Saturday, January 21, 2012

Experiencing Grief

Recently my uncle passed away at my native town of Trichy.  As soon as the news reached me, my wife and I got into the action mode.  We called other relations, arranged for rituals, transportation etc.  As we drove from Chennai, I was wondering if I am an emotionless task master.

A little later, grief enveloped me like a breeze and I cried.  The sight of the dead body, his personal items and favorite food triggered the grief over the next couple of days and I didn't hold back by grief.  There is a sense of satisfaction every time I experienced it.  When people do not know what it is to experience, they talk.  I was harsh on cousin who kept talking at the time of grieving.  Grief is as normal as breathing and not experiencing it would amount to suffocation.

An important factor in Indian cultures is the presence of rituals and music that force people to grieve.  Oppari (Rudaali) and other rituals (where visitors remind the deeds of the departed) are supposed to let the emotion out.  Due to various conditioning, people tend to skip the experience.  A friend who considers himself a very rational, held back on the death of his mother.  A year later, when he visited a nearby temple, his defense broke and he let himself cry.

Life throws us a lot of situations where emotions like grief strike us.  There is no escape.  Except at occasions like death where rituals let you experience the emotion, we skip it.  Trust me - experiencing is like breathing and so - to experience is to live.

1 comment:

Kishore said...

Sir, I bumped on to your old blog post while looking up something & it was just so coincidental that I read another similar article earlier today from a site that I subscribe to regularly and could n't resist posting it here..