Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A white pillow and a wooden cross...

The coffin was closed. The jasmine garland decorating it had already started to wilt. I caressed the small wooden cross.

The family burial chamber was a very very old type. The top, slanting slab was still intact. There was a trap door at the front. The coffin was pushed in through it and placed on an iron grid just below the ground level.

The trap door would be sealed. The bodily remains would drop down through the grid....join the mortal remains of those gone before her.

Till the trap door was opened again...and someone, his breath reeking with alcohol....his senses dull, would be sent in through the trap door. He would clean up the iron grid hastily and
keep it ready for the next person..

Then we all would go again. Singing hymns, some weeping, some numb, some just on looking and man watching...

Some with beautiful memories..some with not so good ones.. some curious..some just out of duty, wondering when it would all be over and they could go on with their precious lives..

The trap door was still open.

I could see the coffin placed on the cleaned up iron grid.

It was closed....Silent. The flowers had already started to wilt...

A soft white pillow daintily trimmed with white lace was placed on top of it.

It had been removed so that the lid could be closed.

People had started to leave....Some silent, lost in their own thoughts... Some talking to one other softly...Some laughing and chattering as they saw long lost friends and relatives.

Only we, the family remained. Each one lost in the last goodbye, the last prayers

The coffin was silent..but soft white pillow daintily trimmed with lace whispered to me...

'Even I was removed.'

I caressed the small wooden cross again...

It had also been removed from her hands at the last moment....’Becaus the Cross is never buried’ They told me as they handed it over to my hands.

I looked at it...

My mom in law had handed over...I had taken over.

Who would take it over from my hands? I wondered curiously.