'2016 may have been unkind, more than other years, but we are here and we owe it to the ones who are gone -- to live and love fully this wonderful gift of life,' says filmmaker Suparn Verma.
Death is the yin to life's yang.
It brings balance to life.
Creation in destruction.
As a concept, it is poetic beyond words.
Think of it as the villain to a hero, the end to a beginning.
We start dying the moment we are flushed out of the womb and take our first screaming gasp of breath.
Our expiry date hard coded in our DNA or destiny and there is nothing we can do to escape it.
Like our birth, our passing is out of our hands as well.
Science has explored life and yet death remains a mystery to us, with only philosophy serving as a crutch for us to hang on to our grief.
People die every year, some years more so than others.
The world doesn't end with one person dying or a million, the sun still rises and we are conditioned to survive, conditioned to breathe, so live we must.
The whole process of life is about creating relationships and attachments, yet death severs it in a most one-sided way.
The emotional carnage left behind is not contained to one person.
When it is the death of an artist or a universally loved personality the loss leaves behind millions of grieving hearts.
This year we lost many artists who we loved and cherished, a large majority of generations grew up to them.
I experienced death very early in life losing my father at a young age and nearly dying in a fall (more like a jump from the second floor when I was 4).
Over the years I have lost loved ones, dear friends, and artists I loved and with each passing I realised that growing up means losing more people you love than gaining loved ones.
As we grow up, our ability to form deep friendships and have meaningful relationships diminishes because our heart starts to armor itself against the loss of the people we love.
A process further aggravated by heartbreak in our youth and us getting over a loved one.
I recently went to the house I grew up, a colony with eight buildings, each three floor high, and a big ground in the middle.
The colony is bordered with walls on all sides, which are lined with trees as old as the colony which is nearing 50 years.
I stood in the centre of my old house and it seemed too small and yet this was the house where I grew up with ambitions that touched the sky.
When I needed to see beyond the horizon I would go up and sit on the water tank of the building and watch planes land and take off in the distant domestic airport, dreaming to be on one of them, to feel like Christopher Reeves in Superman, a Walkman playing songs of my favourite singers on my headphone.
I remembered lying on my sofa cum bed with a huge black and white poster of George Michael over it, the poster witness to my college romances.
The adjacent wall had a cupboard with a Michael Jackson poster.
I used to draw posters of films I would make one day, it had cuttings of Star Wars and specially hidden was a photograph of Princess Leia with Jabba the Hutt behind her.
There was a diwan on which I remembered lying down in darkness, weeping over a failed affair listening to Cowboys and Angels rewinding the tape again and again.
Our lives are about creating and collecting memories good and bad, and music, movies, books are signposts that mark those events.
They are a part of our daily subconscious becoming an indelible part of an event that happens.
Each death of a loved one is a photograph fading away, a signpost from the past gone... with nothing to hold on to, just an uncertain future.
Artists are lucky, they carry the secret of the afterlife with them, and they carry a bit of magic in them, magic that touches us all even after they are gone. They live on through their creations.
What happens beyond life scares us and we dread the unknown, but surviving is a very lonely business.
Yet the memory of the ones we love helps us go on, one day at a time.
I feel lucky and blessed to have experienced the magic of so many wonderful creatures that shined for a brief moment in time making the world a better place.
To be alive at a time in history where I can access the genius of every century of magic that in itself is truly a miracle.
So I miss the ones who have passed on into the unknown, but I celebrate them everyday.
2016 may have been unkind, more than other years, but we are here and we owe it to the ones who are gone -- to live and love fully this wonderful gift of life.
"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
― J R R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring