I like the way people in Madras deal with the loss of a loved one. As against the common norm of burying oneself in sorrow and gloom, they believe in giving the departed soul a grand send off.
The first time I landed here in ’99, I was pretty aghast on seeing the scenes – of drum rolls, dancing, dappaankoothu and the merry amidst a couple of grieving inconsolable members of the family. On one such occasion, I went up and asked one of them this obvious query that was lingering in my mind for time immemorial, “Why celebrate death??“. And that’s when someone said that this was their way of showing gratitude for the departed soul – by celebrating their life and appreciating their time spent amidst family & friends.
And this sounded more like the memorial services of the west where they make sure, you celebrate the life, that was. Awesome, isn’t it?
PS: Last post from Madras & India. Next stop: Lisbon, Portugal.