For men may come
And men may go
But I go on forever.
January 12, 2013
He laid down to sleep for a while and kept sleeping forever. The air turned moist with tears. Loud cries and wailing for the irrecoverable loss made me more and more deaf. Was it all real or was all just an ostentatious display of sorrow and grief??? Here goes my heart wrenching experience of how people lament over such a loss to feign themselves as wearing the shoes of sympathy.
Eerie silence persisted throughout the porch leading to the room where he laid still just still.
Men in white standing in groups discussing about the timeline of the dead.
M1- He was such a nice person. God calls for good people soon.
M2- He was in so much pain. May his soul rest in peace.
Women lamenting, shedding tears, showing compassion, kind gestures overall. Behind the veil went long gossips, tearing apart the crumbled pages of dead's story.
W1- He had earned enough to descend to his next generation.
W2- Ahha!!! Rich people are often killed by greed.
W1- But he suffered from cancer.
W2- Three years the lump was seized in the body. Had he spend a few bucks then he would be alive today.
W1- But the reports didn't traced the lump.
On the couch sat his son weeping helplessly. Staring at the bed where he took his last breath tears deluged his eyes. I went near him but was so shocked that a lump chocked my throat to utter anything. I just rushed to the other room to get hold of myself.
In the next room, sat the now-widow lady wrapped in a thin shawl absorbed in the convulsive flood.
Some few sat beside her consoling her. Then barged her young sister into the room and dropped herself onto her saying " Now what will happen?? Who will call her in the morning?? Oh my sister, poor sister."
I wondered if a person taken aback by shock can utter such piercy words to worsen the wound more.
Why did she need to say such striking words? Can't she just soothe the widow with a warm hand???
I pulled away the younger sister to pacify the air. Took her to other room. She continued crying for another ten minutes at her full pitch. All other women were just pondering over the family's history.
A few more minutes passed in the eerie silence.
"Arey! you are here in the town?", asked the a-few-minutes-before-wailing lady.
I was silent the whole time until she asked me. "Yes, at home."
"You have completed engineering, right?", popped in another grieving lady.
"Which discipline? Which college?" came the questions in speed.
"Mumma, gather yourself. Let's go", I blatantly said turning back to the ladies.
Disgusting! they are here to take an account of my life. Dare not see me as some material to be cockeyed soon.
Came the time when the body was carried for cremation. All the present mourning masses made the last pranam to the heavenly soul and I came back home.
What if I die tomorrow? Will they cry for me? Will they console my family too? Will they ask my brother what stream he is going to opt? Will I too become a closed chapter? Will I too live in just memories of a few??
Bewildered with thoughts all around, I tried to get back to normalcy. However his face kept hanging before me until I closed my eyes.
THE NEXT DAY
All the family members have come by now. Seemed more of a get-together. In the temple after doing with the rituals, sat everyone in the hall. New faces were lingering and introduction round geared in.
"I'm your so and so. Do visit us. You will have quality time with this family", said almost everyone whosoever I went near to.
How hard I wanted to escape such a moment but it trapped me.
The display of wealth and prosperity again seemed on a go. Exchange of clothes and gifts (yes gifts as a token of his remembrance) with a lavish lunch set the entire family soon into the mood of chatter.
Are they here to enjoy or to lament or just to mark their presence. I hated the way tradition keeps people going for such a ceremony. The person is dead. Yet food is being organised. Yet gifts are being distributed. Yet chatter are initiated.
I can't take it this way. I asked mumma," Why this way?"
"Long sought tradition".
"Or perhaps merry-making of liberation of one more soul".
I was totally traumatized.
How happily people were satiating their stomach when one person was less to eat. How? Why?
I was feeling giddy.
A Few Days Later
The grieving family is back to path. Usual routine. Cooking, eating, sleeping, shopping, business, everything back as if nothing had happened.
Sometimes they feel his absence when there is no one to cheer for team India, when there is no one to scold, when there is no one to ask for tea. But since it's life. Life goes on and on. People move ahead.
But I still feel stucked at Jan. 12. Haven't I moved on? Or I'm escaping the truth? Or I'm afraid of such an end in disguise?
P.S. This post is directly coming from the deep of my heart. I perhaps don't know whether it reveals my immature face or hides my sorrow. It's just I wrote in a flow. I personally don't intend to hurt anyone or their feelings or mock at our culture and tradition. But still at the back of my mind I don't like it this way. I can't take it this way.
Hioy'oy Hoi Polloi