Wednesday, April 29, 2009

67. Hypocrisy on death

The intense expression of grief that we see after the death of someone can be quite misleading. The relatives who did their level best to torment the person during his lifetime behave as if they are totally shattered. Their eyes get swollen with too much crying. Those who failed to find anything praise-worthy in the person during his life-time suddenly discover scores of qualities in him. Death turns the devil into the angel.

I have seen many who start with wailing and end with telling jokes. I have also seen people laughing and joking just before someone arrives to offer condolences. They suddenly turn so sad that the visitor is easily driven to tears. Their dexterity in switching from laughter to cry and cry to laughter is amazing.

Public exhibition of sorrow is almost a tradition with a large section of the society. Close ones are expected to shed tears on the death of someone. Even if they feel like laughing, they have to cry. Visitors come prepared to comfort them and do not like to go back disappointed. If near and dear ones do not cry aloud, it is taken as a sure sign that they did not love the departed. If they appear relaxed, it is taken as a clear indication that they are relieved at the death. May be, they are happy to have inherited some property or got rid of someone who was a constant pain in the neck. Everybody is expected to look sad and say only good words about the departed whether deserved or not.

While the dead may be turning in his grave, all others are quite comfortable with what they are saying or doing. Death of someone is no occasion to be truthful about him. This is the time when hypocrisy is on full display.


Aviral said...

the not so subtle humour is quite a relief after all those melancholic pieces!

Indrani said...

hmmm... some strong words there.

sujata said...

that's a bit biased, life does not stop at death, and to grieve is not always to cry..

Rajesh said...

Indeed the truth

Saadia said...

I, too, have experienced such behaviour. Such hypocrisy. It is almost as if they are duty-bound to act shattered. Totally pisses me off.

I experienced one such happening last year. A daughter-in-law - not in love with the deceased - kept "gasping for breath" throughout funeral proceedings. The next day, she was at the lawyer's to discuss her husband's inheritance.

Sai Charan said...

Dear Onkarji,

Not many people come forward to choose topics such as these and yes, you have managed to highlight almost all the points concerned with the topic.

Well, a corpse, specially a human corpse always demands sympathy. Yes, it hardly takes a few minutes for even a passerby to stop and show sympathy.

So for family, friends and relatives - exposing grief becomes effortless; so it doesn’t matter if they are happy inside, they can easily shell out false tears.

Aparna said...

Sometimes grief is so intense that it can not be expressed in words. Most people in this country feel wailing aloud is the way to express sorrow. That is very unfortunate. But I also feel that just because you share a light moment with somebody does not mean that you are not grieving.

nituscorner said...

i couldn't agree with u any better.....have seen this much too often.