & good weekend
    to you & yours by

    • Yeah, I understand what you are saying. This is a highly controversial issue and people have different opinions. Personally, I think, we should have the right to end our life in a dignified way. In my country, (India) it’s still not legalized though 🙂

      Thanks a lot for sharing your opinion, Rinaldo, much appreciated..:-)

      Have a great weekend… ❤

      • maniparna : different point o view . many time i am surprised that ethics is viewing thru philosophical or psycologics thoughts instead of politics.

        good things to you my friend

  25. The poem is short but the meaning is vast. How beautifully you have portrayed the mental agony of the person whose life has become worse than death and who seeks solace in his death. I only wish if there could be a better way to end his suffering.

  26. It’s an interesting debate and reminds me of the fiery arguments in our Philosophy lecture. You’ve indicated the two contrarian views in the poem. My take it’s a personal choice of an individual and it’s his or her life. No matter how much we come with arguments, it boils down to the person’s battle, everything faced during the day and night.

  27. Even though miracles can may and will happen, I for one stringly vouch for good death as sufferings of terminal patients are unbearable for the victim as well as for the care givers..but no doctors with whom I have had interesting debates on this subject tend to agree with as they feel that they are going against the Hippocrates oath..

  28. Maniparna, you have put across your point so sensitively in the poem. In a few words you bring out the unbearable plight of a person who waits for death each day. In this matter I am of the same opinion as you are.

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