Posted by: gdevi | April 14, 2014

Happy Vishu to you!

Happy vishu to you all! Have a joyful new year!


I was talking with my brother and sister-in-law and cousins this evening, and they told me about the movie *I———-m* made by our friends back in Kerala. I went to school with them, so I found it online and watched it this evening. You know, it must be me, but somehow the nostalgia for the vanished village life did not work for me. I thought the story was sort of artificial, but the main actress–I don’t know her work at all–was very good. However, there was this elaborate Hindu funeral rites scene in it at the end. The main character in the movie is about my age, and she is dead, and watching her funeral rites in the film made me think of my own. She has a daughter and when the woman dies, her husband asks this young man that she had looked after as a little boy to do her final rites for her in the place of a son. Hindus need a son–or a nephew in the absence of a son– to do your final rites. Actually Hindu funeral rites are prescriptive. If you are unmarried , childless and dead, then your brother (or someone in the kin of a brother) will do your rites. if you are married and childless, your husband (or your brother or nephew in the case of men)  will do your final rites. If you are married and has children, your son or someone in the kin position of a son will do your rites. Daughters and sisters can participate, but sons and brothers take precedence. I don’t have a son. I have a daughter.  Appu, you have a son. When I die, I want Shambhu to do my funeral rites. Shambhu can start, and after that, Dayani can finish.  Please, family, cremate me in Pennsylvania, and have Shambhu and Dayani do the rites for me in Texas, in Houston, and float my ashes in the Galveston Bay, in the Gulf of Mexico.   Isn’t it funny, you need a son to help you move from this world to the next?

When I watched our friends’ movie, I thought of Nirmalyam. What a great movie that was! It is not possible to make movies like that anymore. It just isn’t true.


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