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Monday, 4 March 2013

Condolence: I am Sorry!

In Tenerife, there is a festival at the end of the carnival called Sardina during which burial of sardine takes place. There is a huge procession of men dressed as weeping widows. Women cover their heads with traditional black lace veil. The mourning atmosphere is created with wailing, beating of chest and some pretending to faint and this is all in a game, a mock kind of humor, a tourist attraction.

But, I am surprised at the people who pretend to cry to gain sympathy in real life. There are those who cry just to show off. They don’t feel the pain but feel the need to be part of the group.

Losing a close member of the family is painful only to the immediate family but expressing the pain openly depends on the demography of the person. I don’t wish to be judgmental, but I have noticed that people who live in smaller cities are very loud. We watch the elite wear dark glasses to hide the tears, you see the common people cry openly, head nodding, mouth open, not caring about how they look.

I cannot stop staring at the people who cry so openly with loud wailing sounds, grabbing the person sitting next to them, hugging them tightly, dropping on their shoulder and wetting other people with their own tears. I am too embarrassed to bring myself close to the weeping person; moreover I am afraid of losing my balance with their sudden grip. During funeral, I always sit at a safe distance, away from the crowd.

I remember Mom mention about the custom in Pakistan, (where she spent her childhood before partition), that people had to hire weeping women to cry during funerals to help people who don’t feel like crying. Wailing and expressing sorrow was considered as the sign of respect.

Tears are the personal property to be shed in privacy. I never cry openly at materialistic loss, at farewells, or at the funerals. I don’t feel like it and I don’t like to pretend. Does that mean that I am insensitive?

Death is something that no one can control, it comes to everyone, only once in a lifetime. Where do people go after they die? For whom do we cry? Do we cry for the soul that has left or are we weeping for their loved ones who are left behind without their support?

I am not even sure about the grief shared by people who attend the condolence and prayer meetings. The sentiments are not present; it has just become a head count, to see and to be seen. Many of such meetings that I have attended recently are like fashion parade, an occasion to wear diamonds and white branded suit with matching white bag and shoes.

There is too much crowd for twelve days with people visiting at all odd hours. You don’t actually get time to mourn. Actual mourning takes place, when you start clearing their personal belonging; the clothes, the personal wallet, the empty side of the bed, when you get the death certificate in your hand, when you realize that the person is coming no more.

The heart begins to bleed, the sentiments dig into raw wounds when you begin to understand that you are left on your own and have to move on. The grief arrives and it never ends its stay, ever.

The tears that fall henceforth are the silent tears.


  1. Interesting thoughts.. I wouldn't say though that loud crying is restricted to the villages.. I have seen a lot of it in the cities as well, heck in my own family too. The genuineness is always a question though - for some it is a sympathy gaining means and for others I guess it is their way of coping with losses they cannot fathom.For some relief comes from a silent tear shed in the privacy of their bedroom and for others its in the aftermath of wailing.

    1. so very true...every one has their own way to express,
      Thank u for ur feedback :)

  2. Truly said... all this crying and mourning for 12 days is cathartic only to the onlookers. The real loss kicks in only after the formalities (which itself in my opinion are totally unnecessary) are complete. And personally, I do cry, but HATE crowds and crying in their presence.

    I recently lost my grandmom. My grandfather (who is 95) and was married to her for 69 years before she died, is grieving only now. His grief is very subdued. Very sad to watch. Everyday, a few times, when he thinks no one is looking, he picks up my grandmom's pic and quietly sighs, keeps it back. That's all. It says a 100 things though.

    1. quite sad and difficult to cope if lived for so many years together, can imagine his pain. :((


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