19 September, 2020

Life And Death In Time of Corona: Waiting For Dad's First Death Anniversary To Complete Rituals

The lockdown in Bengal and non-availability of items for rituals left Malay Kumar Goswami stranded and distressed in times of grief

Photograph by Sandipan Chatterjee
Life And Death In Time of Corona: Waiting For Dad's First Death Anniversary To Complete Rituals
outlookindia.com
2020-05-05T11:59:12+05:30

“Death is the only certainty in life and it’s inevitable,” muses Malay Kumar Goswami, who lost his father in the middle of the pandemic. When he bid a final farewell to his ailing father a month ago, Goswami had reconciled to the vagaries of life and death. However, the grieving son harbours a regret, which is going to haunt him forever —not being able to perform his father’s final rites.

Reconciling to the death of a loved one is hard, but coping with loss during this unprecedented crisis can be harder, says Goswami. His father, Radha Kishore Goswami, a retired deputy magistrate, was his idol in many ways. The family conducted his sparsely-attended funeral after he passed away on March 20. “My dad’s funeral was attended by a few close relatives who reside in the city. Those who live far couldn’t come,” says Goswami.

The final rituals, according to Hindu tradition, were to take place on the 11th day after death. By that time, the lockdown was already in place in Malay’s native town...

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