In the Hindu way of life we don’t have tombstones or epitaphs. Our bodies are cremated and the next morning the ashes are immersed in the nearest waterbody and that will meet the sea and we return to nothing–exactly where we came from.
On the tenth day or thirteenth day, the priest writes out a piece of paper–a kind of death record–it states the day a person dies according to the Indian calendar which does not have fixed days. The days are calculated according to the lunar cycle and it is the bright fortnight–Shukla Paksha after the New Moon (waxing phase) or dark fortnight after the Full Moon, Krishna Paksha (waning phase).
In all our ceremonies–birth, confirmation, wedding, pujas and death the lineage of the person involved is always cited going back to three generations. I suppose it is the people in living memory who are remembered. So I am the daughter, the grand daughter and great grand daughter of somebody. But once I am married my place is in the kierarchy of my husband’s lineage. When I die my husband’s great grandmother will be taken off the list and said to have passed on from the Pitr lok (ancestor’s world) to merge with the eternal concept of bliss. The other two before me, my mother-in-law and hers will move up one place and with my name, my son will cite us three women in all ceremonies.
Going back to the tenth day or thirteenth day after my death, the family priest will read out my ‘story’. This will be a quick recap of who I was, whose daughter, wife and mother and what I did with my life! This may be called an epitaph. Needless to say it will be a totally whitewashed story as it will be material given by husband/son/daughter.who are not going to wash dirty linen in public, I suppose….or at least hope!
Left to me it would read
‘Woman of many activities! Master of none. She had many a finger in lots of pies and never really cooked them ‘done’!”
Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad,Delirious, Gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Paul, Maria the Silver Fox, Rummuser , Will Knott, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get different flavours of the same topic.