He lay there with his eyes closed. A fly came and sat on the wound near his left eyebrow. Someone quickly waved their hand over his motionless, lifeless, expressionless face and covered it with a transparent white ‘dupatta’ probably rummaged from one of the cupboards at home in a state of hurry and bursting emotions to add to the dead body’s paraphernalia. Exhausted by continuous crying and hiccups, lost eyes and minds wandered to their private thoughts. Seconds and even minutes passed by until someone new entered the tents and hugged the daughters, wife, nieces sitting near the sleeping man and made them cry again. A new round of fresh tears laden with emotions and memories trickled down many cheeks. A drop of tear kissed my lips and startled me. I realised it wasnt mine. Someone had hugged me and murmured some words of condolence. The embrace I was oblivious of left a tear with me, on my face, touching my dry lips.
Time had come to a stop like a train that reaches its desired stop and seemed to have enclosed us in its shell. The wait grew longer.We sat in the shell, surrendering our strengths to the reigns of time. We sat around the charpoy as if astounded by the sudden appearance of a unicorn.
Night fell and so did our voices and sobs awaiting few last visitors for the dead. He laid there, frozen in time and we sat there, stood there, did whatever we could to escape confines of seconds and minutes and hours.
It was a long, long period of waiting where we with beating hearts and he with death awake acted according to our roles. Then one last roar of grief and pain escaped into the air pregnant with melancholy and life and death parted ways.
People die. life ends. we being humans forget. In the hustle and bustle of life, lost in the pleasures and pains of it, we somehow, forget about our romance with death until it knocks on our doors or that of our neighbours or relatives…