The life of a death

In a place called 'kasi' in India, people pray to dead bodies. People who visit and live there are constantly in the radar for the chants of 'ram ram', made by the men who carry the diseased. People then rush to their doorsteps with folded hands to pray at, what's-left-by-the-life that walked the earth. 'this is insane' I told my dad who was excited, to narrate this from his recent pilgrimage.

The train jerked and I almost dropped my not-so-smart phone. With another jerk the train gave up in the midway between two stations. This is the umpteenth time the metro is breaking down in the middle of the transit. In a few seconds, lights went off. 'Dad I'll call you back' and I cut the call without waiting for his answer. I always took him for granted. To be honest I don't treat him as well as my mother and though I love him, I never told him so. I looked up to see a compartment full of glowing faces lit by their smart phones. It's not a freaky sight, but just after the conversation with my dad, it sure chilled my bones.

Five more minutes and the train experience was not exclusive anymore. Few people were on the phone, talking or texting, which seemed like a running commentary of the situation. The scratchy radio noise from the operator, assured us we were safe. 5 more minutes, and I was starting to panic. Standing in the closed train at the tunnel deeper than three floors down, with no light and aircon, the claustrophobia took over faster than I expected. I began to Imagine the headlines of the evening news and how they would notify my loved ones. Suddenly I was worried whether someone would pray at my remains, if I were to be taken out in stretcher from the tunnel.

I closed my eyes shut and thought about my fond memories. The time my love lain on my stomach and slept while I was reading a book, the time my mom combed my hair and said how cute I looked, the time my dad sat in my first bike, the time I kissed, the time I did reverse bungee; flashes of memory slides changed rapidly and then a heavy load of regrets pinched me on my chest. Time and space vanished and then there was light and silence. I opened my eyes hoping to be in heaven, but I was still standing flesh and blood, in the train which was more alive than me and snailing its way to the next station.

We don't talk about the four letter D word. We don't appreciate it and we don't even want to think about it. For it praises ending with uncertain future, for it praises sadness. After I reached the surface, and smelled good old polluted air, I called my dad to tell him how much I loved him. The D word may not give you a happy feeling, but surely it can make you live one!

PS: this post is dedicated to my friend's father. who fought a brave battle to cancer for several years. May his life be appreciated for all his good deeds and may his soul rest in peace.


nice post once again, sri! and a great dedication too.... and you know, thats what Kasi is all about... about remembering that life is short and needs to be lived fully... but not brooding about death.. and also remembering those who have passed on... just as we hope we will be remembered too.. the rest are simply rituals made up to convince people to come there...and of course, part with their money :D
Dear Anu

You simply said it all ! :) this should be the post. My dad was very moved by the rituals and he was talking about it. I think the folded hands for the dead bodies are defn not for the death but for the great respect to the lives they lived :)

Thanks so much for your words. You made my day :)
Kayni said…
You got it to the point. Since I was diagnosed with bone marrow failure, I've had my closed encounters with death. I have developed a fear of it and still I am. Sometimes, I wish I could be like other people - healthy, but we all have burdens to bear and this is mine. Life's too short and it's important to express how much we love our families and friends while we're here.
@ Kayni

I am so glad I wrote this that you could find that place in you to express the thoughts about ur battle with the condition. My close friend is going through something similar and I can applaud more about the confident attitude and love for everyone around.

Thanks so much for writing that.
Vidya said…
We think that our experiences are unique to us. While they are, in some ways ; they are not in many ways. This revelation that you just had is something that I too constantly have; sometimes I too forget, I too take things for granted. It takes a simple or complicated "slap in the face" event for me to realize what is truly important and what is not!

Thanks for this post and taking the courage to be vulnerable.


I cant believe until you said it, that I am being vulnerable haha :)

I know we dont like to talk , more so write about such topics, but I had my own reasons :)

Thanks for your support
The fear of D word is there with everyone, as the act of dying is utterly outside anyone's control. It depends on how do you cope with your fear....But one may feel that every moment is precious when death is near ...

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