A common thought experiment, one that is popularly enacted in all kinds of private (normally entertainment-oriented) and professionally geared (sociological, psychological, and even psychiatric) settings, entails asking the question: If you had one week to live, where would you go? In attempting to answer this revealing entreaty, as I have been told by a few of my globe-trotting acquaintances, a timely online search conducted through the Optimum Customer Support service can literally pay in ‘gold’ dividends when summing up an appropriate response.
Answering in the Grips of the Dengue Epidemic…
I recall the first time when I was asked something similar, by an old high school friend of mine.
The timing for the conversational request was poignant, since I happened to be stricken with a severe bout of dengue fever on the occasion (contracted upon my trip to India in the sweltering heat of the Himalayan spring). My skin, soon after an unnoticed mosquito bite had worked its intrusive spell on my blood work, became inundated with unsightly rashes, and my skull bristled with a bone-crunching pain I would not wish upon my most loathed enemies.
The friend in question happened to run into me by chance during my sightseeing trip to the infamous pavilion of the Babri Masjid complex – a sight of much contrition between the local Hindu and Muslim factions of the area. Little did I know that soon afterwards, he would also be my consoling bedside companion in a dingy hospitable ward not far from the spot; administering cold sponges to alleviate some of the symptoms of the raging fever that regularly comes as a corollary of the tropical ailment.
…and Grappling with the Thought of my Incumbent Death
Considering the matter in retrospect, I suppose my dismal plight (on the occasion of this personal incident) did qualify me – at the time – to give a more considered answer than most people; who only rely on the power of imagination to invent a reasonable retort. What adds more weight to this assertion is the fact that, for a full 15 minutes of my life (as they progressed painfully back then), I had to grapple with the realization that I might end up losing my life in a foreign country – as one of the nursing assistants employed within the dispensary remarked casually after injecting me with some Tylenol.
To this day, a full eight years and three months later, I still do not know if he was making a crude joke on my expense, or covering all the bases in case a mortality did eventually occur…
The Place Where I Would Venture: Jerusalem
This part of my account is, in many ways, similar to the one with which I provided some macabre verbal entertainment to my friend during the hospital stay.
The place that I would like to visit the most, in the event of my incumbent departure from this world, would be the holy city of Jerusalem. And I don’t mean this in the sense of embarking on a religious/spiritual pilgrimage to the place.
Jerusalem, which is now being actively annexed from historical Palestinian hegemony to Israeli (state-backed) control through the ever-expanding & globally controversial West Bank ‘settlement plans’ project, is the point of contention between the adherents of the three major Abrahamic religions – which collectively boast the largest number of ideological adherents by all global demographic counts (encompassing more than half of humanity).
As such, it presents a fascinating experiential case study for any historian, anthropologist, sociologist, theologian or culture-critic; who wishes to conduct some in-depth research on how faith doctrines manage to politically galvanize groups of people for centuries & millenniums on end, and cause them to resort to violence in the name of their particular interpretations of scriptural dogma.
Pondering over the Unique Appeal of the Biblical Hotspot
These observations, which are standard-place for any academic to espouse, constitute the basic outward appeal of the place – but what I have found most enticing about Jerusalem is how it continues to evade the onslaught of modernity with its essential brands of competing orthodoxy.
This issue, as I have found in my lengthy travels to the region, is discernible in the psychological makeups of the city’s residents, who hail from a perplexing mix of:
- Native Arab,
- European (diasporic) Jewish, and
- Middle Eastern Christian origins.
The uniquely hybridized cultural tapestry of the place, made up of an enchanting blend of the ethnic, culinary, linguistic and geographically-defined heritages of its people, makes way for an air of pungent intellectual and empirical intoxication to permeate the streets and historical architectures of Jerusalem.
This characteristic of the ancient city, which more fittingly deserves the accolade of being remembered as the ‘Eternal City’ by its multitudes of admirers based across the world, is completely idiosyncratic to it; and is shared by no other earthly location to my knowledge.
When sufficiently stoked by like-minded individuals, I can go on and on about the holy city, but this brief outpouring will have to suffice for now.
If you’re interested in learning more about the historical and contemporary legacies of Jerusalem (as they continue to be unfolded in newspaper reports almost on a daily basis), consider signing up for an affordable Optimum Internet plan. The said subscription provision may be easily attained through the Optimum Cable Customer service.