Thursday, June 30, 2016

Types of people at funerals

Disclaimer: i understand that the topic may seem distasteful to some, but it is in no way intended to hurt or belittle anyone in any manner. I write this with anger and sadness having seen and experienced several such people myself.

We Mourn our loved ones during a funeral. We grieve, we take time to adjust ourselves to reality, we take in the emptiness and express our eternal love.
During this heart wrenching time, we find comfort and peace amongst some amazing family members and close friends.
BUT there are some individuals whose presence at such a solemn function i can never understand. Their behavior tends to disrupt, dishearten and cause intense despair to those in pain. I've segregated them into 8 misery inducing groups, read on:

1) The Storyteller

These are the kind of people who come riding into the house with a ton of stories about the deceased person and his/her relatives. It ranges from the lines of "I remember when i plucked a mango from that tree outside and gave it to him" and "oh she used to love playing in that tiny pond in the next field" and "He told me i was his favorite! I was his best friend! We did everything together" ok now you take a break and let me tell you a story, the relatives of your deceased friend would much appreciate your silent but hands on presence. Help out, comfort and most importantly, be quiet. Your stories not only disturb everyone around you, it evokes way too many memories that really doesn't help anyone at the time.

2) The Town crier

It really irks me when some distant relation (I'm talking brother's uncle's cousin's sister's father in laws sister's daughter) bursts into the funeral setting and starts wailing away to kingdom come. Beating her bosom, falling all over the grieving relatives, rolling all over the floor, throwing themselves at the body and just causing a right nonsensical scene while everyone just stares uncomfortably. In some cases, I've seen these people turn normal to greet someone and then go right back to the oscar performance. I don't even think they realize the mental agony they cause the close relatives of the deceased.
In such cases, the best thing to do is to escort the character to a room in the farthest corner and let them calm the heck down.

3) The Blackmailer

These are probably the worst kind of people alive. They are the ones who totally disfigure the memory of the deceased individual and use it to rake up a set of emotional blackmail sentences and throw it at the relatives (most often at the children). "It was your mother's dearest wish for you to give her a grandchild before she died", "your father wished for you to take over his business rather than follow your passion", "oh if only you had married the proposal i brought just like your mother wished" i mean what the! Don't these people with clay for brains even understand what they are saying? It's like the relay between brain and mouth that governs what to say when has shut down permanently; because if you can go to a funeral and make lives even more miserable, you certainly don't qualify to be called fully functional! In such cases, they should be taken to the same corner room and asked to zip it or leave.

4) The Chatterbox

And then there is that person who keeps chattering on the phone,  giving live updates about the funeral and everything that's happening around. "Yes the pandit just came in...he is sitting down...he has started the pooja...aunty so and so just walked in...she is wailing...yes she is wearing make up..." i mean seriously? You happen to be at a funeral person-with-cellphone not at a sports show, the least you can do is show some respect. And person-on-the-line, if you don't have the care or concern to attend the function, then steer clear of even asking about it. Walk up to this phone happy character and ask him/her to shut off the phone and behave with respect.

5) The Black hole 

This individual is a walking human black hole. It's amazing how they can suck even the smallest ray of hope and positivity into their dark, dank self and mutate it to form horrendous negative statements that cling onto the pysche for a long time to come!
"Oh my god...i don't know how you guys are going to survive", "such things happen when you're too happy about life", "has he left you any money to tide you over?", "i knew this would happen! I told him not to drink so much!"
Sometimes i feel like going up to such people and asking them if they have an itch they cannot reach. Why else would they do this at such a horrible time in someone's life? So here's a joke for you..."knock knock", "who's there", "shut up and keep your opinions to yourself"

6) The Socializer

I have seen this happen at so many funerals. I feel such pain for the relatives who have lost a precious part of their lives and amidst all the grief, there are those who treat it as an opportunity to have a reunion! "Ah hallo! Long time no see!" "How's your son? How's your daughter", "are they married? No? Don't worry i have the perfect boy for her! See that handsome young man sitting in the corner? What a catch!" Oh dear lord stop! There is a death in the family and you treat it like the theme for a high school renuion or a F.R.I.E.N.D.S season 11? Get out of that house and go sit in a cafe coffee day or something.

