What would have happened if the human heart was manufactured with a definite expiry date on it?
Some do say it already is – it’s just different for each individual and none of us can actually read the date.

But my question is, what if the life duration was the same for all ??
What if each heart could beat for say, seventy-two years, three months, five weeks and twenty hours.
And on the last minute, it just stops beating. Piff! And we’re gone.

What if the heart cannot be stopped by any means natural or artificial – the human will not die until the heart stops even if he is bleeding incessantly, or his brain is crushed, or poison has entered his heart, he will be alive because his heart does not fail any time before its time is up. The person may go into a coma – coma is allowed. But no death.

Don’t ask me why. Because that’s how it is.
I know, letting imagination veer a little off the path of reason, and all that.
But let’s continue.

First of all, the moment this ultimate truth was figured out, mankind would have invented the most important tool since the wheel and fire – the Heart clock. The Heart clock (or watch) is obviously unique for each individual, and at any moment will show the time remaining in his life. It begins at seventy-two years, three months, five weeks and twenty hours (72:03:05:20) and runs backwards to zero.

“Age” will have a new meaning altogether, and instead of saying “I am twenty years old” one would say “I am minus fifty-two years old” or something – which means he or she has fifty-two more years to live.

There will be a huge division in Cardiology consisting of people exploring ways to extend the life of the human heart, doing experiments with rats and other lesser beings – and also secretly exhuming dead human bodies and tearing their hearts out to see how it works. All human efforts to transplant an old heart with a younger one and thus achieve immortality have failed miserably, mostly because none of the younger people were ready to donate their hearts before their time was up. Not to speak of it totally complicating things, with a running heart outside a living body.

The trials to extend life continue. Nobel prizes have been showered on scientists who unearthed the reasons behind this fixed lifetime phenomenon of the human heart. Some have arrived at theories and formulae on how to extend the heart life. But nothing have been achieved in reality.

A group of people have formed a cult that believes the human heart will function for long if taken outside the planet. Scientists who support this theory claim that a person who visited space has had his heart life extended. When the man died, there were controversies surrounding his birthdate (some said the date on his birth certificate was fake), so nothing could be established. Discussions are on to send another person to space, whose birthdate is non-controversial, and who is minus three or five months old in his Heart clock. However it seems highly likely that by the time the arrangements and formalities are through, his time will be up.

Meanwhile, some are involved in making commercial spaceships that can carry people on a trip through space to extend their lives. No one knows if it will work, but it’s always worth a try. After all, business is business, and clever marketing still sells. People are ready to pay any price for a seat in the ship. There is also an underground movement involving VIPs from powerful nations to create luxury living conditions on another planet, but it is all hush-hush at the moment.

The rashness level of the planet is sky-high, because no one is afraid of death – in fact, no one ever knew what Fear of Death was – and they fly their motor bikes or sports cars over the roads without much danger to themselves or others. The only thing that hovers above the rashness level, is the carelessness level. With no Fear, the concept of being careful has no reason to exist. In fact the words ‘careful’ & ‘careless’ do not figure in the human vocabulary. Neither does the word ‘Murder’.

When a guy proposes to a girl he would say, “Every moment of my remaining forty-nine years, six months, two weeks and three-and-a-half hours will be dedicated to keeping you happy.” Obviously a lot of proposals are turned down because the time remaining in a person’s life is too less for a long and happy married life.

No one can commit suicide. The best they can do is commit comacide, but they may find that skilled doctors can bring them back from coma too soon, so the whole exercise could turn out to be a waste of everybody’s time.

There are nursing homes where those in coma can wait till their life time is over, without troubling those that are leading normal heart lives.

More important than yearly birthdays are the mid-life day, quarter-life day and three-quarters-life day, which are celebrated with invitations sent to the whole neighbourhood.

One of the subjects taught in school would be Life Planning – how to plan your life, and do the maximum possible before death, how to plan and choose your career, and make the best out of it for yourself and generations to come. And how not to panic. Of course that is an important lesson, and there will be end-life consultants who help you deal with the panic during the last days of your life. From childhood you’ll repeat after your teacher the magic number: seventy-two years, three months, five weeks and twenty hours.

People prepare their wills about a week before their death. They also get to finalise their gravestone carvings and designs on their coffins, and so forth. Death certificates serve no purpose.

The heart slows down in the last weeks of its existence, and people show tiredness and exhaustion. Of course they all know what it means.

Photos and videos are taken on the last moment of each person’s life, to record each death. People spend their last days knowing they are in their last days. The Heart clock will be rewound and kept ready for the next birth in the family, or donated to a poor man who does not own a Heart clock of his own.

Any thoughts on what you would do on your last day?