Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Waking from the Dead

The smart phone thrust inside the breast pocket of my shirt ruffled me when its ring tone- music, together with the accompanying vibration woke me from the dead .Usually I stuff the phone in the pocket of my trouser, lest the electromagnetic radiation interfered with the smooth functioning of the heart and enhanced the chances if any of its naughty petulance. Frankly I was not worried about the radiation messing up with other functional organs. Well I could not recall what, if it was not the alleged malevolence of radiation that eventually interfered and annoyed the heart and put me down -dead. That is a different story which needs to be probed separately and is not in context here.

Well then, as I mentioned, the smart phone rang and that startled me and also interrupted the eulogy one bloke was engaging in with little restraint. Though I managed to maintain the perfect cadavers pose, folks standing around were attracted to the origin of the ring tone as it always does when the surly ring of mobile phones defiles and irritates, intruding into many places and occasions where it has no bloody business to be . “I see trees of green........ red roses too ; I see em bloom..... for me and for you ; and I think to myself.... what a wonderful world……”  Louis Armstrong’s immortal masculine voice played on through the Smart phone. I wondered if the irony of the song was missed.

 I must have been dead for quite a few hours, I guess less than a day or there about and I noticed that folks who promised me to consign my cadaver to the medical school forgot about the matter. Else I had no business to be laying there a silent, mute spectator in torpor clubbed by the ennui of the eulogies’. I ought to have been by then lying spread-eagle on some dissection table, rib cage sawed open, entrails left out, surrounded by curious youthful faces and a sophisticated professor- all equally amazed how the fellow’s liver stayed intact after years of tangoing with spirits.

Coming back to the interrupted eulogy, I was certain that these pleasant hearted souls would not want to speak ill about the deceased and that must be the sole provocation for this pretty long but certainly boring ritual of lavishing encomiums on the dead . I surveyed the scene from a distance and saw some of the elders annoyed at the sudden and irreverent (sic) intrusion of the Smart phone. I was laying recumbent, supine- decked with a few flowers and a couple of wreaths – laurel wreaths (!) (Sic).

Now, since I have been dead for long, how do I account for the time I spent from the moment of dying till now? I have not been to a nether world; I did not see paradise or the abominable hell. No fairies in pristine white chiffon gowns and silver wings sprouting from their backs, no sandalwood  and rose scented , perfumed sparsely clad celestial damsels  with provocative bosoms and rump, no forbidding looking men eager to haul me over rough thorny terrains. Then it struck me pleasantly, man there is no hell and mercifully there is no heaven too. The stories of rotting hell and bright paradise with rivers of honey and oceans of unadulterated milk have been pretty fables used by the sophist, grifters and nitwit men and women to scare the gullible , the meek hearted, the guilt ridden selfish of people and they were in plenty. I was immensely relieved, pleased and happy that there was no hell and heaven in the after-world- there was no after-world to worry about. In hindsight, I ought to have, when alive, enjoyed living with more exuberance than I managed to. Only because there was no hell and heaven to hitch hike to in the afterlife.

Thankfully there was no sniveling around. The eulogy continued by another bloke. I sensed that the folks were eager to get done with it and some were petulantly checking their wrist watches.

I surveyed. One bloke wearing dark aviator glasses, with greyish white hair and beard  was massaging his beard with his fingers, while leaving his other hand thrust in his trouser pocket and occasionally glancing at his reflection in the glass pane of the window. He refuses to be displeased with his appearance. The lovable narcissist that he is! I saw another fellow standing in the far corner, impatient and with deep frown announcing probably his belief that the world around is conspiring against him. Bludgeoned by that belief which constantly shadowed him, he flounced out flummoxed, in anguish and annoyance, pulled his moped from the parking stand and steamed away-all the idiosyncratic qualities intact and  trailing after him. Seeing him go, another tall lean guy, in faded Levis jeans decided that enough is enough with the eulogies, jumped into his car and sped towards the club for his evening quota of spirit.