7) The Goody two shoes

This person is the exact opposite of the black hole. It is not bad to be nice but sweet to the point of not giving any personal space to grieve is suffocating! Your presence is welcome initially because you do all the right things. You offer strength and support, you lend a helping hand and you're always with those who need you. After a point however, you lose your sense of personal space and excessive sweetness does nothing but make the situation totally diabetic in nature. Those who grieve need time alone to get in touch with reality. These saccharine characters try to force feed the mourning happiness and that just does not work. Calling them out for dinners and get togethers ( after a few days) or lets say calling them non stop...after a point, becomes a pain. So back up a little. Be your sweet self but give a little room to heal as well.

8) The Complaint box

I end with the second worst people on the list; those who attend funerals to complain. "Just look at the tacky flowers he ordered", "such a second rate coffin", "honestly, she could have given him a better burial", "I'm so thirsty! They didn't bother keeping some water handy", "i can't even believe they booked that church". Excuse me? Who made you queen/ king of the world?
Instead of trying to console the grieving, they sit around and ridicule everything in sight and what's worse, they even say horrid things about the deceased! Oh wow! I have once overheard (not difficult at all since they had all the grace of two foghorns) two ladies next to me say "yeah he was never a good man...his wife hated him...seems he had an affair..." seriously? Seriously? Why don't you just head on back home, switch on some serials and get up to date with some drama and gossip there?

The next time you see someone that fits the above mentioned categories at a funeral, let them know that their behavior is not appreciated in the least. I have done it a couple of times and despite angry, unbelieving stares, the message gets across.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

(THIS) Brown girl can't jump!



Yesterday i told my mum i was getting into aerobics to get fit. She almost peed herself laughing. She's not being mean in the least let me tell you, because this brown girl aka me, cannot jump, hop, skip, run, walk, crawl and every other form of movement to save my own life! Supposing you were kidnapped and held at gunpoint and all i had to do to save you free was to run for 5...no...2 minutes; well then it's bye bye see you in heaven!
See, my mother in her heyday was a super athlete and she generously passed on her athletic genes to my brother and sister while i didn't manage to get even a portion of that gene. Not even enough to help me win a bobbing for apples contest!
I'm not complaining of course! I love the generous helping of creative genes, it's that once... just once i want to run a 100 mtr race without fainting at the finish line! Yes...I've done that!

If you thought picking people last for teams only happened in movies, think again! I was almost always picked last for any sport! Come art and craft tournaments everyone wants a piece of my creative gene. When replaced by volleyball or basketball, i resembled a nasty bramble bush that was about to get stuck on some team's butt.
I've had many a sporting disaster all through school. Lord! Where do i even begin?

Let's start with Tennis coaching! Brand new Yonex racket, super cool tennis outfits, absolutely spiffy shoes and zero clue about what to do! That's what every evening of Tennis coaching was like for me! In my mind, i conjured up this idea that i was supposed to hit the ball as hard as i could out of the court, that was the only way i could win! And every single time i would hit it so hard it flew over the court and onto the road! I was secretly called the "Smash girl"! Once a meanie senior actually came and said "congratulations! Nice shot!" And i beamed big time and replied my thanks all puffed up with pride. I was glowing when i told my dad this. "And i hit it all the way to that car parked there daddy" idiot me said. My dad looked at me incredulously and shook his head. Needless to say, Tennis coaching was done with forever.

And oh my god the time i played circket during a club match! If i warned them once, i warned them a thousand times i say! Don't make me a fielder i told them. Don't make me bat i told them. Don't make me bowl i told them. Despite my repetitive warnings and pleas to let me become a water girl, they made me play all three posts! Of course i ducked out and bowled several wides. I thought i had lucked out during fielding. I chose an extremely odd spot and sat down with absolutely no worries about having to catch the ball. The spot i chose was just way out of line and no crazy batter was strong enough to hit it this far. And wouldn't you know it...a dumb 10 year old smashed the ball into orbit! I saw it come pelting toward me from afar. My team mates were yelling "catch it! Catch it!" So i did this funny half run half gallop with my arms stretched wide enough to catch a watermelon. I kept running...the ball was not falling into my hands. It was when i noticed people gawping at me that i realized that the ball had dropped about half a metre or so behind me and i like the great superwoman that i am kept running with my arms stretched out. No, they didn't let me forget it for the longest time and yes, i was made the permanent water girl.

