Did you ever think of yourself as a recycled entity? A speck of recycled stardust, perhaps?
Picture this: over the billons and gazillions of years of churning and melding of the elements, the progression of life from microscopic, single-celled organisms to complex, emotive, expressive beings, there’s been a continuation from one life form to the other, each carrying the tiniest fragments of the previous layer. And though each new creation on the face of the earth is distinct and unique, it carries upon itself the imprint of all those gone before it, all those whose bits and pieces are inseparably fused with it.
The most obvious evidence of this lies in our selves — our faces and bodies, illustrative sketches by nature’s own hand, so to speak. When a new baby is born, it is surrounded by curiosity: who does it resemble? Look in the mirror and you see bits and pieces of all those faces that bestowed their genes upon you; eyes from one, nose from another, smile from a third and ears from a fourth. Even the manner of your speaking and striding reflects those that lived before, regardless of whether you learnt it from them or not. Though generally you are told you resemble your father or your mother or some other close relative, in truth, you resemble someone even more ancient than that — you carry the imprints of people long gone from this world, ages and ages ago. Because the person you resemble carries the features of a generation before them and that person holds in him the marks of another… and so on and so forth. So unbeknownst to you, that little crinkle round your lips, the curl of the lock upon the forehead, every bit of it is almost as ancient as life itself; it has been transferred, layer upon la­yer, to generations in the future — and will do so till the end of time. With the quietest of treads, life preser
ves itself.
And then again, human hubris compels us to create an aura of exclusivity ar­ound ourselves. But dig de­eper and you’d realise, we’re not the only ones carrying the imprints of our ancestors. The entire universe is in sync, recycling measures of itself, sprouting buds in unlikely places. You’d never know it, but traces of you will remain in things you’d never think about. Imagine this: when you die and are buried, merging with the earth, there’d be traces of your dissolving self in the flowers and shrubs growing in the soil upon you, traces of you in the pollen that sticks to bees alighting on those blooms, traces of you in the wind that carries the pollen afar…. Fragments of you scattered all over the earth, budding flowers everywhere. You would be dissolved in the rainwater that seeps and flows from the soil above you, alive in the life-giving force of the stream.
You can never fathom how much of you would linger in this universe, how many bits preserved within it — as well as bits of loved ones long assumed lost. From the beginning of time, to the end of it, there’s some fragment of the earliest life that still dwells within you. Recycled results of the most ancient formations, sparkling remnants of preserved stardust. Everything that has ever been alive remains present in some form, however minute that may be.
Nothing ever dies, nothing ever ends. There is a reason they call it the circle of life.

(The writer is a freelance journalist)
Zehra Naqvi