I figure everyone with an eye for business will end up getting curious enough to start reading this article but I am sorry to disappoint you. When I am writing about losses and gains, I am implying the darker paths of deaths, and lessons gained out of it.
I was at a funeral yesterday, my grandmother passed away. After a few sympathy messages I realized that I didn’t deserve them as I wasn’t sad at all. It broke me to see my dad bawl like a baby and my mom inconsolable herself, but besides that I wasn’t upset at all. My grandmother was 85 until yesterday morning and I have had only 4 years of memories with her.
Family feuds and my immature young days didn’t permit me to have the luxury of a joint family. A tradition is a tradition nevertheless, so there we were, at the funeral- my first up close funeral.
The last I remembered seeing her was when she weighed at least 50 to 60 Kgs. Yesterday, all I saw was a skeleton with some skin clinging on to it. The atmosphere was somber only for the first couple of hours, for then began the endless scenes of people gossiping or exchanging their views on the latest ‘youtube’ videos besides complaining about the inconvenience caused to them because of her sudden demise, and of course the summer heat. The ones coping with the loss were few.
I was amused to see people giving instructions to each other about how the customs are meant to be, some referred to Google while some asked their acquaintances on the phone. I wondered who came up with these customs, the coconuts, the flowers, the makeshift stretcher, the white cloth etc. They referred to her as ‘the body’.
One of them started chanting some ‘shlokas’ intended to give ‘moksha’ to her soul. Seriously? A stranger chanting something in Sanskrit will decide the fate of her soul?
At the crematory (where girls are not allowed, I fail to understand why, considering the fact that there were boys residing there who were scratching their privates, not so privately) people once again immersed in an important conversation as to which direction the head should be placed. The man in charge came and asked us if she was a Gujarati, head in the north! Wow! Whoever said man is the smartest being is seriously mislead. We are assigned a religion, given a caste and are tagged not only at birth but also at death!
When will people learn? That’s the harsh truth, isn’t it? We never will learn. Treating a person well when he is alive will never be as important as the circus that follows when he moves over to the other side.
Her death taught me one more thing, a lesson that poets have emphasized on time and again, do not take life for granted. We can keep hoping for a new day, be an optimist but the truth is we are all mortals, mere mortals with no control over the next second. Looking at the losses others suffer, if we are going to assume that we will never face the same thing, then that just makes us the biggest and the most ignorant fart heads ever.
That person who is mistreated today and died without the satisfaction of gaining self respect and dignity can be you if you don’t take a stand today.
That person who you treat like garbage and yell at every now and then can be gone the next second. Why are you gambling with fate? Why are you so nice and civilized in front of a stranger but yell around and throw tantrums with the people who care about you? Will any of it matter when you lose that person?
That person who is visited by zillions at his grave can definitely be you, but does it matter? Does it matter to you? You are dead. What was the point of that false façade you put up in order to be liked by everyone? Where is the real you?
Think about it, as I am thinking about my life right now. The purpose of this existence, the difference I am making to my own self or to this society. Do I want to die at peace or with the searing pain that I could never value my life?
One last thing for the people who know me and are reading this. I can not stop others from following dead habits and customs but please, if I die before you, make sure my organs are donated and my body is used for any experiment that one desires, one that can give hope to Gen next, to humanity.
6th Floor, Kutch Castle Building, Opera House,
Opp. Tiwari Sweets., Above Kulin Kumar Holidays,
Mumbai – 400 004. India