|By Anil D'Souza, Halealve, Kundapur [ Published Date: May 17, 2010 ]|
Hope you all remember Eddie and his adventures with St. Peter about a year and half ago. I apologize for not having written anything since then. But here I am once again trying to get back into writing with this article called "Eddies Funeral". Hope you will like it. Well if you don't know who my beloved Eddie is, please read the article "Eddies entry to heaven" on this website.
After having resigned from my job, I was enjoying a couple of months at home during the rains last year and one fine day I met Cecilia aunty (Eddie's wife) after the morning mass. "Hey Puta, How are you. How's Life?" she asked me.
"Fine Thank you. How you are aunty. How is Uncle Eddie? Heard he had a severe heart attack and also heard about his rendezvous with St. Peter. It's been a year and half since I met him."
"Well, he is fine. Thank god, after his attack at least I came to know he has a heart. ha-ha. Just joking" said aunty.
"Well Aunty, if you don't mind, I would like to talk to Eddie Uncle, Can you please ask him to come to Hotel Kinara at 6 pm tonight". "Oh yeah. Why not? He never misses a good drink and good food" said aunty.
Having invited Uncle Eddie to Kinara, I prepared myself for a hard time in the evening. At sharp 6 pm, I was at the entrance of the Hotel Kinara, which is famous for its location and food.
"Ah there you are. I am over here" said Uncle Eddie who had already arrived and was attired in his customary white Mundu and shirt. "How are you, Long time no see. I thought you ran off with a Madrasi girl huh", he continued. I just wondered whether I did the right thing inviting him.
"Before starting whatever you invited me here for, order half Signature and one full Chicken Tandoori. That's for me. You can order whatever you want" said uncle Eddie
I waved at the waiter and ordered half Signature, one Chicken Tandoori and a bottle of Pepsi.
"Uncle so let's get started.Tell me about your experience with St. Peter."
"Haa. That was a dream my son. Well I think you know the story. Don't you?"
"Yes Uncle. I do. But you see, there must be something else to it."
"You nosy little moron. Okay promise me you won't publish it anywhere or else I will kill you".
"I promise Uncle." Drinks came and immediately Uncle Eddie poured a Patiala peg and gulped it down neat.
"Well Well. Burrrrrr Ah. Good boy. See St. Peter asked me to plan my funeral before dying."
"What????"I was shocked. "Do people really plan funerals"?
"When you plan weddings, why not funerals?" I saw a point there.
Eddie Uncle began his plan.
"Look Anil, I want my funeral to be a grand one. I don't want my relatives to worry about those tiny details which are very necessary for a funeral. After I am gone, I don't want my relatives to keep my body in the morgue and think about small things like "When the funeral ceremony should be kept?"." Who will inform my children?" " Of which wood should the coffin be made?" "Is it alright if fish curry rice is served instead of the traditional PEZ?" "Whether the parish priest will let us serve a little whiskey during the dinner"
"Oh, so you have formulated a plan huh?" I interrupted.
"Of course you idiot. Do you think St. Peter would let me in again, if I don't? To start with I just don't like the custom of bathing the body after death. Somehow I feel very embarrassed at this very thought. I know it's important, but I still don't like it. When I was small, my mum used to give me bath, and later on sometime Cecilia you know (here, Uncle Eddie had a naughty smile on his lips.) So why show myself to others and that too after I am gone? When I realize my end is coming near, I will have a nice hot bath, wear a nice black suit and be ready for the final journey. The only task which my children and relatives have to do is, carry me and put me in the coffin. Coffin should be a nice one, which will crumble down within two days after the burial".
"Hmmm. Good going Uncle. What about your children?" I asked helpfully.
"Well that part I am going to entrust to you; since you have invited me here to talk about it, I will give you that privilege. Please inform them by mail or whatever that small machine does. Now listen that's not all". Eddie was on his second Patiala now, but this time with soda.
"Second, I want my funeral rites to be performed at the earliest, my body can be kept for a maximum of say 24 hours, not more than that; reason being, as per my observation, the attendance to a funeral which has been kept for a long time is usually high. 70% people come out of real love for the deceased; the remaining 30 % come to see how many people are crying, how the body does look etc. Of course, I want many people to attend my funeral, but not for these reasons as it will really hurt me. Some enlightened soul has said that it's not important how many people really become happy when you are born, but what's more important is how many people cry at your funeral, because that shows what kind of a person one is." I don't want anyone to weep on my funeral; I even don't want anyone to say "Chal, Accha hua, Saala Mar Gaya".
"Uncle, honestly, you are quite an intellectual, I must say. Your outward looks made me mistake you for err something else" I ventured.
"Don't go by the outward looks Anil. Every human being is a good human being deep inside. Circumstances make him a bad person. Now continuing, what do you think about invites for my funeral?"
"Well Well. Idea is good. But to whom and when will you distribute them?"
"I will print the details except the date of course. You are responsible for the distribution. One more thing, it s not that only those of you have been invited have to come, uninvited guests are wholeheartedly welcome. I am not sure whether I will be going to heaven or hell, but wherever I go, I will be happy if people come for my funeral."
"Uncle I have become a fan of you". I ordered one more half of Signature and one more full Tandoori.Words were now flowing out of Uncle Eddie.
"Most important of all, it's enough if one or maximum two priests bless my body and conduct the funeral rites. I also love music; hence I will be very happy if the choir for my funeral is top class. People need not dirty their hands by rushing near the grave to put mud on my coffin. If they do, it will be helpful for Johnny who usually digs and covers the grave in our parish. After the funeral I would like coffee and benne butter be served for all those who have come. This is my favorite and I must say it is a deadly combination. Mouthwatering. I don't mind if two or three kilos of benne butter is kept inside my coffin, it will be useful for my journey". What do you think?"
"Awesome Uncle. I love it. I will surely come for your funeral. Not for the love I have towards you, but at least for the benne butter.
"You Dog ".Uncle took the leg out of the poor dead chicken. (For those of you who don't know what benne butter is, it is a yellow colored toasted snack.)
"Uncle .You are a great human being" I said.
"I know Anil, I know. Well this is how I have planned my funeral. I have no idea how it will be actually. I will not be there to witness it. But I wish it to be done as per the plan. At these troubled times, where most of our elders stay and die at Home for the aged, I hope my kids will at least give me a proper funeral. I don't mind even if they have not taken care of me now, but for my funeral, no compromises. I will haunt them if they don't"
"It's a fascinating plan. I hope you live long and that your funeral is executed according to your wishes.Chalo. Lets go, I will drop you home or else Cecilia aunty will blame me"
"I love Cecilia, Anil do you know how we met?"
"Yes uncle, I know". I did not want Eddie uncle to start his love story now.
"You pig, how do you know? You weren't even born then huh".
"Well Uncle. I too had a dream and St Valentine narrated me your love story" I said.
"HUH" said Uncle Eddie and in his intoxicated state of mind that could have meant anything.