at his funeral



The story describes the incidents that happened in a funeral. It questions the existence of humanity in morden busy world.

Once a woman asked a sage, is there a way to judge someone, where does he go, say hell or heaven in his afterlife. The sage replied, "watch the people in his funeral, if they are talking good about him, he goes to heaven. Otherwise, hell".

So, a righteous man goes to heaven while the sinner is punished in hell. But I always wonder, after a man is dead, his body is either buried or cremated in earth, his soul is anyway invisible, unaffected and uninfluenced. If body and soul cannot feel pain or pleasure, then what is the significance of hell or heaven in afterlife?

Alright! If whatever the sage said is true, then I am worried about my dearest friend Balu. As soon as I got the news that evening, I rushed along with my friends to his home hoping that it should be a false news. But it wasn't. "His body is taken for autopsy and funeral is tomorrow morning", an oldman near his home confirmed the news. Balu, Twenty nine years old tall lean fair gentleman who is a doctor by profession, killed himself.

There was no one in Balu's home. His bedroom was sealed after police enquiry. I know Balu since my pre-school, so as all my friends who was there with me at that time. One of them, his name is Raj, said, "Though post-morteum is by tomorrow morning, let's go to hospital, wait outside the mortuary and be with him until his funeral is over. Afterall, this is the last respect we could pay him, Balu is no more".

Everyone agreed and on our way to Government hospital, one guy said he is very sad and need liquor courage. These days in our society, whatever happens, good or bad, alcohol seems to be inevitable. Alcohol is a multiplier, if you drink when you are happy, you would become happier. Rather, if you drink when you are sad, it makes you sadder. So, I never drink when I am sad or for temporary escape from my problems. Except me everyone ordered their drink. "This is for Balu", everyone raised their glass and finished round 5.

When alcohol mixes with blood, most men shows who they really are. The same guy who talked about paying last respect said, "what are we going to do in the hospital this night, other than wait. Let's go home and come back early tomorrow before his body arrives his home". Next morning nobody turned up, but one guy, only one guy bothered to call me and said he is tired and sleepy and asked me to call him when everything is ready for funeral.

I stood there alone thinking about Balu and our past conversations. Balu's parents were also doctors. Couple of years ago, they were killed in an accident and after that Balu was upset, lost focus in his profession and not interested in higher studies or life. No sibblings, man with asset value of 2 million was struggling the pain of loneliness.

In between I got a call from Raj's mom. "What happened? Why did he do that?", she expressed her condolence.

"I don't know Aunty", I said.

"Did he hanged himself?", she asked.

"No Aunty. He had poison of some sort. He picked absolutely pain-free method. Who knows about the mechanics of body better than a doctor. He was dead in his bed room left unnoticed for 2 days until the milk man suspected something wrong inside", I said.

"Nice boy! Last month he helped us with 50k for free of interest. Actually, I wanted to be there but uncle is not here, busy day at work, we are already running short of staffs, Raj would be there in few minutes", said the busy business lady and hanged up the call.

I tried to cheer up Balu multiple times with inspirational quotes and advice but every time he snubbed me with classic reply, "it's easy to advice but tough to follow".

Then our school teacher called me with the same question and similar expression. The excuse she told for not attending his funeral was, everyone in the school is busy because high school examination is going on.

Balu was a state rank holder. His record score in high school will remain unbeaten atleast for next 15 years. These teachers do not have time to say final bye-bye to their student who made them proud and popular once.

Before I receive any other calls of fake condolence, his body was brought in a old ambulance and kept in-front of his home for public homage. What public? There were only 14 men including me.

His body was turned into pale blue. In few minutes, he was taken to crematoruim. No flowers, no garlands, someone brought a cactus flower from somewhere in that graveyard and put on his body before cremation. Yes, thats how we respected Balu in his final rituals.

None of our friends attended his funeral. Nobody, not even a single person was sad for him but everyone speculated a reason for his suicide. Someone said it's because of love failure, another man said he got failed in entrance exam for his higher education, yet another man said he got AIDS.

When everything was over, Raj called me and asked that question again, "why did he do that?".

"Because we are busy Raj. We all are busy. We didn't had time for him. If we had had the mercy to spare little time, which costs nothing for us but priceless for him, we would have cured his ill of loneliness and retained him back in earth. Let us all be busy; May his soul rest in peace", I hanged the call.

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