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The last ceremony of mourning for my father-in-law was held in our house yesterday.  Relatives had been pouring in from everywhere for days.  When I had finally got my four kids ready, and myself too, I couldn't believe my eyes when I came out of my room.  I don't think that there were too many faces missing from either side of the clan, my father-in-law's side and mother-in-law's side too.  A trainload arrived in the morning and  a trainload departed in the evening as well.  There were cousins from all over north India.  We are a family rooted in Uttar Pradesh and we were joined by family members from Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and even far away Shillong in Meghalaya.

The ceremony took place in the house.  There were a lot of priests in and there was a fire ceremony with a lot of chanting.  Quite similar to my marriage ceremony, but with a different aim.  People came in from the neighbourhood and all over the city to remember my father-in-law.  Although he retired over twenty three years ago, people from the government department where he worked came too.  We fed hundreds of people at lunch and dinner as well.  All the children in the family helped with the serving as the help we had hired was far beyond the scope of the work that was required. 

It is nice to think that our Papaji was so well loved by so many people.  The fact that so many in the family took the time and trouble to come so far for one day is proof  of that.  One of the high points of the day was my eighty one year old mother-in-law's elder sister arriving with her husband to console her younger sister.

Only a few relatives are left now; the crowd has gone.  The house feels empty without Papaji.  He had a large presence.  I have to console my husband and mother-in-law now.  I hope I'll be able to do it....


  1. I really love the Rituals in Indian Community !! Everything is so managed...

  2. Slowly things will get back to normal. Your just being there will be a comfort to them.

  3. You are doing an admirable job. This too shall pass.

  4. Just love them and take a little time for yourself so you don't fall over in emotional exhaustion. That won't be much help to others. :)

  5. Firstly, so sorry for your loss. As I tell several people who have unfortunately met the end of the road for a beloved relative: Do not be sad that they have died, be happy that they lived and that you had the chance to be part of it ...

    Secondly, I am fascinated to read about the traditions of other cultures, especially of those as far away (to me) as the Middle East and India. It is amazing that so many people come from so far to celebrate the life and death of a loved one. It is then that you can truly see how many lives were touched by your Papaji. I am sure he was watching and was thrilled to see his friends all in one place celebrating their lives in his absence. (Sorry, that is my belief, it may not be yours.) Again, I am sorry for the loss.

  6. "I have to console my husband and mother-in-law now. I hope I'll be able to do it...."

    I worry about you getting the support you need to handle all that other people, and you yourself, expect of you. One can give, give, give for a while but sooner or later we have to replenish the source. Bless you!

  7. That last comment was by me. I accidentally pushed a button too fast.

  8. I'm so very sorry to hear about what you and your family have gone through, my sincere condolences to you all.

    Apologies to you, to M'dear for not being around very much; we've been very busy with family too but not in the same sad way that you have.

    All good wishes to you and yours.

  9. I think you are very well able to! Be strong, but don't forget your feeling either...

  10. I think you are doing a fine job Gaelikaa, Don't forget some 'you' time.

  11. I'm not sure how well I'd be able to cope with that many people around--and for nearly a fortnight! I commend you being able to do it with such grace. But I suppose it will have to be faced approximately one year from now for the final release from mourning. Hubby's family will be performing that ceremony for his elder brother who died March of last year.

  12. Bharat - yes, you are right.

    Ellen - Thanks

    Bhaiyyaji - It's great to have your support.

    Lacey - Lovely to hear from you!

    Armyblond - It's been a while - thanks for your support.

    Jean - Ever wise, I'll keep your words in mind...

    Christine - Thank you. Good to hear from you again.

    ...daisy... - I'll do that! Thanks

    Marie - Thanks, I'm taking that to heart....

    Alice - You are right, the anniversary might be the same or similar!

  13. I'm sure you will be a great comfort to your mother-in-law. She's lucky to have you xx

  14. Ayak - that's a lovely thing to say - I don't know if SHE would agree, but it is still a lovely thing to say.....

  15. Ayak - that's a lovely thing to say - I don't know if SHE would agree, but it is still a lovely thing to say.....


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