October 6, 2014

Death, Absence and Loss…

Death has always baffled me. I have seen it glorified too much in romantic and war movies and stories. And in order to understand it better, I have even started reading “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” (though I have yet to cross the first chapter).

And since I don’t understand it properly (the religious side of me being overshadowed by my naïve yet practical side), my encounter with death has been mild. A few colleagues with whom I worked studied and together before, have died and there is more of a feeling of absence than loss. A few distant relatives have also died, but there are lesser sorrows, maybe because of less bonding.

But the drowning of one of my students three days ago has left a huge gap to be filled. I go to his class an hour every morning, day in and day out. I had advised him on more than an occasion when he tended to stray off the well-trodden path. On top of it, he sat at a vantage corner in the classroom, and was known to all his mates in his class level.

This morning as I enter his classroom, I am greeted by a silent class. Some teary-eyed boys and girls look at me with hollow cheeks. His desk mate can’t even raise his face look at me, as I go over to him and pat his back. They have lost a friend, I a good student. Any disparity that might exist in this classroom is thrown out of the window, as we unite as one. Our thoughts are one. We are one. We are united by a common thought. We miss him. As the minutes drag on, we are all lost in our own thoughts about him. No one talks. No one even whispers a thing, but we know. We are all thinking of him, honoring a fallen friend.

The hour is well spent in silence.
[Butter lamps to assist the departed soul]

And tomorrow….tomorrow we bid farewell to his body as well. We cremate him at Tamshing Duethroe.