Today while doing the usual rounds of one of my favorite blogging portals I came across a discussion titled “Have your planned out your funeral?” Damn, why the hell should I? I am just 25 and if I mention that to my mother she will scream so loud that it will cause the next tsunami in Bay of Bengal. Even then I read through the discussion where it seemed people had made elaborate plans about their funerals. Some have even decided the exact song to be played and the right brand of wine to be served. Some wanted a party to be hosted where the theme would be Gothic. I felt obliged to respond as I could not stand so much creativity without contributing my own. I posted : “I would like to be entombed in a cryonics capsule till I rise again” You are free to form you own ideas by analyzing my state of mind and labeling me crazy or psycho or A***H***.
Not all were weirdos on this discussion. One 22 year old girl sagely stated that she wanted to be buried and wanted a plant planted over her so that the space does not go waste and she serves manure to the plant. How touching! I felt like getting down on my knees and saying “Oh Angel. Make my life. Be my wife.” Sorry that was a short term nervous break down. So this is what the westerners plan for their post mortal days. But being an Indian I have to think about the repercussions of such action during my mortal days. I assure you such plans will not go down as naively as you plan.
Now consider the girl (above angel whom I fantasize to have proposed) to have been an Indian. Let’s say she became a doctor and then married a surgeon, had 3 kids and finally died peacefully at the age of 79. Oops I just narrated a life in one sentence. Yeah now back to the story. After she dies her family mourn her and then finally lay her for the eternal rest. Honoring her noble wish they plant a Neem sapling over her grave so that she can manure it for some time. So simple story and yet so touching. There is a tear bead forming in the left corner of my right eye.
the tree on the grave
Hey I am yet to build the climax. Let’s go 6 years ahead in time after Neem tree was planted on our protagonist. ……….. Now there are red flags and ornate hangings on the tree that has grown huge, thanks to the manure. People who pass by fold their hands and bow their heads. Old ladies form far off villages come seeking cure for their incurable diseases (because they can’t pay for it). The tree is now considered locally to be the ultimate asylum for childless couples. Maniram, the greengrocer, claims with confidence that the Neem leaves taste sweet to those who believe in the Divine Lady. In case you do not know Neem leaves actually taste bitter. Some can swear in the name of the Spaghetti Monster that they have seen or heard the divine presence on the full-moon nights. Mothers now tie small twigs of the great plant to their daughters wrists as that will shield them from dangers unknown. They are now planning to construct a temple next to the tree as the local priest, who was largely jobless, received a divine message during his alcohol induced slumber.
We are back to current time. All that I narrated above is not pure imagination. It does inculcate some aspects of Indian society, its beliefs and its colors. But I would still like to hear from you if you would like to be remembered this way after death. Feel free to comment.
I have started a new project called the Indic Dictionary. This will cover popular household words in India and what they are called in various languages. Eventually, I will make this an easy to use app where where people can easily find something like “hing in English” or “Tea Tree Oil in Hindi” or “carrom seeds in Urdu”.