A friend I greatly admire surprised me even more with the few words he penned in rememberance of his father, through the event and the wake which followed. The entire rustic prose is exquisitely poised at that threshold, I felt, between the grief that overtakes us upon our parent’s demise, prepared as much we might be, and the alternating surreal snapshots of procedure and interaction snippets that pass into our view. Here are his own words, first published on Facebook.
… QUOTE …
My father decided to call it a day last month.
Yes it was a moment of grief but very soon subdued by the great needs of the worldly and the other worldly arrangements of our faith. The mega 13 day event was a major logistical and protocol issue. It was a gathering of uncles last seen few decades back, and of cousins and their children, some of whom we saw for the first time. Yes they did sympathize with the old man and us but very soon it was overtaken by catch-up talk and exchange of tit-bits.
Everyday had a significance of its own, with rituals followed by scripture reading and prayers and so on. Even there was a major tiff within our extended relations regarding who were the rightful forefathers (or rather their souls) to be invited for the ceremonies, considering that my Grandfather was an adopted son and was equally adored by the donor and the recipient families.
Life after death is not an end, in fact it is a long journey requiring all the comforts and needs that sometimes we may have missed in our earthly innings. This realization came after the long drawn haggling with the priest regarding the quantum of grains that would be needed for Dad’s journey beyond, many of the other necessities which we forgot to provide for, which was promptly converted into the equivalent amount in Rupees and handed over to the priest for arranging the transfer.
The last part was to find out his possible carnation in the afterlife and believe it or not we did get his footprints or markups on the sand bed left covered overnight at the altar. However there is still a dispute whether he is going to be a flower, a snake or a bird, or all of them in some order.
At the end it was all a good doze of socializing and quite a celebration, and your SMILE made us all smile.
Dad you missed all this but that would not have been possible with you here.
Have a happy and safe journey & RIP when you reach its end.
… UNQUOTE …