Family of my close friend Prakash Venkatesan use to organize ‘Satsang’ (program where people of different walks of life get together to share words of wisdom). It used to be a monthly affair. They used to bring specialists in different fields and they used to talk on a specific topic. I use to look forward for an invitation every month, schedule my calendar and participate diligently. While I have attended many of the Satsang programs organized by them, there’s one program I will never be able to forget. The topic was ‘Death’ and the discourse was by Dr.Anil, a neurology surgeon. Even though this particular satsang on the topic of Death happened in 1996, it still is hail & healthy living in my mind. While the discourse itself by Dr.Anil was captivating, I could also sense the inquisitiveness in everyone who participated, I could understand because it’s very logical as the topic was a discussion amongst those who have not had a personal experience about it. Rightly so! Towards end of the session Dr.Anil opened the floor for participants to come on stage and share their thoughts on ‘Death’. Couple of them shared their thoughts but what’s very vivid in my mind is that of a lady who walked up on the stage and the first words she uttered was “i would wish that my husband die before I do; my loved daughter die before I do and my son die before I do”. She got everyone sit up either astonished or shocked. She then went on to explain that she said so only because of pure love towards her husband, daughter and son. She was the central force and all of them were very dependent on her. When she imagined her family’s life without her, she could see everyone suffering, suffering and only suffering. I got a chance to take the stage next, and my expression was that, “it looks like most of us have started relating death to suffering, pain, agony, misery, etc., may be whatever is the reason – could be we read newspaper everyday which has the news of how and how many deaths happened, Or witnessed people suffering from ill health leading to death. It’s all about our relatedness. I recalled a quote from the book Passion, Profit and Power by Marshal Sylver – ‘Death is such a wonderful thing in life that everyone spared it to the end’.” Wow! What a quote, it’s deep and philosophical. I could easily relate it to a dry fruit ice cream which is my favorite that when I eat, I always spare the best part topped with honey and nuts to be had at the very end. According to me, Steve Jobs founder of Apple Inc., is one person in our era who demonstrated that even though death is inevitable it could be planned. Suffering from cancer for seven years, look at him and his achievements, phenomenal! I feel death has played a critical role behind all the success he has achieved. In his own words, “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there…Yet death is the destination we all share…Death is very likely the single biggest invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new”. “Steve made choices,” said his physician Ornish. “For Steve, it was all about living life on his own terms and not wasting a moment with things he didn’t think were important. He was aware that his time on earth was limited. He wanted control of what he did with the choices that were left.” The man who valued his privacy almost as much as his ability to leave his mark on the world had decided whom he most needed to see before he left. Jobs invited a close friend, the physician Dean Ornish, to join him for sushi at one of his favorite restaurants in Palo Alto. He said goodbye to longtime colleagues, including the venture capitalist John Doerr, the Apple board member Bill Campbell and the Disney chief executive Robert A Iger. He offered Apple’s executives advice on unveiling the iPhone 4S, which occurred on Tuesday, just the day before he last breathed. He spoke to his biographer, Walter Isaacson. He took his company Apple Inc., a few months ago to the level of world’s most valuable company and then hands over the responsibility of CEO to his successor Tim Cook and bids an adieu…truly, a death by choice! In his cornerstone speech at Stanford he even said, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. … Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Who says Steve Jobs is dead. He has done his job so well and planned his death also so well that he will always live in millions of hearts for many many years to come…Just after his death, the company witnessed pre-order booking of 1 million pieces in one single day, 67% more than previous versions of the devise for its latest product iPhone 4S. Last product launched during his life by his company Apple Inc., This is Steve Jobs raising even after death and making death just a milestone in his life. I keep saying, “Life is the way it is, because we planned it”. But for one person, Steve Jobs – the legend, I have to rephrase and say, “Death is the way it is, because he planned it”. image courtesy:

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