I have never died.
This is an extremely disappointing fact to live with, especially since I’ve written a novel on the afterlife. It saddens me that I’m denied the chance to do on-field research on the world I have written 226 pages about. It would have really helped if Mr. Thomas Cook and his BFF’s, Raj or Kasturi Travels had the courtesy to start a 7 day package into the world of the afterlife. They’re anyway running out of places to travel, this seems like the logical next step.
But, alas – my words have not been heeded and I’ve had to rely on my own twisted mind to figure out what the world of the afterlife would look like. I looked at some great travel books into the world of death, books written by people much greater/smarter/spiritual than I: guides such as The Bible, The Quran and The Garuda Purana (Hindu book of the dead). And, all these guide books on the afterlife constantly mention three places worth visiting in the afterlife: hell, heaven and limbo.
They also indicate that most of us would not get a visa for any place barring hell. Some of us may enter the land of Limbo – and even though, it sounds like a place where Spanish people dance – there’s little else to do there, aside from wait. It’s like a Doctor’s Waiting Room, but, marginally longer and with less magazines. Really, really bad tourist spot.
Obviously, Heaven sounds like a cool place – the Switzerland of the afterlife – but, the standards to get in are extremely high: you have to be a really, really, really (*8) good human being. You can’t even take a shortcut: you can’t bribe Mother Teresa or be Mahatma Gandhi’s relative or tag along with the last Dala Lama – you personally have to be a good person. The paradigms are just ridiculous. I mean, why create such an idyllic place if you refuse to allow more than a decimal point percentage of people to get in? Why can’t I get the chance to Instagram a photo of me standing in front of the Pearly Gates? People are so snooty.
Amidst the rules, here are some rules for heaven that if you don’t follow, you could land up in boiling vat of hot lava being laughed at by every dictator in human history:
– Any impure thoughts that would make a nun smirk.
– Saying, thinking, hearing, breathing or forwarding via email any thought/joke/meme that offends the name of God.
– Almost every kind of sensual delight that does not involve the production of children.
– Gluttony, sloth, impurity and all the byproducts of living in a world with the internet.
– Being part of the UPA Government. (This one is at least valid.)
All in all, as per most holy books – most of us are all sinners and completely beyond salvation. Fortunately, we have reincarnation that gives us another shot at life. Of course – the problem with reincarnation is it involves a whole circle of life and they’re no dancing lions involved! Once you die as a man, you’re probably going to come back as a three-toed sloth. That sounds fun – all you need to do is hang around on a tree, eat leaves and be called, “So cute. He’s the Shahid Kapoor of the animal kingdom”, by female anthropologists. However, you then have to be a crab, an insect, bacteria, toe fungus, an infection of the buttock of Osama Bin Laden’s cousin brother and over four thousand other living beings before you come back as a man. That, to use a Katy Perry term – sucks big time.
And, that’s the whole point – the afterlife is hard work, which is why I decided to write about an afterlife that was fun and logical because God has a sense of humor. I know this because Fardeen Khan still has a film career. The result of this thought is, “The Wednesday Soul”. It’s a book that I’m extremely proud of and I hope it prompts you to laugh in the face of Death’s bony face!
(And, maybe spend some of your money in this life.)
Sorabh Pant is “one of India’s top ten comedians” (Times Of India), a twitterholic (@hankypanty – http://bit.ly/Kgkegg) and the proud author of “The Wednesday Soul”.
You can buy your slice of this manic afterlife here: http://bit.ly/yB7hOH