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.
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