Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Looking at obituaries

Is it important to have a cigarette stuck between my two fingers when I look at obituaries? I don’t pay much heed to this question that only I have thrown at myself. For now, I only look at the pictures of the dead.

The first photo looks like one shot for a matrimonial alliance. Face tilted towards one of the studio walls, lips stuck together, almost in an embrace, and one end of the Sari hiding the seemingly sharp shoulder blade.

And now, the photo of the young woman, sent to a newspaper office along with a few lines, which most of the mourning families usually tend to stick to:

The sunshine of our lives, the prayer of our hearts…

There would be other pictures too, probably stashed away in an old purse or in a cupboard above the television set in front of which the family sat for dinner every night, watching morbid soaps: a picture taken during a college farewell ceremony (remember, she was adjudged Miss Smile), another taken during a family vacation (she wearing a straw hat and staring at the lens, her thoughts somewhere else), yet another at a wedding (she looking dreamily at the henna-stained palms of the bride).

The family is probably still in mourning. Must be, since at least two inches more than usual of newspaper space has been booked.

Memory is short-lived. With each passing day, with each passing moment, she would be remembered only in occasional spasms. And then life will ease itself into a routine. After the mourning period is over, the only person who might remember her is an old, toothless grandmother, as she feels her prayer beads between her feeble fingertips.

Death, I suppose, snatches everything.

I cannot look at the next photo. My cigarettes are finished.


anhadshabda said...

but,death is exciting also,
in some sense,
we can have ans for many of our q,s.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Pandita

I enjoyed reading it!However,
I am not too sure if I completely understand death! Does it kill everything thats to do with our existence in one go- Death The Great Leveller, is it?If the author could excuse me for my audacity-The idea of reincarnation intrigues me...I could agree with the fact that death helps us forget a lot of our past...we are oblivious of the tangible that formed us...but is it possible that the intangibles linger on. Just raising it out of curiosity... how would a journalist treat the concept of coming to life again and meeting people from past lives.
There are tales told in books like "The Tibetan Book of living and dying" by Sogyal Rinpoche. There are other books like "Many Lives, Many Masters" written by world renowned psychiatrist,Dr. Brian Weiss, that talk about spirits of masters guiding the living.The book "Many Lives...shows how Catherine during a hypnosis recalls many of her previous births.
How does a journalist deal with concepts like these:)A queer thought I agree butI m curious to know how a journalist would react to it? Waiting for your response for I too intend to stay put. Dipika D.