But i think the worst experience I've had with sports is when i was forced to try my hand at short put. Ok let me put it out there for everyone to know; not everyone who is big made can throw a short put. Which brings me to a commonly known fact; i am big made and quite often mistaken to have super human short put strength. So this one gym teacher at my new school was determimed as hell to make me a champ. He marched me onto the field and asked me to pick up the short put. Man! Fot a short put, it was a real long haul! It took me ages to pick up the ball (which i did with two clumsy hands). "Warming up" i heard the ever positive unicorn gym teacher whisper to the other students. Mustering up all the "strength" i had i threw that sucker into the air...and... (i heard the assistant teacher yelling NEXT at the same time) it landed at my feet. I looked up ashed faced and saw another ashen face staring back at me. The gym teacher had stopped sprinkling positive glitter everywhere. We have not seen face to face since.

Waaay too many memories surface now...the time i rode the cycle and puked with exertion, the time i climed a hill and came rolling down even faster, the time i played badminton and had muscle spams for a week, the time i was paddling in the shallow end of the pool, slipped and swallowed a good load of pee water at the public pool...good times...

Nowadays when anyone asks me to move around and get some exercise...i trudge to the fridge, get a snack, crawl over to my library, get a book, roll into a cozy bean bag and proclaim myself sportsperson of the day!

Friday, February 5, 2016

"Wanderer above the sea of fog"- inspired by the painting

Art has always held a special place in my heart. Expressive paintings capture my imagination in the blink of an eye. I can sit for hours trying to interpret the thought behind the brush strokes. Honestly, i was never a fan of landscape paintings but "Wanderer above the sea of fog" by Caspar David Friedrich was one to treasure. It is the inspiration behind this poem. I've retained the name as it lends its special charm to my work.


He could feel the mountain
Rumble beneath his feet
He raised up his eyes
And the sun they did meet

His coat flapped in the chill
Winds with a mind of their own
They made love to the trees
He heard them moan

White softness filled the ground below
Emptying out the golden sun
Filling in with glee
A little darkness, a little fun

His mind roamed disturbed
To his wife and child
To whom he'd entoned
"I shall see you in a while"

A white hole much like black
Called up to him with magical malice
He looked into the whiteness
And saw only silence

It's stillness made his heart hum
So many emotions ran amuck
His chest heaved in want
He longed to leap like a majestic buck

The hand around his walking stick tightened
His body tried talking sense
His mind, an entity all it's own
Coaxed him to dance in the fog so dense

Eyes now shut
He craved a decision
Move back and into life
Or move forward and live as part of this vision

Black mountain tips
Like exotic fingers beckon
The man on the mountain
A wanderer he reckons

Wander he must, to wander he wants
Life had plans, he was forced to move on
His world in black and white
And he was but a mere pawn

Set me free
To the whiteness he begged
Make me alive
And inched forward his legs

A change of heart
His wife and child in its chamber
He retreated backward quietly
Distancing him from delicious danger

All of a sudden his world stood clear
His humming heart rose to a roar
Throwing aside his stick and coat
The eagle inside him soared

He ran toward the precipice
He ran forward with all he could give
He spread his wings
And dived into the whiteness to live

The whiteness accepted him
And they became one
Then together they floated over everything
His journey had finally begun

Friday, January 22, 2016

Smile?

How banal they seem
The pictures on the wall
Snatches of time
Perfectly framed large to small

Look, there blossoms a smile
And a laugh that's seemingly true
Jealous eyes and meaningful tongues exclaim
"So happy they look, those two!"

Ha! Fooled you we did
With our well practiced charade
Our smiles and hugs and laughter
Hides the darkness that never seems to fade

He is a wife beater
She, a vicious gossip
He has many a mistress
Her disease for now a cut on her lip

He has a weakness for children
No not the right kind
She knows and still behaves
Conveniently blind

He craves her sister
She craves his cousin
He tortures his children
While she starves them thin

He plans to kill her
And she plans the same
Who knows which hunter will succeed
In this pulsating sinister game

He feels like a wash out
And wants to end his life
She adds poison to his tea
Tired of being his wife

So much darkness and yet
The smiles never falter
Throws poison pixie dust into the air
And make believe follows after

These smiles you see
They throw green grit in your eye
But little do you know
Behind each smile hides a little lie