Sep 3, 2006

funeral rites

Was steeped to the neck in hindu funeral rites. I found the underlying logic in the elaborate rituals intriguing. For example, in one ritual everything is done in the reverse and it is followed diligently. If you usually go from right to left, in this you go from left to right. If you usually serve food one way, in this you do it the other way. Then there is a million little strict rules on how the 'darbai' has to be held, how it has to be swiped in the ghee so many times, how the food has to be cooked etc. Very complicated, sophisticated and intricate. It must have been embellished over the generations.

I also observed how everyone has a role to play. When the man dies, needless to say in the patriarchal society its the son who is important. But other stakeholders like the daughters, the wife's brothers, the deceased's brothers and cousins all have a role, I noticed with surprise. Its to safeguard the property no doubt, I thought cynically. And that includes the women.

September 03, 2006