Are you doomed to disappear?

Published: April 1, 2014

In 200 to 300 years, you won’t even be known. Another 300 to 600 years, gone. You never existed.

Tick… goes the wonderful sound. 

Tick… there it is again.

Ah, the joyous sound!

Ah, the wonderful sound.

Tick… Ah, the harsh sound!

Ah, the destructive sound!

Tick… we ignore it.

Tick… we do not care for it.

Tick… the weight it carries!

Tick, but we do not worry. We do not care.

Tick, we ignore its value, its worth.

Tick… that one second, so different for everybody. In that same moment but so very different for everyone.

In that one tick of the clock, a child hears he has become the number one in school… so excited!

In that one tick, a man cries on hearing about his mother’s death… so sad. Same second, a man gets married… so happy! Same moment, an old man smiles as he realises he’s about to die… so indifferent.

A man becomes a father… so joyous!

A man stands on the edge of a cliff… so miserable.

A man gets shouted at by his boss… so fearful.

A teenage girl is told off by her mother… so annoyed.

A famous writer realises he has writers block… so lost.

A man buys his wife a gift… so loving.

A bachelor sits watching television… so lonely.

A man becomes a murderer… so guilty.

A child gets caught eating dirt… so ashamed.

A child finishes a book… so exhilarated.

A teacher checks the homework of her students… so exasperated.

Tick, but we do not care.

Tick, we do not worry.

Tick, we do not understand it, just wish for more. Never appreciating, never realising ‘the weight of a second’.

One day, when our time runs out, we will realise our mistake. But by then, it’ll be too late. While lying on a hospital bed, we will realise that, just like your great-great-great-great something whose name you don’t even know, you will disappear; you will disappear into the depths of time.

Suppose you were to die right now, what will happen?

Sure, your family and every possible relative will cry upon hearing about your ‘untimely’ death. Yes, you will be buried or cremated, but then what?

You will be remembered, but then slowly, as time will pass, you will be less recalled. From minutes to days to weeks to years, you will slowly be forgotten. In 200 to 300 years, you won’t even be known. Or even if people did remember you, how will they know you? You will be just some great-great-great someone from that side of someone’s life. But they would not know you, nor your interests, your likes or dislikes. You will be engulfed by the river of time. One tick at a time, erasing your identity, erasing you. Another 300 to 600 years, gone. You never existed.

Frightening, isn’t it? Look at the magic trick!

Abra, you die.

Kadabra, 500 years pass.

Alakazam! You don’t exist anymore.

Of course, you might argue about those people that we do remember like the conquerors, academic geniuses etcetera, but then again, they did something to be remembered.

Alexander the Great conquered, Aristotle discovered, Picasso painted, Shakespeare wrote.

But you, have you done anything?

If not, stand up and do something now. Don’t be a silent observer. Silent observers are doomed to disappear.

In Rang De Basanti, Dilgit Singh (Aamir Khan) says

“Zindagi jeene ke do hi tareeke hote hain. Aik, jo ho raha hai hone do. Bardasht karte jao. Yan phir, zimidari uthao use badalne ki.” 

(There are only two ways of living life. One, let what’s happening happen. Tolerate it. Or, take up the responsibility to change it.)

The ‘Remembered Greats’ (as I call them) chose option number two and were remembered for it.

What option do you choose?

Ma'aaz Shaheen

Ma'aaz Shaheen

An O-Level student at The American Foundation School, his hobbies include reading, writing and scouting and he tweets as @maaazarshad (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • guest1

    is that the author’s recent pic? Because this is superb writing by this young person. Superb!!!Recommend

  • Unknown

    Excellent; 100% agree with you.Recommend

  • Gujesh

    Alexander, Aristotle, Picasso and Shakespeare ? Why don’t you remember your own heros ? Just because they are pre-islamic ? They were much ahead then all these people. You have to start taking inspiration from your own people.
    Nevertheless, a good article.Recommend

