Friday, 9 July 2010

The first and last ride to the grave

It is a journey we all need to make but with no plans to prepare.

In our place the graveyard is a small plot of land in the north east, with an enclosure recently made of a compound wall and gate, all the previous permanent monuments have been demolished.

When there is a death in the family, word is sent through and the grave diggers come to the grieved family to get some money to booze and then start work, either to dig a grave or get firewood to cremate.

The family gets the rituals started, with the conch blowers, and the preparations to make the deceased body seem a divinity with the exit of the divine life.

The relatives arrive with garlands and share a hug or a warm shoulder expressing concern and sadness.

Relatives and friends take on the preparations for the final journey. For some it is just a quick disposal, for most it is a send off for a life well lived, some even make it a celebration with music and crackers.

Rituals are followed to show the closeness of the family and expressions of togetherness at such times of a loss.

The vehicle for the last journey arrives, the deceased body is bedecked with all the flowers and personal belongings and the last ride begins.

It is a fast paced walk with the push cart that is the vehicle in our place, pulled by the crematorium folks.

The flowers are sprinkled all along the path and most of the villagers stand out and may be, have a few kind thoughts of the person who has passed away.

The graveyard is reached and more rituals follow, till the deceased is lowered and the earth covered .

The money matters are all settled at the yard for all those who took part in the duties.

All return home, and all that remains is a memory.

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