Achan’s first death anniversary

Soman uncle brings two ladies to recite verses from the ‘Bhagavatham’ today. An Indian classic of spiritual teaching derived from Vedic wisdom. As they start the reciting, Amma, Asha and I visit Achan’s grave and light some incense sticks. Soon our relatives and neighbours start arriving and we greet them.

We sit around and catch up on all the news since the last time we met them. I get the usual comments from my elderly relatives. Comments about my appearance, hair etc etc. I’m quite used to all this now but still at one point had to give out a muted scream. Well not quite silent, but not too loud as today was not an occasion where one could make such noises. At one point one of the aunts even compared me to their grandmothers, which I’m not sure whether to take as an insult or a compliment. Anyway if it makes them happy let them carry on. I’d rather be slim, hale and healthy and take the abuse than be fat and sickly.

After lunch most of the relatives leave. We take this opportunity to ask Soman uncle about the ‘Bhagavatham’ and what the ladies are reciting. He explains atma jnanam or self realisation and how to attain it in simple language. Being that better person, to get to that stage where nothing fazes you, losses do not matter, as if all this is part of life, the good, the bad and you take it all in your stride and carry on regardless. He explains that a good death is when you die at a point when you have achieved what you want and is satisfied in life. Or this is what I’ve understood from the conversation.

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