My aunt’s funeral was my first family funeral.
It was a sad event. It was also a learning experience.
The day of the funeral, all the women went to the hospital to dress the body. They then bought my aunt’s body to her house in Andheri. My aunt was my mum’s sister, who incidentally married my dad’s brother. So relations on both sides were present. Once the body arrived, things got underway.
First there were the photographs. A note about my mum’s side of the family, they are the world’s most loveable drama queens. And all six of them love to out do each other. They were all obviously sad and crying, but I couldn’t help but note that when the camera came out, they began to cry even harder, and make the most grotesque faces you have ever seen.
Why in the world does anyone take pictures at a funeral? I mean I can’t imagine sitting around one day, taking out the album and saying remember the day when Aunty passed away, let’s have a look at all the crying faces…
Then they started the prayers, followed by hymns. And the five brothers and sisters would sing loudly, each trying to sing a little louder than the other, and every time someone new would enter, their voice would falter and they would start bawling. At first I felt sorry for them, but then I began to wonder the odds of them crying with absolute emotion every time some one new entered…..
When it was time to go to the church, I was told that we would walk to the church which was about five minutes away behind the hearse carrying the body. So holding onto my mum we started walking, and then I hear a strange noise at the back of us. I turn round and there is a five piece funeral band, bellowing out the saddest music you have ever heard, and as we walk, it is as if the world around us has stopped, and we have entered into a strange movie.
At the grave site, I got massacred by the flies. When they were ready to lower the body into the ground, the family was requested to kiss the body for the last time. Now I have to let you know, that I did not want to kiss the body and had avoided any direct contact with the body all day. So I reached down touched my hand on the forehand and kissed my hand. I thought I got away with it, till I felt my mother push my head down, and my dad push my back down, till I kissed the forehead, which was cold as ice. Let it be known that I was forcibly made to kiss a dead body and I am now scarred for life.
As they lowered the casket into the ground, I just couldn’t believe she was gone.
What struck me for the rest of the trip, was how life doesn’t miss a beat once you’re gone, things just move forward on and on.