Loud calls, howling, family and close ones in miserable conditions â€¦ some try to console and some trying to control. And, I stand there as a silent observer at the uncleâ€™s death in my native village in Mandi hills.
People crowd around the inconsolable wife, condoling the loss in their own wayâ€¦.
An old lady sitting there on auntâ€™s bed, on which she cannot sleep for the next 13 mourning days, condoles in a way which for me appeared to increase the sense of grief and the pace of tears only.
Others in the room only had their personal tales about closeness to the departed one to narrate.
In death, Uncle had turned into a Godly figure who had no flaws, hypocritically praised and sarcastically admired even by those who never liked him while he was alive.
Lost is thought about the worldly ways out on display, it was a only when somebody in a low voice said, “â€œdukh toh hota hi hai jab meri bhains mari thi toh aise hi mere bhi aansu nahi ruk rahe theâ€ (when my buffalo died even my tears were uncontrollable like herâ€™s) that the irony really sunk in.
With more mourners crowding the room, it got claustrophobic and left many gasping for air in the suffocating enclosure.
Unable to withstand the crowding, aunt fainted out. To make situation worse more people started gathering to see what happened.
It was the elderly lady, my aunt’s mother who gathered courage and politely asked everyone to move out of the room. the din of ladies chatter moved out of the room, who were followed by the men, providing much relief to those left inside.
Through the night – and a long one it was, close ones and my aunt in private grieved the loss.
At dawn, the funeral headed for the cremation ground and the scene there only added to the chaos of mourners – many people howling, aunt and her daughter fainting and son of the deceased lighting up the pyre, performing other rituals only added to the collective mourning chaos.
As the impact of the personal tragedy waned during the mourning days, a week later, close family members sitting in the lawn got down to some light hearted talks. It was in those moments that a faint smile returned to my aunts face. Though it was not a carefree smile as before but it was a great relief and much better than a tearful face.
Out of nowhere, someone turned up yelling out uncles name. Aunts smile evaporated and grief took over again.
The voice crying out uncles name was that of an old lady who happened to an aunt of the departed soul. Uncontrollable and inconsolable again, a crying bout overtook my aunt and was joined in by the old lady.
During my stay there from the funeral to the mourning days, I noticed many time that while the family was trying to come to terms with the grief but other mourners, some of whom arrived at odd hours, only drove them back into living out the painful sadness.
Like me, the family must have wanted to runaway from all the howling and screaming that went around the house during it all.
In it all, I wondered whether discussing tragedy, death and other woeful tales was what it took to condole the grief stricken family or was it putting them through more torture.