As you burnt


kal khel mein

hum hon na hon

gardish mein taare rahenge sada..


I watched your funeral pyre burn. In the middle of those long logs of wood lay your body, now dead for several days. I cursed myself for misreading the time for your cremation and arriving 15 minutes late. My life has become so hectic that I mix up the timings for different events. But here, nothing was hectic. In total silence you burned. The flames reached for the sky, while about fifty people stood silent and still, paying their last homage to you. Among them, I thought, must be your ageing parents, watching their dead son’s last journey. Among them I saw your younger brother, the resemblance striking enough to make me sure it is him, Sameer. The same twinkle in the eye, the same softness and charm on the face. Among them was also a young woman who sat in a corner, with an elder woman. She wore dark glasses that hid what seemed to be a fair, pretty face. She watched silently, her hand held firmly by her companion. As I wondered who she is, Karan whispered in my ear – “that is the girl he talked about marrying”.

The fire carried your last remains into the atmosphere. You became the air we breathed, the sky we stood below, the water we would wipe our faces with afterwards. Your soul moved away, to another abode, more suitable for the manifestation of your energetic, animated disposition, than your dead body. After about twenty minutes, the silence was broken. The caretaker of the cremation ground advised us all to leave now, as the pyre would take a long time to fully burn. We all walked out, but the girl in dark glasses sat on, calmly.

A woman said that she had heard someone else say, “He was talking on the phone as he crossed the road. He didn’t see the car come.” “So the phone killed him,” the other added. Perhaps I was wrong, but I felt a disdain for this kind of conversation, bordering on gossip. Perhaps it was the deep hole in my soul that your death had reminded me of, which aloofly refused to participate in this conversation.

As I walked out of the cremation ground, someone offered me a lift back to South Delhi. Our car moved through the awfully crowded lanes of West Delhi, and I looked on silently at the swamps, the humongous crowds of scooters, the half-constructed houses, the congested colonies, and wondered how much better South Delhi is. As the awfulness of city life impressed itself upon me, I imagined you on your bike, travelling from here to Noida – a good 30 km if not more, every day for work. “Can I meditate while waiting in a traffic jam?”, you had once asked me, your meditation teacher. I had immediately responded with a firm “no”, wondering how you could have even imagined doing that. Meditation is far more serious business. I would still say no, but I couldn’t help being struck by how hard your daily commute must have been.

I fondly remembered one evening at the meditation centre. Pradeep, who has always had a moustache, came fully shaved and you, always clean shaven, came with a thick moustache. We all couldn’t help but laugh at the strange coincidence. “He has borrowed mine for some time,” Pradeep quipped.

All of 30 years, you are no more now. In your death you make me question my life. How many people’s lives were different because you lived? Certainly, the girl in the dark glasses was one of them. Are there others? I don’t know. What was the meaning of your existence, Navneet? What is the meaning of my existence? Where do you go now? What was the value of the goals you so strongly went after – to coach people, to mentor them towards greater success? And what of the deep commitment you had for the girl in the dark glasses? The love, the tenderness that you two must have shared?

It physically pained me to see her look at your body go down in ashes and go up in fumes. I imagined how she would have felt when they put you on the pyre. I couldn’t. There’s only pain inside. What for? Where to? What is the value of all that we do, Navneet? In your departure, your final departure, you have left me burning with these questions.



ye mera geet

jeevan sangeet

kal bhi koi dohraayega

jag ko hasaane behrupiya

roop badal phir aayega.. 


rahenge yahin

apne nishaan

iske siva

jaana kahaan.. 



~ by tdcatss on September 28, 2013.

6 Responses to “As you burnt”

  1. questions you are burning with is striking, for me though these questions are not what is bothering me, but the feeling that i might not have time to do things that i want to do, i don’t want to wait any longer for them, things that i wish for, yearn for. I want to make this time as much as i have… more meaningful with all my might, but again i have my idiosyncratic limitations they block me but i want to break free…

  2. karan, this is not to belittle your feelings, but just to share mine.

    i think your thoughts represent a more active response to death, while in my questions i look for a more contemplative response.

    i would ask you – why do you want to do all those things? won’t they all disappear into the air one day? they have no relevance in the ultimate scheme of things. their relevance is only in the hearts of yourself and those who you want to do them for/with. in a hundred years, nobody will remember them.

    yalom’s answer to death is ethical, rather than metaphysical. he is concerned with ‘what should i do?’ rather than ‘what is true?’. that’s the active rather than contemplative answer. he more or less ignores the metaphysical question, beyond a few statements about his atheism. i think the question ‘what should i do’ must be grounded in the answer to the far deeper question ‘what is true?’. if it is answered without reference to this much more fundamental question, it is perhaps misguided.

    • hmm.. i guess i get what you mean. yalom is atheist, but then he also mentions that he could not also find direct meaning of life, but leaving yalom, it’s just response coming naturally of me may be his writing influenced me a little in this, but i guess it’s my myth (jungian perspective here) and i am just using it for some purpose, what’s your myth by which you are living??

  3. what do you mean by myth?

    • hmm… try to search how Jung defined myth… we can discuss it while we meet next… here’s a write by him “a person should follow his instinct and embrace
      myth: for reason shows him nothing but the dark
      pit into which he is descending. Myth, however,
      can conjure up other images for him, helpful and
      enriching pictures of life in the land of the dead.” –
      Carl Gustav Jung

    • hmm… try to search how Jung defined myth… we can discuss it while we meet next… here’s a write by him “a person should follow his instinct and embrace
      myth: for reason shows him nothing but the dark
      pit into which he is descending. Myth, however,
      can conjure up other images for him, helpful and
      enriching pictures of life in the land of the dead.” –
      Carl Gustav Jung

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: