Death and Life at a Funeral
March 31, 2009
This was going to be my first Hindu Funeral. So I was kinda excited and looking forward to it! I was also going to meet my old buddies from uni.
“Hey do you think we should take pictures? We could use them to like get a reward or sumthing if someone happens to be a suicide bomber.”
I clenched my jaw, trying to hide the bitterness in my stomach. Somethings never change.
Siva’s father had died yesterday after three years staying at the hospital. His sister is still studying for an HNDE, and his mum retired. He has become the man of the house. And generally a more sensible human being.
I gave my hand. And he hugged me back.
“He was a technical officer,” Siva said as I paid my respects. “He was very proud that I became an engineer. It was the only thing he kept saying for the last few months.”
Siva’s family was originally from Vavuniya. They’re now residing in Wellawatte, in a small apartment; Siva, mum, sister, gandpa and grandma. Apparently he has no privacy. Can’t even watch porn and jerk off, he says, with a chuckle. But the twinkle in his earnest eyes tells me that he’s content with the way things are.
“You’re a buddhist, right?” he asks me. “Do you believe in life after death?”
“Not really,” I reply. “I think that there was Nothing before birth, and there will be Nothing after death.”
“You’re still the pessimist I see,” Siva laughs.
The ceremony started, and for the next 30 minutes Siva cried. He wore a white traditional sarong and nothing on top. While the priest was sitting in a corner and babbling some voodoo stuff with king coconuts and colourful herbs surrounding him, the disciple guided Siva, mum and sister to do what they had to. The body was sprinkled with blessed water several times over as the chanting got louder.
Even if it was ridiculous, at least they knew what they were doing.
I later learned that his father’s brother was not allowed to come to Colombo, and was stopped at the Madawachchiywa checkpoint. It seems they had all the documents (National ID included) but the police were “not sure”.