mAvErIck spEAks

Sunday, October 23, 2005

From the funeral grounds –

Nine months and my 2nd visit to the funeral ground…16th February, 2005 – Grandmother expired…18th October, 2005 – Grandfather expired…

It was 10.30 in the night, when the news took all of us by a sudden shock that he is no more. Just nine months after my grandmother expired, he chose to leave all of us. It wasn’t actually his choice – in fact no one can ever make a choice, but I would still like to believe that it was his choice…

Obviously, next day was his funeral and if we wanted to attend that, we had to leave for Kanpur, the same night. A cab was called and we all set on a journey – a journey to see off a soul who set on to his last journey.

He was on the main door, as if he was still receiving the visitors and taking care of them personally. He always had pleasure when someone was used to visit him and he took great care to see that he’s been treated well. And as always, even today he received everyone. But today, he couldn’t ask anyone “how are you, son”.

He had satisfaction spread on his face. Eyes were half closed, as if he was looking who all have come to see him off. Few people were gathered around him, weeping and he was smiling – as if he was saying, “why are you weeping”, I am freed today, its time to celebrate.

Somehow I couldn’t go near him. Why…I am still pondering over it. I was in fact one of his favorite grandchildren if not the only one. And still, I couldn’t muster courage to go near him and see him. Or perhaps it’s something else.

He was 85…otherwise healthy but was fighting one ailing disease – the old age. He limped on crutches in his last years because few years back he survived through an accident and since then kept refusing to see the doctor. The result – crutches and my grandmother became his permanent companion for these last years. Grandmother left him nine months before and he didn’t need those crutches on his last journey. There was a pair of crutches lying…no one will ever pick them again.

He was a good man – humble, selfless, respectful...I am not saying so because he was my grandfather but because I had seen these traits in him and admired him for the purity of his soul. His laughter was always heartfelt, selfless, and innocent.

Before placing him on the pyre, my eldest uncle performed rituals. He was bathed with the Ganges water, with the help of his sons and grandsons. When he was alive, he always avoided taking baths and detested the very thought of it, especially in the winters. But today, he couldn’t complain. He was bathing for the last time. A new pair of clothes was put on him. He was fond of new clothes.

I was still around and still wasn’t crying. Not a sliver of grief in my mind. Everything was so mechanical. Rituals finished, it was time for cremation. In a little while, he was engulfed by eternal fire and I couldn’t see anything but flames hugging his body. I was still emotionless and I was definitely not ok with it. I started suspecting my emotional quotient. Whether I was getting emotionally numb or my sentiments are dead.

“You too will have to do that one day”, my father’s voice caught me from behind and I immediately answered, “Everyone has to do it”. And there a tear rolled down my cheeks. I was sobbing .Thanks Dad, you helped me again.


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    By Blogger TinkerBell!, at 11:46 AM  

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