Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Of Death and Funerals

Just got back from yet another funeral, God only knows how many more funerals we have to attend this year!! 2011 and 2012 have brought us closer to death as we have been losing all our known ones day by day. It was just some months ago that we had left a pyre under the setting sun.......she was one of our grannies and just some weeks later one of our brothers slipped into eternal sleep. Handa Katuwal, also known as Hande, passed    away due to alcohol abuse. Even though he was an icon for us when we were teenagers and liked his hairstyle and dress up, he became non-existent later on due to the sudden change in his habits. Indulging himself in alcohol, he forgot his duties despite having a grown up son to look after. When he was at high school, he had all that we thought a man should have....freedom, nice looks and a rowdy attitude. After his marriage, he turned into an incognito, nobody understood him because he was always drunk and when drunk he just used his hands to express something. During our childhood we used to hear a lot of stories about him, like how he used to sell  his trees just by pointing at them from three kilometers below, how he had been missing on the day of his SLC exams and later found that he had forced his girl to elope with him exactly on the day of his exam. His death was peaceful and quiet, he was fine the day before but the next day he was gone in his sleep.
           Later in 2011, we lost a friend. Pawan Gurung had been lost for years in India. Nobody knew whether he was alive or dead, not even his family. A mischievous boy like every boy with a name Pawan, he was funny along with being a bit awkward. After being missing-in-India for about 7-8 years, he turned up with a wife and a grave health problem. He had got jaundiced and had been hospitalized in Mumbai, he had a flat in Mumbai and was working as a Chef in one of the reputed restaurants there. Financially he had grown strong and confident in his career, he was planning to migrate to Dubai but fate brought him back to his motherland. We saw him for the last time after such a long gap, he was the same old awkward Pawan but a bit sick. He rested with us from some days and after his recovery, moved back to Mumbai, his workplace. Suddenly we get the shocking news that he is no more with us....................... back in Siliguri, where his family has a house, he was buried. He left us when we had not the slightest notion that he would leave us. His disease had taken him instantly.
             The next death was quite miserable, an old woman who lived all alone, worked here and there to make a living, carried goods for the shopkeepers and was always ready to run errands for everyone. No one missed her the whole day....she had gone to bring some fodder for one of the one even thought about her even though she had been gone for about twelve hours and hadn't returned back. It was only when her chicken were out at nine in the night and another woman like her remembered that she hadn't returned from the jungle; everyone started looking for her. We searched high and low, throughout the jungle and the streams but were unsuccessful. Most of our primary guesses were that she might have committed suicide or might have fallen into some cliff and might be lying there unable to move due to some broken bones. Late in the night, as we were about to cancel the search for the night and start fresh early the next morning, some of us suggested to try again as we found out that the search party that had been suggested to look in one specific area had not gone there as they felt that the area was unreachable for a feeble woman like her; one had to jump over a fence of barbed wire to get into that area.
              Yes, she was there. When we heard her moans under the bushes, we shouted with joy in finding her. She was wet, she was moaning, she had vomited on herself, she was frozen and she had little life left. When our discovery reached the people, they made the fire ready to warm her body, the ARSP made their vehicle available to transport her to Dhankuta District Hospital. Her body, when carried on the shoulder through the jungle was like a log, stiff and cold. She was warmed beside a roaring fire and given hot drinks, then she was rushed to the hospital. She took some saline water and took off for her eternal journey.............that is how Maili Didi died. I guess nobody around here knows her real name.............she was just a Maili sister...who was ready to help anyone. If only somebody had remembered her 3 to 4 hours before then we could have saved her....................The cause of her death?? We are not sure, she might have  fainted, she could have been bitten by a snake, she could have been suffering from some nervous disorder.................nobody was really interested to find the cause of her death because.............I guess you know...she was just a Maili Didi and no one else.
                 An eleven year old kid committed suicide after that! We have already discussed about that earlier. Around the same time, another girl went missing. She had recently got married; the only remnants found were her citizenship card and jewelry beside the Tamor river. She is still missing so there is no proof of her death actually.
             of our grannies expired. She had this liver condition for a long time, she was too old, she had been spoken perfectly in the morning but death comes in different ways. She passed away without making a fuss. 
                        Death, when it makes itself heard makes us shiver with its awesomeness. Until we lose someone we know, we think that we are immortals. We are immortals but immortality has a price to pay for.  We die that's why we are immortals. Death makes us immortal, we realize that even though our body becomes frail and withers away...............internally something never dies. We relish in this realization and wonder when someone else is going to pass away..........we seldom think of ourselves passing away. If we had contentment in our minds during the time death's wings swipe our faces, we would be immortal. But no one likes to die, no one can leave this world in the midst of all this excitement, relationships and so on. Since we haven't learned how to die, real death has never happened to any one of us. We miss little things, even when our eyes get misty with the glow of death, we are still hoping for some thing more, some more time to finish something unfinished, some more days, some more youth, some more................something more....

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