Moving On: my Mother’s Shraddh(last rites)

Mother’s Day Thoughts...

“Moving On: my Mother’s Shraddh(last rites)”

It rained heavily all last night, yet I woke up at five
to bathe, adorn myself in a sari - red and white:
for the thirteenth day rituals by the Ganges ghat -
recreate Ma’s mortal form for rituals of the Shraddh.

Sarbamangala ghat near Kashi Mitra crematorium,
in the heart of Kolkata in Bagbazar, was isolated -
it’s lowest rungs submerged in the nightlong surge:
The priest’s family asleep in the temple’s premises.

In the porch our pundit set stage with candle, incense, aasans;
on banana leaves - raw rice, black sesame, peeled bananas;
a perforated mud bed to bring her cremated form alive -
so as tomorrow, to give Mother a farewell to the next life.

I’d shopped for the Shraddh, not missing a thing in the list -
she would need to transit through time and space, till rebirth:
including a mattress with pillow, bed sheets, mosquito net;
two umbrellas, several saris, shoes; fruits and vegetables.

At the Shraddh from eight to five I repeated after the priest -
with sincerity, a dedication to ensure Mother’s soul’s release
from this life - undeterred by my poor Sanskrit pronunciation:
for it I’d even bartered - two cows, silver and gold tokens.

On our birthdays, Ma, always insisted on traditional rituals,
wore her saffron bordered Gorod sari in spiritual elevation -
hand fed us payesh, out of a silver plate-spoon-glass set,
blessing with pradip, mala,chandan, dhan-dubbo in god’s grace.

I’ve dressed with self discipline she inculcated - in saffron;
embroidered trees, giraffes - on a ghee backdrop as witness:
draping the sari just as in my youth she first demonstrated -
to ensure sari, shawl aren't impediments to agility in movement.

Every mantra I uttered after the pundit towards Ma’s photo-face,
seeking her blessings in upholding all her principled teachings:
After Geeta-path I set out to immerse the pind modelling her form -
at Subhas Sarovar, vowed to sustain her unconventional traditions.

Last rites are conducted in honour, a farewell to the departed soul,
yet in effect are for emotional closure for those they leave behind -
so I’ve done my spiritual duties to both my parents to satisfaction
to move on with their happy memories and liberate myself lifelong.


#movingon #spiritual #mother #lastrites #rituals #death #life #traditions #culture #inspirational #motivational #saree #culture #bengali #kolkata #mothersday #memory #tribute

On my birthday, a few years back…
Ma’s 80th birthday, 8th Sept 2020.
(Born on 8.9.1940)

3 thoughts on “Moving On: my Mother’s Shraddh(last rites)

  1. Mother’s love is so powerful that it leaves it’s own charm. It’ll protect you forever. Her DNA marks her presence in you. Prayers and regards.

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