Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hark....the death knells

Behind the crazily crowded street that leads to my office is a cemetery. I've never seen it but every once in a while,I come across a small procession of men making their way to the burial ground, carrying on their shoulders,the mortal remains of a loved one. I dare not to imagine their emotions as horns blare, urging them to move on, move quicker and make way for traffic when all they want is perhaps to take it slow, to make the last few minutes with somebody last just a little longer? That people will be sensitive to their loss.

Everytime I see them, I tell myself that I can afford to wait another five minutes to get to the office. Because I have memories of a sunny November afternoon when I was part of the procession of vehicles making its way through the streets of Old Bhopal to the cemetery allotted to Christians. We doubted if the ambulance would make its way through the last stretch- a narrow crowded alleyway lined with houses on either side. For a few minutes, the little children in the area forsook their favourite playground (the road), all business and talk was forgotten. And as we slowly moved ahead, I have a hazy memory of some of them even throwing open the gates of the cemetery to let the ambulance in. I am grateful for that moment, for the symbolic gesture of kindness for a person in pain.

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