Monday, May 24, 2010

Room of the dead

It's not yet fourteen days
After her death
The closure ceremonies
Still some way away
The light has been kept on
In my mother's room
As in the hall
Verandah and backyard
The elders tell me
To keep the spirit away
The house overflows with relatives
The elderly ones have made it a point to come
Knowing this may be their last
And their best chance to say goodbye
To those they may not see again
I am unable to sleep
A hubbub of voices in the head
The segandi and the conch still going on
I cannot look that way
Without a shiver
The mattress has been put away
The cot out of sight
Circles made by medicine bottles
Are still seen on the sill
Can a room be emptied of
A person who is dead
Like a pocket
I suddenly hear her admonishing voice
"Take your meals on time!"
I get up and shut the door

5 comments:

P. Venugopal said...

sometimes a feeling floods me no one is dead, no one will die. we are the manifestations in time of something that is timeless...i have felt that way about my father, with whom i had a silently deep relation. i feel that way about some of the people who speak to me from the past...we can hear them if we listen...

Prabhakar said...

Venu, I've read R.K. Narayan's account of his paranormal meeting with his dead wife through a medium. I've no personal experience of such phenomena. I hope there is no life after death.

P. Venugopal said...

is it important to know whether there is life after death? i too have had no personal experience of meeting with the dead. i was speaking about a sense of immortality of Being that comes flooding into me at moments when i am totally awake, with nothing clouding the mind.

then we understand we are the manifestation in time and space of a Consciousness that is beyond time and space. the dead have played their part and gone, but the Consciousness is the same in us that had dwelved in them. we breathe the same air that they had breathed, Buddha, Jesus, everyone.

when i reach this point, i see my father sitting before me smoking a beedi and smiling to himself. he had this queer way of diving into his own reveries and smiling to himself; he will not say anything even after he had come out of it. he will just shake his head and smile.

Prabhakar said...

I understand. Writer Sujatha has said his father used to tell him "we are repeating the same life" --- when he encountered the same problems as his father. If we had that awareness of the same consciousness we would be more sympathetic to one another. The feeling of separateness -- the serpent's counsel --- was what drove us from the Garden of Eden. The wrong turn JK speaks of. Good discussion. Over to you.

P. Venugopal said...

the wrong turn had happened from the beginning of time, yes, with the serpent's lure. that is where the difficulty is. we have to go a long way back to get back on the right road once again.

i have noticed howsoever much we try to reform, it is a surface level affair, a mechanical application of cosmetics. 'trying to reform' has to stop for the process of going back to the state of pure being to begin. struggle has to be replaced with just dispassionate watching, watching ourselves with total disinterest, as though we don't exist.

then we see the complications in our personality at the subconscious level and, perhaps, still deeper levels--complications that had spread into our very genes. some of us get fleeting glimpses of the Truth at rare moments of clarity that come to us uninvited. but the clouds flow in immediately to cover the sunlit peak once again.