We, My Mother’s Daughters, Also Lit Her Pyre Despite Being Told We Weren’t ‘Allowed’ To!

For six months my sister, brother and I along with our families had been taking care of our mother. Then how did others have a say in things?

My mother had to wage a long battle before she passed away. She was in ICU for almost three-and-a-half months, and then too, she remained bed-ridden for long. When we were almost sure that she would soon be sitting and even walking, she was gone.

For some time, we couldn’t believe it. Then, slowly, we shook hands with truth. Our hearts still ache for her, but we know that these are the harsh realities of life.

At night, she was brought back to my home from hospital. Next day, my sister and I said softly, “We will also light the pyre!”

When the relatives were being informed about death, one of the cousins asked, “Who will be the four people who will carry her body?” My sister told them the name of my brother, two cousins and my husband. He immediately said, “But Jeejaji is a son-in-law!” My sister reprimanded him, “It was at his house that mother has been since a few months. He was more than a son!”

Who are these people who do not “allow” us?

My sister and I had firmly decided to go to the cemetery and light the pyre. Another female cousin remarked, “I wasn’t allowed despite strongly wishing to!”

I wonder why we even bother about these people who don’t “allow” things! Do they really come to help when needed? For six months my sister, brother and I along with our families had been taking care of our mother. Who else could? Then, why ask those supposed “holders of law” about what is to be done?

My husband, sister, brother, his son and I lit the pyre. My sister and I had a feeling that my mother would have preferred this.

Soon the word spread. One or two relatives didn’t turn up for the final puja. But did it matter?

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No, it didn’t! After all, they were not the ones around when my sister had left her job to be of help to mother in her last days. They weren’t the ones who were there when I would get up, go to the hospital, then to office, return to the hospital and come home late. They weren’t the ones when my brother, sister and I used to sit with her when her health was at the worst!

Image source: a still from Made in Heaven

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About the Author


Neelam Saxena Chandra is an Engineering graduate from VNIT and has done her Post Graduation Diploma in IM&HRD and also in Finance. She has completed a summer course in Finance from London School of read more...

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