We truly know nothing: afterthoughts to the Airblue crash

Published: July 29, 2010

We plan and plan some more, not knowing the whole time that we know nothing. PHOTO: AFP

We have our lives planned out, we think we know how our day will proceed – the housewife will do the daily chores, others will spend an endless day at work, some have a party planned in the evening, some have deadlines to meet, there’s a birthday coming up, an estranged friend we think we’ll finally talk to today… we plan and plan some more, not knowing the whole time that we know nothing.

How does this realization hit us? For the most part of our lives actually it does not; not until there is a tragedy to offer a rude awakening from our slumberous denial.

We all experienced this rude awakening this morning with the news of the heartbreaking plane crash. While the commentators are already talking endlessly about it, sharing heart wrenching accounts of the tragedy, we are all finding ourselves talking about it as well, talking about the unpredictability of life, praying for the departed, thinking the whole time of the lives that those passengers lived, the laughs that they laughed, the plans that they had for a future they never got a chance to live. Yes, we are all talking about it, we have realized for a brief period in time just how unreliable our lives are… however, we shall continue to do so only until the memory of the plane crash becomes distant and we gradually forget that life is in fact unpredictable. Again we’ll begin to plan our days, take comfort in the thought that we are in control of our lives; that we know what lies ahead until another tragedy strikes to shove us out of our denial for another brief period of realization… and when that time comes, who knows some of us who today ‘are’ might be among those who once ‘were’.

I’m writing this for I feel the need to record a reminder for myself, that life as I know it is only encapsulated in the split second that all my functional senses are intact – anything beyond that split second is a delusion I mustn’t bank on. It is important to cease the moment while we still have time; to not leave a story untold, a promise un-kept, love not shown, comfort not given – to not leave for tomorrow what we can do today.

So for those I once cared for and mindlessly allowed trivial issues of ego to keep me estranged: I still care. For those I forgot to tell I loved, taking it for granted that there is always a tomorrow: I love you all. For those I wasn’t with on their special day or when they needed me most: I’m truly sorry. For those I’ve hurt: I seek forgiveness. Tomorrow must not be allowed to slip from under our feet without giving one last hug to those who make our days worth living; without a final smile we owe to those who were with us through the thick and thin or (as a friend put it this morning) without the satisfaction that we had the opportunity to bid our loved ones a proper good bye. More than anything else, it is these little things that we really owe each other.

That said, I also know that sooner than I would like to believe, I’ll return to laying plans for a future I might not ever get a chance to see, forgetting that while I take comfort in thinking that I know how tomorrow will be, I truly know nothing.

Areebah Shahid

Areebah Shahid

An ardent follower of global politics who works with an international development organization and tweets @AreebahShahid

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