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What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say the word funeral? People in mourning, prayer meetings and an overall morose environment. This is what funerals are usually all about, naturally of course.
Recently, I had a rather different experience of a funeral. It was perhaps an eye opener for me, an experience that taught me a lot. It taught me a lot about people, relationships and the gravity and importance of long lasting friendships.
Why was the event an eye opener?
Prayer meetings are considered ritually customary in a typical Indian funeral. It is a time when people gather in mourning and remember the person who has passed away in a manner of tradition.
However, the man I’m talking about here, wanted otherwise. Before he went, he told his children, that he always wants to be celebrated and remembered by people, positively. He wanted to be remembered as a happy person, someone who gave immense joy to people.
He wanted to be thought of, in a way that brought a smile to the faces of his near and dear ones. And that is exactly how the family remembered him.
The man of the hour, was someone who lived life to the fullest. He was vibrant and vivacious and exuded humour. So in order to celebrate him, his family did something unusual.
Unusual, but bold.
They threw him a party.
A party to remember his happy life.
Why was I moved by the event?
Before entering the party hall, I asked my father a question. I asked him, what I should do when I enter. Should I smile, or should I simply greet everyone I meet.
He was as perplexed as I was. However, the moment we entered, it was all smiles. And that was beautiful.
There was no hesitation on anyone’s part when it came to smiling. Additionally, the very atmosphere of the place was positive. I was positively surprised to see that the dress code too wasn’t a deterrent to the overall spirit of joy.
With round tables dotting the scene, waiters in uniform serving drinks and food, a massive buffet of scrumptious dishes on display for us to gorge on with near and distant chatter, it was indeed, a party.
As his children, grandchildren and long time buddies came forward and spoke about him, so brilliantly, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. As we drank wine, ate the food that he loved (Chicken Tikka and Kebabs) and chatted away, remembering what a gem he was, I felt overwhelmed.
Conversations weren’t in hush-hush tones and morose glances were far from being exchanged. The gathering was buzzing with quirks, laughter, immersed in an aura of reminiscence.
As I walked around the room with a drink in my hand, talking and reintroducing myself to people I had met years ago, I realised something. While we had all gathered together in order to pay our respects to the man, we all picked up from where we had left off.
Somehow, his portrait that was placed at the front of the room, emanated a vibe of pragmatism which caught on to all of us. The party ended with the entire family circled around the portrait, posing for a happy family picture.
After all, they were all together, even if it wasn’t for a happy event. That is what mattered.
My concluding thoughts
It was my first time experiencing something like this. Apart from being surreal, it was something that really resonated with me. It brought about a change in perspective, so to say.
It made me understand how important it is to put a positive spin on things that make you sad. It also made me realise how strong people can be.
When I came in, I was torn between my emotions. But as I sat there, digging my spoon into a bowl of moong daal halva, I thought to myself, this is how I want to be remembered.
Image Source: Google Images
Find the blogger at @janhaviiisharma
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