Conversation veered towards mortality at lunch yesterday as one amongst our tribe raised the subject of ‘pind-daan’, the visitation to Gaya by offspring whose parents have ceased to be.
These have now assumed the characteristics of a package tour, with travel, hotel, meals and a complete itinerary included. What is not included in the package is the amount one pays to the priest who serves as the conduit between you and the Almighty as you pray for the souls of your dearly departed.
That amount is arbitrary, and almost entirely dependent on how much you can be coerced to spend to ensure a divine resting place for your forebears.
Also arbitrary is the length of the puja. This can range from thirty minutes to an eight-hour sitting with the priest. A couple of ‘C’ notes ensure that the prayer is kept to the minimum without in any way compromising on its intensity!
My children were all ears and very much avid participants in this conversation. They decided that while a fifteen minute puja would amply suffice for their ‘cool’ dad, they would invest no less than sixteen hours for me!
The reason proffered for this blatant discrimination twixt self and spouse lies apparently in the difference between our natures. A little over 24 hours ago I was informed that I was no ‘cool’ mom!
For example, they fear that if they don’t lay the table correctly or hang a picture askew on the wall, I could posthumously be propelled to set to rights their incorrigible wrongs by revisiting earth and doing it myself. Much as they love me, (they hastened to assure me) this would bring shivers down their spines! To that end, therefore, they intend to make doubly sure that I R.I.P.!