WHEN UNEXPECTED HAPPENS Until yesterday, he was thinking and planning about - things to do and places to visit. We are regulars on the walking trail in a park near our residential complex. We came to know each other because of this passion only. We meet at the park every morning at almost at the same time. He has been facing some health issues for quite some time. He has been under the care of a good physician and therefore had few health worries. For the last few months, he has been complaining of a recurring soar in the mouth. His physician prescribed some mouth gels and the soar disappeared. It appeared again and this time the doctor prescribed some antibiotics and advised to consult a specialist. Some doubts set in his mind but he did not tell anyone in the family. Anxious to know more, he surfed the internet and all symptoms lead to possible mouth cancer. He tried to convince himself. It is not possible. He stopped smoking some 30 years back. He never chewed tobacco. He keeps good hygiene. He has not done any wrong, he had always been God-fearing and honest and truthful to the core. Finally, he went to another specialist doctor. He did not want to scare the family and therefore did not take anyone with him. He would tell them at the right time. The doctor examined him and did not concur with his fears, though not as vehemently as he would have expected. The very fact that the doctor advised biopsy confirmed his fears. He referred him to another specialist. It took time to fix an appointment as the specialist was out of town. Finally, he could meet the specialist. He was not very sure and advised a biopsy to confirm either way. The sample was sent for biopsy. Report expected in three days-wait and See. The intervening period was gruesome, to say the least. There was every possibility that his fears were unfounded. The biopsy will be negative. But what if it is positive? He will surely die, sooner than he had expected. Did he fear death because he has seen life? He has been telling everyone, who cared to listen, that death is obligatory, everything else is optional. He had attended many funerals and tried to console the aggrieved families by telling not to grieve, stay strong. How sallow all that looks now! Looking back, he retraced the steps and was reminded of all the hardships and troubles he had faced in life. He was reminded of the many unanswered questions of life-reasons for failures, deceit. Will death be in a position to answer all those questions? Will those questions remain unanswered forever? What will be death look like - dark, cold and all alone? Will the light in the tunnel be as bright as was described by someone? Sadly, the living knows that they would die but the dead know nothing. Or do they? These and many such questions are haunting him. He is swinging like the pendulum of the clock on the wall-left, right and left or is it right, left and right. Hope- despair and hope or Despair- hope and Despair? I am also helping him to stay positive, strong and hopeful. I tell him of the advancement in the field o cancer treatment. I know all this will fall flat if the report is positive. I hope the report is negative so that I may say-look, I told you. I want to be proved right.