THE THEATRE CALLED LIFE
I know I know … y’all think I am getting morbid in my not-so-old age!!! LOL that is not so. But getting to this age … and watching a whole lot of people departing has brought me face to face with the politics of mourning.
There are people who walk into the bereaved house looking sombre
There are others who come in, blank faced …. ohhhh they dont wanna be there, they square their shoulders and steel themselves. It is a chore, they check if people have noted their presence and then they beat a hasty retreat!
And the strange thing is that though no one is marking attendance, every one’s presence is duly noted and lots of venom is reserved for folks who do not turn up.
I am floored by a relative though. A distant relative of ours had passed on. And the lady needed a lift. Since I had to go to the bereaved house myself, I agreed to pick her up. We chatted all through the way. She even got me to stop at Sunder Nagar and we had the most awesome chaat. Then we landed at the house ……, and she burst into inconsolable tears.
OH MY GOD!!!! She beat the most accomplished actresses at the demonstration of grief. Here I was guiltily licking imli chutney off my fingers while watching her performance … quite over-awed! And then it dawned on me that she actually set off others crying too. Gosh!
I have seen it time and again. People – mostly of the female variety carry within them deep pools of grief …. and this they use to mourn at others’ losses. No one is actually mourning the departure of the person himself. Every one gathers together and then weeps for their own losses, their own sorrows. I am sure it is cathartic and extremely good therapy.
First women gather around the bereaved wife/mother/sister/daughter and wail. It would seem that they are inconsolable. Then they slowly move away and start exchanging news : who died where, how much did he leave, what was the daughter in law doing, so and so’s son cleared his exam and is now earning xxxx amount of money. It is amazing – this carnival of life.
Men come in looking serious. They sit with the bereaved men of the house solemn …. for about 10 minutes. Then they gather outside and discuss stuff – beginning with what they were doing when they got the news, speculate about who is going to fill the dead person’s shoes and then they start discussing shares and politics.
A good friend calls it the “On stage look and behavior and Off stage look and behavior”.
Glad to know that I am not the only one who has this modern day need to be brutally honest and tactless.