Thursday, December 16, 2010

After death, now what?

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This idea popped up in one of the random conversations that happen over a day. 
"What happens after death?"
Now, now, I'm not going to get into ghosts and spirits and souls and stuff. Lets get more mundane. What do people do to the body after death? And what do you want to be done to yours? My host wanted his body cremated in Varanasi and strewn in streets there since he loved India so much. His wife wanted to be buried just outside their house overlooking the hills. Her reason was that she can have the same view forever that she enjoyed every day while drinking tea. 

Frankly, both creep me out. I don't want to be thrown as ashes in a place where no one knows me and I know no one, even if I loved that place. I love Kodaikanal and some of my happiest memories are there. But I know no one there and no one knows me. However much I love those places, I don't want my ashes on Coaker's walk or at the Devil's kitchen or Berijam Lake. And, I don't want to be buried anywhere because it would be damn uncomfortable to let the body be. Hollywood movies have greatly contributed to my imagination of what happens to the body after it is buried. The maggots feast on them, the worms hit the body and so on and so forth. Ugh! No way am I subjecting mine to that state. 

Guess, that leaves only cremation. The old style of "from ashes to ashes and from dust to dust". However, you have no physical way to remember someone. Once they go to ashes and dust, that is it. Pictures and memories fade and there is nothing tangible. If someone wants to grieve and express it, then there is no way it can be done. I remember my granny's death some five years ago. That was the first death I've seen in close family and was in denial for almost a year. I think having a place where I can go and think about her (some place other than home) would have helped me come to terms with it quicker. The 12 day grieving process that Indian customs have is sometimes not enough since the mind is in shock. Now, that one of my grand dads is dead and I haven't even grieved properly, I'm not sure how things would be if I went back home and saw his chair, house and everything related to him. His house where I went for holidays and special occasions would never be the same. I can't imagine him not being around chasing us for all the pranks that we did.

So, I'm torn between the choices. Maybe be cremated and have the ashes buried in some place nice? Yeah! That seems like the best option. But what if seeing it, my loved ones grieve more? Uh! Then its the worst option. Guess I'll stick to cremation, nice and simple. And have my ashes thrown into Kaveri! 
What do you want to do after death?

3 comments:

ரமணன்... said...

I wanna be a Tim Thomas (Ofkorz after death) :)

ரமணன்... said...

I wanna be a Tim Thomas (Ofkorz after death) :)

alpine path said...

@Ramanan, very good choice! You can be The Tank of TN till then :P