Tuesday, October 24, 2006

funeral chants and prayers: stories for my funeral

Author’s note: To my dearest readers, welcome to the (http://chitgo.nomadlife.org/2006/07/funeral-prayer.aspx) ongoing series entitled ‘Funeral chants and prayers: stories for my funeral”. I have had, over a period of time been fascinated and entwined with the sheer mortality of our being and the pursuit of understanding life through the lens of a ‘passing’. Whilst this is a macabre topic and highly irregular with my otherwise basic outlook on life itself, I can assure you it has by no means anything to do with ‘visions’, ‘omens’ or un-vocalized, unscripted thoughts of doom. These are purely feeble efforts at putting together for myself and strangers a collection of stories, that may remind us (albeit harshly) of the terminal nature in our existence and the beauty of irony arising out of the realization that in this next second “we may not exist”

These stories are meant for individual reading/recitation in times of mourning or loss of any living creature. I would want them recited during my funeral.

Diwakar’s plea.

They always looked at Diwakar with a certain sense of awe. It just seemed to many that met him in varying capacities that he, pretty much, possessed it all. A chubby kid, not many expected him to grow to be the 6ft strapping young lad (as he liked to call himself).

Mrinalini, Diwakar’s mother would hold herself back from knocking on the door when he would hear his anguished cries of frustration on the phone. “That’s not what I meant!, don’t put words in my mouth, why are you being like this?”. As a mother and as a woman, she was surprised to see her son so out of control. Calm, placid and most importantly cool-headed in the worst of personal or professional crisis – this boy was downright messed up. She didn’t interfere though. Better sense and bitter experience had taught her not to invade in a moment of privacy which saw her son in a ‘supposed weakness’. Be them boys, be them men, there is an ego residing in the core of that gender’s caveman instinct that must be left alone, no matter what. The maturity, she felt, only shone through when these protectors would come forth and lay their head in exhaustion on her lap, allowing a single tear of pure helplessness…..those days had come as well; but this was not the time.

Diwakar felt free. It had been a relationship with tumultuous ups and downs….with anger and self-righteousness; the latter being a role he felt compelled to play. He looked back at those 3 years and wondered at just how they fought through some of there problems. His insecurities weren’t very well known, except to her.

Now he was back in Bombay, in his home town, settled, sorted (as Yashwant loved to say) and very very full of life. After those intense years of hard work, traveling, living a life of self-restraint (which he wasn’t used to considering the ease with which his materialistic needs were granted from a young age), he now had balance. Work was interesting – a manager for Corporate accounts at a respectable PR firm…couldn’t really ask for more. A line fit for him many remarked, youngest at his office and it wasn’t a well documented fact. His demeanor not corresponding to that (Still) young, boyish face. The years of heavy shaving only producing a barely razored stubble that the girls loved to stroke. She loved to stroke. She giggled as it tickled her soft cheeks and brushed against her crimson lips.

That is one statistic that would have a pattern. The last thoughts of a person before … . Diwakar left the gear for an extra second to feel the jagged nature of his neck. He thought of how she looked that close, and how much he had hurt her. He thought of how difficult it had been and how he had pleaded for her to reconsider. How he had pleaded, without words, for her to understand that his actions were honest and true. He thought of his own beliefs – of integrity and honesty, and how she had pummeled them into the dirt strewn burial grounds, a place his heart lay mauled and mangled- beating in a soundless bloody heap. He knew he was drunk, the last drink was stronger but he hardly cared. Many nights he had driven through on his fabled 2-wheeler across Delhi roads fighting rains, headaches induced by drinking and the struggle to light a cigarette with his helmet on, in the middle of a crowded street, like some medieval warrior inhaling the last intoxicating scent of the murderous crowd before reducing to dust in the heat of a battle.

He thought of all this in a split second, and as he turned he didn’t realize the street was one way, he didn’t register the speed of his own vehicle, he didn’t realize the safety belt wasn’t on.
He thought of all this in a split second as the blaring headlights of the oncoming tempo, screeched into the humming, buzzing night.

She was asleep when she got the call. It was 4 in the morning as she grunted her way to the cell phone she wished she had not forgotten to put on silent mode. For a brief second she wondered who it was who could be calling. As the trembling voice on the other end delivered the truth, the closing, the hard reality….she heard an almost deafening scream. It wasn’t from Gaurav, his best friend, but from somewhere deep inside her. She tried to gain balance and stand but lost control and fell, almost rag-doll like to the floor, beating her fists to the cold marble…She must have been quite loud, for dadi awoke almost immediately. It meant nothing though. She stumbled across to the cupboard and put on the first thing she could grab. Ram bhaiyya would have to be woken up, amritraj hospital jaana hai.

That ride was the longest of her life. He had once remarked jokingly that he wondered how it would feel to see the afterlife. For some horrendous and inexplicable reason- those words kept ringing in her head. It’s almost as if he was inviting it.

Friday, October 06, 2006

move on

Created once
Out of a life insecure
Now so mature
So experienced
You Derived heat from my body’s sun.

Was I enraged?
Did I feel wronged
by my own
Unending generosity?
Unending sacrifice.

But those deeds
Shall not be remembered
For hate and anger take precedence,
in these moments less worthy.

I too
Move on
across landscapes
Peaceful that my strength
Finds an abode within.
Peaceful that my strength
Meant for a few
No longer plays a role
For you.

Maintained I have
that my tender touch
is but a farce to a colder heart
much too vicious
much too cautious,
pain will not play a part.

Move on
and leave this behind
for your own good it shall be
to leave this behind.
Be prepared though
To face thy inner demon
‘cos there be no such pain
Like fooling the inner voice.