"And that is the garden where I used to 'water' the plants with the Bournvita Milk you'd force me to drink", I confessed to my mother, only without any contrition or guilt, as we sat watching old, cracking pictures of my childhood. "You threw all that milk away to the plants? What was your explanation?", my mother asked in a half-reproachful and half- mirthful tone. " Well, I was only offering milk to plant-devata". She laughed and teasingly said, "That's why you couldn't grow beyond
It is funny how things that we once considered grave seem funny, even absurd, as time passes. All those "heinous crimes" of beating the neighbor's son up or changing a 19 to 99 on the report cards, things once unspeakable, now become amusing anecdotes at family-gatherings. Not only are we not sorry for them but also proud, sometimes, of flaunting our extra-curricular credits.
It makes me wonder whether, someday we will also laugh at all the “real crises” that we go through in life. Maybe when we’re really old we will not just have forgiven and forgotten but will also be able to smile, if not laugh, at all those grey pages of our autobiographies. “Hey Sid, old buddy, did you finally find out that marrying my wife was a mistake!”
Extrapolating my hypothesis to an outrageously out-of-limits level, what if after we die , we actually realize how foolish we had been to have felt the things we felt and done the things we did? The way we smile at ourselves when we wake up from a bad dream. “It was only a dream, silly”.
As I lay beside my mum, musing on these good-for-nothing thoughts, a funny (some might even find it morbid) picture came to my mind. It goes like this.
All my friends, relatives and enemies that have died before me are watching my “movie” from the heavens. “ Hehehe.. look at her weeping over her dead cat”. They laugh. “I always thought the old woman was a tad too sentimental”, says my dead cat, licking her paws. “Stop licking your paws. They aren’t anymore”, someone reminds her. “Sorry, old habits die hard”, says my dead cat.
My imagination needs hardly a push to transcend all the limits of space, time and rationality. So the scene becomes crazier. Divorced couples are meeting each other jovially. “ Can’t believe we said those things to each other! Why, you don’t even have an ass now, asshole!!” (winks). Victims are nonchalantly chatting with the perpetrators. “Oh is that you Bill? What was it that you poisoned my porridge with? Tasted like nose-gum!”.To which Bill retorts, “ Well,that was nose-gum, old man. The poison, i believe, was tasteless."
Some souls, just freed from their bodies, are still recovering from the out-of-body shock. “Am I a man or a woman?”. Then there are some shunting furiously from one astral dimension to another. “I’m gonna sue the bloody bastard. Promised me of Jannat and pretty women. Heck! You can hardly tell a man from a woman here. Where is this godforsaken jannat ?”. Needless to say this was a fidayeen terrorist.
Then a couple of intellectuals are still doing some math. “Look! In my 16543rd life I was a snake and you a frog so I ate you. Then in my next life you were a snake and I a frog so you ate me. Then in my 668954th birth I was the thief who stole your diamond and in my next life you were the priest who eloped with my daughter. Thereafter I took birth as your son and tampered with your will and then you became the stock-broker who swindled me of my money. So doesn’t that settle our Karma??”
I could have gone on had my mum not interrupted me. “What are you smiling insanely at, looking at the ceiling??
“Nothing, just that it’s a mad, mad world…”