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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Flames, Ashes.

It was dark when we stepped out of the house.I was walking with the crowd just behind the white vehicle carrying her corpse, the air was being filled with a wave of whispers and cries. Her youngest son walked with a burning pot, his eyes were wide open, i heard her daughter far from behind, she kept shouting Amma and her mother never responded. The womb they both shared is going to get burned in a few minutes from now. I was searching in all the nook and corners of my mind, to find all the memories associated with her. I was hitting at days that spawned through decades, the heart grew heavy with the load. I walked silently with the crowd. We walked through the mud paths with a few torched lights guiding us, to the funeral ground far away from the village.We crossed the groove which once belonged to her family.She would have been here- in these roads as a kid, a girl, a woman, a mother and now for one last time she walked with her feet above the ground. The corpse leaves behind a wet trail on the streets just like a drop of tear does. Following a corpse was like following a huge drop of tear.She was my Grandmother's sister. I had not cried much for her demise, not when i first saw her lifeless body, not when my aunt hugged me and said "vicky, nammala anathaya vittu poiduchuda patti", not when the north Indian doctor informed me that the "body" is decaying and its not advisable to keep it for long,not when i saw my grandma fall on her dead sisters feet and cry loud making a sound that echoed their sisterhood for nearly 80 years now, but a tear kept growing inside me.

I saw my brother walking with the crowd, he had flown from a distance to get a final glimpse of her. We embraced our hands, they were wet. When we reached the place there were a few lightnings that interluded the night sky. The vehicle then stopped.She was brought down, the body was there, where was she?. They lied her next to the bed of woods.They removed her jewellery, they tied her head with the neck, they covered her face with sandal paste. People placed rice on her and gave their final respects. they took a final glimpse of her face which can only be seen in grey memories after now. Her body was then bundled in a piece of cloth covering her from top to toe, they made a little wound on her face with a knife. They lifted her body and placed it on the woods. Women started hitting in their chests, the men were idle. The final goodbye to the departed. She was covered by conjoining loafs of wood. She was buried in wood. I saw all the women of my family reduced to tears. The men who loved her were broke in their insides.When the cries got harder her son started walking around her carrying a pot which was holed thrice and broken. When he took the torch i realised that she in every literal since will be "no more".A body which lived through the years, a mouth that spoke till the last day, a frame inside which she preserved all her memories and pain will be eaten by flames. The legacy that her life was, comes to a literal end. Her son placed fire and slowly it started eloping the body. The body became just another block of wood. There were flames and there will be ashes.Slowly, people started leaving.I stood there staring at the fire, I searched for her inside the fire. Through a gap between the woods I saw her. I saw a fire slowly removing the red cloth, inside it i saw her legs slowly emerging from the burning cloth. The legs on which fell before i left for my job to Chennai, the same legs which shivered when i touched them, when i fell in her legs she had said "nee enga ponalum nalla irupa sami, unakku entha korayum varathu". The voice kept echoing all around me. tears kept flowing from the eye. She was burning inside my eye. My brother stood near me and he too was wiping his eyes. In the distance i saw her son and daughter hugging each other and both cried aloud. It was their mother, losing the mother is losing like loosing everything that connects you to life.We stayed there for sometime and when we left it started drizzling around.

I walked with my mother through the drizzle. I embraced her around her shoulder and we walked back through the deserted mud roads. Amma then said to me something which i had never forgotten. When i was a kid i had sat in the same grandmothers lap and said "patti nee saavanu ennala nenakave mudiala ana nee settha naan bayangarama aluven, naan aluguratha paathu ellarum aluvanga"(I cant imagine you could die someday, if that happens i will cry aloud from my heart and seeing me cry everybody will cry with me). No one would have noticed the tears which kept dropping from me when i walked through the darkness of the night. Her death was in a way the best thing that had happened to her. She suffered with cancer for nearly a decade, little by little she was destroyed by it. She fought it with all her might, even on the death bed she believed she would get back to normal, but she died. She died a peaceful death.வட்டமான இலை மேல் மெதுவாய் வடிந்து மறையும் நீர்த்துளி போல், பறக்கும் பறவை அறியாமல் பிரிந்து செல்லும் ஒற்றை இறகு போல்,வெம்மையான மதியத்தில் காற்றின் திசையில் தனித்து அலையும் காகிதம் போல், சலனமில்லாத நீரில் விழுந்து மறையும் ஓர் ஒற்றை பனித்துளி போல், அல்லது ஒரு புத்தகத்தை ஆழ்ந்து படிக்கும்போது அச்சாகாத ஓர் பக்கத்தை காணும் மௌனமான திடுக்கிடல் போல், இயல்பாகவே, மிக இயல்பாகவே நிகழ்ந்தது உன் மரணம் .Like a morning dew thinning out on a lotus leaf, like a feather which leaves the bird on the fly , like a paper which floats alone in the summer winds, like a drop of winter snow which drowns in motionless water, or like the shock that occurs when finding a missing page in a long book, you died.


The Seeker said...

My heartfelt condolences and my sincere prayers for peace and strength ....

Anu said...

My deepest Condolences, its hard to loose a loved one. But I think her legacy lives on - in her kids and in your memory

Vignesh said...

@ Barath, Anu

Life beckons, as Morrie says death ends Death ends a life, not a relationship, all the dead ones live in some others memory... death makes u permanent!

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