This evening I was standing outside the wall of a friend’s house, listening to the mournful strains of a traditional funeral chant. His father’s body lay frozen in a glass casket as an air of emptiness filled the hearts of all those who loved him so dearly. The rich odour of burning incense filled the air and bouquets and wreaths decorated his body.
We will not hear the high pitched, resonant voice of Manikunjettan anymore, holding articles in raised arms, selling them in auction on a Mission Sunday in the front veranda of the church. He was the official auctioneer of the church.
I have also seen him holding the hands of his granddaughters and sons and walking along with them on the Lisieux Road. Those clenched hands today hold the crucifix. In the chill of death, his children have lost the warm embrace of their father who held them close and make them hear the ‘tick’ of his heart that beat for them.
The song echoed the dead man’s voice of bidding the last goodbye to the piece of earth that he held so dear to his heart, the people he loved and treasured as his own, the walls he leaned, the chairs and cots that gave him rest.
He lived just three houses away from where I lived. I have seen him for many years…even in the feeblest memories of my childhood. Today he has become just a memory.
Death ends life, only memory remains but not for long. Do you want your memory to be long, for many generations…..you have a huge task to do. Some memories die fast, some memories remain forever. Bye.