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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3 thoughts on “Moving On: my Mother’s Shraddh(last rites)”
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Mother’s love is so powerful that it leaves it’s own charm. It’ll protect you forever. Her DNA marks her presence in you. Prayers and regards.
Mother’s love no one can replace. You are more blessed to have a kind and beautiful mother.