Before I Die: WhatDoYouSee | Fiction

Before I Die: WhatDoYouSee | Fiction

Before I Die

Written as part of Sadje’s What Do You See? picture prompt.



They sit outdoors, huddled in crooked rows;

The octogenarians and septuagenarians.

They have aged gracefully;

The bitter-sweet embrace of a life well lived.

One foot closing up on the grave and one smugly here;

Some holding on to dear, precious life,

Some impatiently waiting to kick the bucket into light.


Their instructor for the day is a ruddy fella from East Coast.

He speaks about death and dying with ease and elan.

Though they have seen it all,

Up-close, and as personal as it gets.

His job is to inject a glimmer of hope,

To spark up the insipidity of their lives.


He explains how death and birth are preciously entwined

Hand in glove.

A circle of life, merging with the divine in mirth

A process of becoming star-crossed and stardust.

And if there was that one last wish to be fulfilled

What would it be?

Before our lights go out to die.


Before I Die- Board-man writing
Image credit: Google images by Sadje


He invites them to the board;

It reads:

“Before I die I want to….”


Mr. Dash walks with an upright gait and measured strides and writes:

“To dive into my darkest desire of skinny dipping in a crowded beach.”

The gaggle of oldies laugh out loud.

Some roll their eyes in dissent.


Mrs. E. Nair hobbles with her crooked walking stick.

“To meet my grandchild, and my estranged daughter.”

Everyone lets out a deep sigh.


Mr. Ramchandran meanders in, on his wheelchair.

His attendant writes on his behalf:

“To walk unassisted with Stella, one last time.”


Old Couple-Walking in Park
Credits: Pixabay


Mrs. Anjana Bose in her crisp, cotton saree, ambles over.

“To eat my favourite Roshogollas* from Rash Behari Avenue, Calcutta.”

Everyone giggles in glee.


Ms. Sudha Gaekwad who has always lived a solo life, writes,

“To ace baking, gluten free and vegan banana breads for my sister’s, sweet granddaughter.”


Mrs. Lata Varma’s unsteady hands scribble:

“To visit the Golden Temple.”

A few nod in hopeful assent.


Mr. Rebello hops, skips like a musical note, only to write:

“To watch “It’s a Wonderful World.” for the 99th time and then the 100th!”

Many a quivering lips curve into million dollar smiles.


These wispy wishes and unfettered desires;

Some floating in the air, some scrawled on the board.

Everyone yearns and deserves a loving good bye;

A life loved and lived, better still wondrously cherished.

And sometimes all it means is to simply watch the clouds float by,

Without much of a hue and cry.

Before we close our eyes and die.


© Natasha 


*Roshogolla/Rasgulla: A popular Bengali-Indian sweet syrupy dessert.


Here’s the writing exercise which I mention in my comments below that we can all do for ourselves.

I am still to do mine. 🙂

What would I do if I just had:

  1. Last 9 months of my life
  2. Last 9 days of my life
  3. Last 9 hours of my life
  4. Last 9 seconds of my life


54 thoughts on “Before I Die: WhatDoYouSee | Fiction

  1. Lovely lines, Natasha.

    I remember my writing friend, who at 83 taught me a very valuable lesson: never look backward, and plan ahead, always. She was taking her first writing workshop with me.

    She travelled alone, learned how to type on a Mac, got on facebook and twitter, and baked for her grand-daughters. She published her first book at 90, and when she passed on at 92, she had finished writing her second.

    Your poem reminded me of her. Very poignant and vivid characters, in such few words.
    Damyanti Biswas recently posted…Shay Recommends Nine Heartwarming Romance Novels to Celebrate Valentine’s DayMy Profile

    1. Wow, what a stellar life to have lived. More power to her on the other side of the rainbow.

      And I’m so touched you shared about her with me, D. Thank you. 🙂

      I’m glad this piece resonated and brought back precious memories for you.

      Hugs. <3

    1. Thanks Patrick. I was trying to visit your page last week, but for some odd reason couldn’t. Will be by in a few, hopefully it will work this time.

      Have a great new start to the week.

  2. Dear Natasha, how did you get so wise? Thank you for these wonderful glimpses into beautiful lives. Though your title says fiction, your characters feel real. Each one has something special to inspire. I’m especially fond of the grandmother who wants to make gluten free and vegan banana breads for her sister’s, sweet granddaughter.

    1. Dear JoAnna 🙂

      Thank you for your beautiful, kind words.

      I’m glad the characters felt as close to reality.

      Isn’t that Granny such a visionary. 🙂


    1. You for sure will never feel that way Debbie. You inspire and I like how. 🙂

      Thanks for reading and enjoying the personas that came to life, more so because the audience was so welcoming of them.


