Death scribbled an ugly autograph at Bajpe Airport today, but the book of life is really about life.
Tens of hard-working men and women who shackled their seatbelts after dinner last night, with their children in tow, hoping to have breakfast with their near and dear ones, didn’t get to see them although they were waiting just a few minutes away; although they whizzed past where they were waiting.
So, who is to say what tomorrow holds when we don’t know what the next minute does?
Tiziano Terzani was an Italian foreign correspondent based in New Delhi for several decades. In 1976, a Chinese fortune teller, whom he had come across by sheer chance in Hong Kong, warned Terzani against flying.
Not in 1976 or 1977, but precisely in the year of the lord, 1993.
“Beware! You run a grave risk of dying in 1993. You mustn’t fly that year. Don’t fly, not even once.”
Terzani, a correspondent for the German weekly Der Spiegel, was a un-believer. He admitted he was momentarily taken aback by the fortune-teller’s prediction but not deeply disturbed. But by 1992, he had grown tired of his job and was beginning to question the value of his work.
He saw the 1993 prophesy as a chance to see the world through new eyes.
So, when the fateful year dawned, Terzani submitted to the warning despite the nature of his job. All that year and a month more, he travelled, sometimes with wife Angela Staude in tow, by ship, car, bus and train through 11 countries, including Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Mongolia.
The result was a 13,000 miles of journeys, and a book called A fortune-teller told me.
“The prophecy lent me a sort of a third eye with which I saw things, people and places I would not have otherwise seen. It gave me an unforgettable year.
“It also saved my life.
“On March 20, 1993, a UN helicopter in Cambodia went down, with 15 journalists on board. Among them was the German colleague who had taken my place.”
Terzani passed away in 2004.
Image: courtesy Amazon.com
Read The Guardian obituary: Tiziano Terzani