  • Rabia

    very profound for one so young!Recommend

  • Falah Ud Din Sheryar

    We should…..very inspiring.Recommend

  • baig

    wow, i interact a lot and doesn’t see people at your age thinking like this. there is a big wow factor in your writing as well at this age. you are 15 maybe. keep it up. but i think we should go for our Islamic heroes as well for a change.Recommend

  • Abdul Tawab Farooqui
  • Fatima

    Wow!! A very deep insight by such a young person. An excellent piece and I see even better coming in the future by this one. A truly thoughtful generation is next in line. :)Recommend

  • Parvez

    The boy writes in general terms………and has written well.
    Just before ending he mentions ‘ The Remembered Greats ‘ and all 26 of them are from Pakistan.Recommend

  • Marriam

    I often think so.. no doubt, its awful to think abt our disappearing in th ashes of time.. bt a common man can’t do same as Aristotl or sumone else did.. sO th best is to liove a peaceful life nd let othrz do th same… Recommend

  • Hafsa Ansari

    Great article and great thinking.. Nice job at such young age (Y)Recommend

  • Kohistani.

    You being an Indian troll, had to be negative. And had to
    bring up Islamic and pre-Islamic. Religion. Is your bane.
    Aristotle, Alexander, Picasso and Shakespeare are owned
    by the World. They belong to everyone. Even you Indians
    had a great one,..Gandhi.Recommend

  • Mariam

    An extremely insightful piece by someone so young. good job!Recommend

  • Rana Arshad

    The point here is ‘to do something, to take action for any betterment one can. And in this we do not want to distinguish on the basis of religion, race or area.Recommend

  • Aamna

    A clear picture about fleeting as well as lasting impressions. Well done.Recommend

  • Backstage Idiot

    This is one amazing read i have had in quite some time… and that too from such a young kid, take a bow son.Recommend

  • Abdul Majid Awan

    How well does this kid define the importance of a second. Bravo young one. I hope you will not be a great-great-great someone rather become a well-known member of your ‘Remembered Greats’ clan.Recommend

  • Umair Lodhi

    Well written! ExcellentRecommend

  • Munazza

    A very mature writing by a apparently young boy … I can safely say that the writer is not doomed to disappearRecommend

  • H. H. Zuberi

    I liked the way it is written… For sure guided by some elders!!

    Initially message is clear but later “guiding”
    elders distracted the initial thoughts of the young thinker…!!

    For Allah’s Sake … understand the message between the
    Lines … There’s a life after death. Every TICK is making it Heaven or taking towards
    the Hell.

    I damn care if the world remembers me or not and in what
    nodes … What I care is what will be me after Death … Successful or Ashamed,
    Joyful or Looser, Respectable and Loved one by Rasool-ul-Allah or the
    Punishable. This is important.

    The world remember Shakespeare for his writings … What benefit is he taking of this. Khuda Ki Qasam this is our Eiman.. Shakespeare is
    still alive in his life after death and is in extreme trouble as he left the
    world without Eiman … Alas!! … He gave us literature to love but we couldn’t
    give him path to his Allah.

    This is only because one bitter fact that…


  • ajmal khan

    tick ……you write nice.Recommend

  • Umer

    Brilliantly written! Way to go Ma’aaz! (Y)Recommend

  • Ata Tabussum

    great Shaheen this your son, keep itRecommend

  • Khalid

    Immensely creative.. You can read it again and again and forward too.Recommend

  • Malaika Harris

    You just had to bring up politics, didn’t you?Recommend

  • some1

    yeah hes only 13 sort of like a friend and really good writer as u can seeRecommend

  • BlackJack

    Irrelevant comment.Recommend

  • Inam

    Wonderful! Such a profound and thought provoking writing by such a young guy. Keep it up bros. superb!!Recommend

  • Farid Hanfi

    Shabash Ma’aaz!
    Well done….. Truly inspirational thoughtsRecommend