  3. So pertinent and beautifully expressed. This past month I had to face the choice between chemotherapy or watchful waiting after my colon cancer operation. At 86 (and a half, as a kindergartener might say) my 5 year life expectancy is 50% and 10 year is 25%. The science is so unsettled as to how many months (not years) this might extend my life. I chose quality of life and immediately decided to move to be with our family in Connecticut. Bad time of year to leave Florida! Both my Florida and Connecticut Oncologists understood my choice and were supportive, though not actively encouraging it. So, right now I am living out my “What if…”
    Ken Schneider recently posted…Bluebird brightens snowy sceneMy Profile

    1. Dear Dear Ken,

      You have led such a remarkable life with a rich tapestry experiences and adventures under your belt. Your contribution to the world of ornithology is unparalleled.

      I’m so glad you are now in Connecticut with your dear family who can take good care of you.
      I pray for you speedy recovery, good health, well being and a healthy, long life. And that you continue to charm and grace us with your beautiful images, experiences and words.

      Salute your indomitable spirit.
      Love to you and Mary Lou

  4. Beautiful thoughts. I recently listened to someone who talked about the fact that our happiness and contentment comes from knowing what we want, not what we don’t want. This post reflects that.

  5. Natasha, what a beautiful and touching take on the prompt. We all have some unfulfilled desires hidden somewhere deep within us. Either lack of courage or our ego holds us from fulfilling it. Absolutely enjoyed reading and feeling it. Will also mull over the exercise your teacher suggested. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

    1. That is so very true.
      That hidden desire, that is uncertain of those steps, not knowing what it might entail.

      But when we give in to those feelings, and gather the courage to explore the world becomes our oyster and a better place to explore and live in.

      I’m happy to hear you plan to do the exercise. Would love to exchange notes when we are done.

      Thanks for swinging by.
      Be well.:)

  6. In November last year, a neighbor-friend turned 90 years old. She did not have an easy life, but she kept her sense of humor and serenity. I dedicate this wonderful article to her. Thank you, dear Natasha! <3 <3

    The song is wonderful!
    I hug you dearly! <3

    1. That is so very heartening to hear dear dear Di. ♥️♥️

      Thank you for sharing with me.

      Glad you like the Billie Elish song too, it’s from the James Bond film, “No Time to Die”

      Hugging you back dearly too my friend.
      Stay well, and shine on your lovely light. ♥️

    1. Yes, it is indeed a must do for all of us irrespective of our age group.

      There is another one which goes like this shared by a teacher of mine:

      1. What if you had 3 months to live?

      2. What if you had a week to live?

      3. What if you had just 24 hours to live?

      4. What if you just had an hour to live?

      I am yet to do it, but will do so hopefully soon.☺️

      You have a wonderful Wednesday.
      Hugs and kisses xoxo♥️♥️

    1. Thanks so much dear Susana.

      And thank you for linking my post to #WW

      I hope to see you write for this prompt too whenever you can.

      Biggest hugs and loads of sunshine your way.♥️♥️
      Have a blessed February.

  7. So beautiful. You give a voice to a group of people we seldom make time to listen to in the western world. Wrapped up in our own lives we assume they’ve finished living and now are just waiting to die.
    Greg G recently posted…Before I die…My Profile

    1. Hello Greg,

      Thank you so much for stopping by.

      That’s the story of the modern times in most places I assume, these days.

      It’s interesting that you point this out, as it’s given me fodder for another story.

      In our condominium there are lots of older people who seem very lonely. I love chatting up with them on my walks, or just checking in on them.
      They have so many stories to tell and I marvel at their spirited attitude. Some of them are not so enthusiastic too, but it helps to talk to them and hear them out.
      That’s all they want – to be heard, to be loved and to be cared for.

      Else the loneliness can be so hard on them.

      Thank you once again.
      Have a wonderful week.

  8. Great little story. We all must be prepared in our own way, but having something out there to hope for before that time comes is important…

    1. Truly so dear Trent.

      That’s why I’m adding this wonderful exercise to this piece shared by a teacher of mine.

      My friends who did it, loved it.
      Have added it in the comments above to Sandee for now.

      You have a picturesque week.
      And yes a musical one too!

  9. Oh I love the lines, “Everyone yearns and deserves a loving good bye;
    A life loved and lived, better still wondrously cherished.”
    This is very well written Natasha, beautiful and poignant.

    And now I am craving a Roshogolla from Balaram Mullick Radharam Mullick, the jaggery ones especially at this time of the year.

    1. Dear Parikhit,

      Thank you so much for leaving this little note and also for following Natasha Musing.

      I’m glad this free verse story resonated at different levels.

      I can imagine the Roshogolla craving and that too of Khejur gur (date palm jaggery). Such an ideal season for that.
      And yes glad you pointed out Balaram Mullick! I have no idea how I wrote Rash Behari Avenue. Possibly this sweet store was back of my mind or the universe simply deemed fit to write this through me. ☺️☺️

      Looking forward to reading your blog too.
      Have a blessed week!

  10. This is a fantastic story Natasha. You’ve portrayed all the characters with their intrinsic peculiarities and personalities so well in free words each. I must say you’ve great talent for story telling! Love your story. Thanks for joining in!

    1. I’m so thrilled to hear you enjoyed reading this anecdotes and that also you could comment dear Sadje. :))

      Thank you so much for the kind compliments. 🙂

      Have a great week. Love

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