He sat quietly watching the flames consume the lifeless body. He helped collect the ashes and bones along with few other men.
His usual gregarious and jovial self quietened by the solemn moment in front of his eyes.
What was once filled with life, with blood rushing through its veins now being burned to ashes that’ll be offered to the river to be carried away to the mighty Bay of Bengal hopefully.
He who has seen many deaths and brutality in his life finds the preparation of the funeral pyre most humbling. Its a reminder that we are all destined to die one day and our bodies will be laid on a pyre. Its a reminder to him that this place is where he too will be reduced to the elements. He jokes to the others to put lots of kerosene and dry wood when its his turn and they retort not to worry for the fat ones burn quickly. The thin ones take time. It makes them laugh for a while.
He knows that the men who work at the ‘burning ghat’ will linger till the fire is finally out and the body reduced to ashes. The men share a drink as they wait. Their status alleviated in his eyes as he acknowledges their importance in this ritual. The ashes will be put inside an urn and handed to the immediate family so that the ritual may be completed.
He smiles at the frivolity of the occasional ignorance of our mortality and wonders if others can see the questions in his eyes.
He returns home to find his family waiting for him so that they can have dinner together and call it a night. He is back to his usual jovial demeanour and plays with his children.
As the evening passes, his mind still wanders to the wonders of our existence. His heart still replaying the events of the last few days.