What happens to you when you look at a person you know, reduced to being ‘the body’ in just a matter of minutes? As soon as their last breath leaves them they become just that.

A couple of weeks ago, I recorded yet another monologue while driving, about why we surround ourselves with people when all the toughest journeys we have to go on by ourselves. A few people heard it, but I did’nt upload it…though it was twenty minutes of my absolute truth it was a bit harsh even for my ears, my brand of truth is the bitterest kind.

As I sat in front of the man in the metal case, wrapped in white cloth, I was reminded of that monologue. My father’s elder brother succumbed to death today, after fighting a long drawn battle with cancer. We had just returned from the hospital, when my dad got the news. From a man who weeps while watching films, one would expect some emotions. But he had the same look as he did when his parents and his son passed away. Not a tear just a frown. The brothers had the same kind of relationship most eldest and middle born siblings share, love, awe and competitiveness. Lots of fighting and making up and endless hours of conversations. Of course like in the case of his son, he didn’t want to be in the room where his brother lay.

In Kashmir they pray for the departed incessantly. In Delhi I don’t understand why we do what we do? Women walk in wailing like rudalis, from a few minutes of conversation regarding the departed, from questioning to gossip, it goes everywhere, while the family members try to make sense of their mind numbing pain. After the body is cremated, an outsider, a dharam guru prays for your beloved instead of you.

What do you think happens to people when they die? Not where do they go, like how can anyone know that for sure. But between the time they are here and in another realm is there a transition period or is it just an on off switch, like one minute you’re here and another somewhere else? During my brother’s death I instinctively felt like the soul is there for a bit, like there is a transition period.

Do you ever look at that person and wonder what he may be feeling floating around, looking down at all of us? What he may have wanted in his last moments? I’m perpetually plagued by the thought of how lonely that moment must be to suddenly look down at everyone, no one sees you, no one hears you and you’re so afraid. Afraid of where you’re going, afraid that they’ll all forget you, afraid that in the end nothing really matters. And in the end, that’s all we are going to be, just the body in the room and nothing else matters.