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DEATH BECOMES ME

Here I lie, all in white. A few wailing relatives and friends and some quiet and curious onlookers crowding around me. I feel like an exhibit in a gallery and dislike this feeling. How did I end up here? Why did I decide to die? Or was it murder?

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit uneasy and decided to skip dinner. But at midnight the growling in my stomach woke me up from a disturbed sleep. I wandered into the kitchen to see if I could find anything to eat. The refrigerator was stocked with leftovers from dinner and a few containers from lunch too. I had eaten chapatis with Aloo methi, which tasted a bit strange. I guess now I know why. But to be fair, others had eaten the same thing and are still alive and kicking. Did I choke on a semi cooked piece of potato? The post-mortem will clear things up. All I know is that had I not ventured into the kitchen in the night, I would be alive today.

Let me introduce myself, my name is Paro. I am 63 years old, or was, till yesterday. The house that I lived in was my late husband’s. My only son and his family, consisting of his wife and three kids, resided with us. I love my family, and my grand-kids are my solace.

The tall man in white kurta pajamas, sobbing inconsolably, is my son, Mahesh. Standing next to him is his wife, my daughter in law, Malti. Their children, two daughters and a son, are holding onto their parents and crying. They are all crying. Mahesh was an extremely caring son and doted on me, his tears are making my soul bleed. My daughter-in-law’s eyes are red, lack of sleep or has she shed a few tears for me? She didn’t really hate me but wasn’t hopelessly devoted to me either.

She performed the duties of an ideal daughter-in-law ever since she came into my house. There was civility in our relationship only the warmth was missing. Who am I to complain? I was equally responsible for the absence of emotional bonding between us. She was never good enough for my son and I never showered her with unconditional love. In fact, my love was extremely conditional. As long as she listened to me, cooked the meals, managed the house well, I was happy. But did I show her my appreciation? No, I don’t think I did. Forgive me my dear, I thought I had more time. Now I only have regrets.

Mr Mishra is also here. He is our next-door neighbor. When my husband, Prem, was alive, Mr Mishra used to come to our house very often for tea and snacks. Prem didn’t have many friends And Mr Mishra had somehow taken a liking to Prem and become an important part of his life.

Mishra had a peculiar habit of stumbling while walking and grasping anything or anyone nearby to right himself. Under the pretext of holding on to me from falling he had on a few occasions accidentally groped me. I hoped it was unintentional, but a woman knows. Prem, bless his soul, had no clue and I wasn’t about to say anything to spoil his friendship with the only person who gave him the time of the day. Old habits die hard and Mishra lived up to his lecherous behavior and nature till the end. While paying his last respects to me his hand accidentally brushed against my thigh. I guess he thought since I was being consigned to the flames he might as well get a last  feel. You are on my list, Mishra.

My friends from the temple are here too. Kamala, Maya, Bina and Sudha. I like what Kamala is wearing, she’s always appropriately dressed for all occasion. Kamala hails from an affluent family in Bikaner. I suspect her relatives are the famous BikanerWalas. Her white kurta and churidar looks crisp and the chicken work is excellent. Maya is like me, a lost case. Her orange or saffron suit is glaringly out of place but she’s oblivious to the looks of people around her. Maybe that is why I got along well with her because we both were like peas in a pod.

Bina and Sudha are merging into the background as usual. The dull brown and grey coloured outfits aren’t doing much for them. Instead it’s making them look pale and insignificant, like always. I have not heard them voice an opinion, or stand up for something they believed in, in the thirty odd years I have known them. They have always been accepting, accommodating, agreeing, nodding and merging. Going with the flow and not creating ripples in still waters. I must educate them on acceptable attire and social norms later tonight.

Why am I being so harsh and mean towards those who have come to pay their last respects to me? Maybe that’s why I am dead, ungrateful me. Irrespective of what or who caused my untimely demise, a plan is forming in my head. I know who will have an unannounced visitor in their home tonight. There is so much to do and all the time in the world to do it all in. My knee feels as good as new. I feel great. Death becomes me 🙂

Sulekha Rawat

 

This story is based on another wonderful writing prompt from Pinterest. Check out  the Writers Nook board for more pins on writing.

A Funeral from a dead person’s point of view 

 

14 thoughts on “DEATH BECOMES ME

  1. What beautiful descriptions, Sulekha! It was like I was almost there, watching Paro take her last breath.

    Very well written.

    1. Ma’am, I had stopped writing for almost a year and am still struggling to get back to it. You are my mentor and idol, your comment means the world to me. I remember your encouraging words when I was hesitant to conduct the creative writing classes for children at Kochi 🙂 Thank you for everything. I am thrilled to read your comment on my blog.

  2. This made for a very interesting read, Sulekha. Loved the way the story visually unfolded before me through your words. Great story telling this is and a fab take on the prompt!!

  3. Excellent read, Sulekha. I loved your narration. This is a different perspective. Paro has all the time to teach lessons to whoever she wants. I liked that painless knee point. Bliss.

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