I moved out to the verandah of the building when I heard some muffled laughter. There were some business friends and acquaintances of old in restrained conversation, broke by intermittent muffled laughter. One fat guy who I always admired for his witty retorts and stories asked another, the short bald guy who resembled an elf, the one who runs away to the wash rooms, or bends down to untie and tie back his shoelace when it was time to throw in his share for the restaurant bill and was one of the least fascinating beings I met when I was alive. “Look, Seethu, do you also not want to go away with such fanfare and respected treatment like our A did? We all will assure you, most of all I will, that we will not lessen the gaiety and splendour of the sendoff we give you when you are gone.”

Typical of the man his jest may sound rude and taunting for those who do not possess taste for spirit, of fun and banter and who are incorrigibly vacuous to appreciate jocularities. I saw Seethu’s face turn pale, paler like, paler than the most pallid among the pale skinned Americans.I impulsively began shaking with laughter and soon put the back of my palm to the mouth to muffle the laugh, though no one would have noticed my laughter in the sudden burst of feet pounding , clapping and laughing out there, triggered by Antony’s assurance to the now distrait Seethu, unconscious of the dead man lying inside and the panegyric ritual.

Louis Armstrong’s sonorous voice persisted and the wake up alarm ring tone on my mobile finally woke me. It was early morning and another beautiful day in this Wonderful world-

“I see trees of green........ red roses too ;I see em bloom..... for me and for you ;And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.
I see skies of blue..... clouds of white ;Bright blessed days....dark sacred nights ;And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world.
The colors of a rainbow.....so pretty ..in the sky ;Are also on the faces.....of people ..going by ;I see friends shaking hands.....sayin.. how do you do ;They're really sayin......i love you.
I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow ;They'll learn much more.....than I'll never know ;And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world

The person mentioned here, his moniker - Seethu, passed away some six months ago and the news were relayed to me a few days back by a distant colleague.


Meera Sundararajan said...

I guess heaven or hell is more likely to be in the world of the living . Louis Armstrong or atleast his voice obviously followed you in your sub or unconscious world.. Nice piece!

rudraprayaga said...

Heaven and hell we create here.
Previous birth and rebirth are reforming or reverting our character from barbaric to refined or vice versa. Enrapturing post.

rudraprayaga said...

The first para resonated some anxiety and continuous reading gave the sense of dreaming stage.Would you pl.view my Mal.verse.

KParthasarathi said...

Though written in a backdrop of melancholy,the beauty of narration with an eye for small details did not escape attention.
In Hindu scriptures there is one Garuda Puran detailing the traversing of the soul after death.It seems it takes about a fortnight to to reach its final destination hovering till then in the planet.I am not aware of what other religions say on this.But nothing can be said with certainty about hell or heaven as no one has returned in human form to tell us.

Tracy Terry said...

Such wonderfully flowing prose, you write beautifully.

anilkurup said...

@ rudraprayag,
I did not understand what you mentioned about the Malayalam verse

Renu said...

It is always fascinating to read about the world beyond our reach,I will nevr know for sure anything:)..its always the belief only..

rudraprayaga said...

I have mentioned about a poem(ode)posted in February which only Mallus can read.So pl.go through, if you feel so.

BK Chowla, said...

Hell or Heavan..its our own creation.

Usha Menon said...

Very poetic prose!! You have written this piece beautifully. Hell and/or Heaven can wait in the background.

B Pradeep Nair said...

I liked smartphone, and the narcissist bits... Very well conveyed...

NRIGirl said...

It is an amazing flow of thought. Do you think in your subconscious mind you were informed of Seethu's demise through this dream?

anilkurup said...

@ Meera Sundarajan

Of all the many call alert or ring tones I have used in mobile phones, I have not felt irritated with this particular song playing.
Yes certainly heaven and hell is in the realm of the living.

@ rudraparayag,
Thank you for the comment


Thank you.
Yes , no one has come back from the netherworld to write a travelogue.Wonder if someone could define, and identify .the'soul".

@ Tracy Terry,

Thank you. I value your critique.

@ renu,
Yes belief

@ BK Chowla,

Yes nothing but the truth.

@ Usha Menon,

Thank you very much

B PradeepNair,

Good to know it was readable Thank you very much for the comment

@ NRIGirl

No as I mentioned as the foot note the news about the fellow's death that happened 6 months ago reached me a few days ago. As for the rest it was a bit of realism much laced with a bit of day dreaming