Unfit to attend funeral or marriage.

Cartoon of the worst possible thing to say at ...

Cartoon of the worst possible thing to say at a funeral. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a long time since people have stopped inviting me for funeral. It has something to do with my face. If I don’t smile I look ridiculous but if I smile, it spoils the serenity of pain and sadness. Either way people find my face amusing. However the most painful funerals are where husband dies after taking divorce and leaves everything to parents. Never attend such funeral.
People are sad for wrong reasons. In fact people are sad all the times for wrong reasons. The depth of pain is felt in case of young death. Too young to develop economy of relations and therefore least prone to give benefit from death. But on such occasions grieving people themselves laugh at the innocent actions of the deceased, which were so pleasing.
The other funerals are a hoax. More an attempt to display solidarity with the surviving rather than pain for the deceased. Truth is that we are incapable of feeling pain for anybody. We grieve that we may not be the next. The grief is either for ourselves inspite of a dainty display of sadness or it reminds us of our past experiences of sadness.
No, I had not been to any funeral. I met a person who was as unfit for funeral as myself. But she was fit for invitation to marriage. I am incompetent for ‘fat Indian wedding’ as well. The colossal waste of resources on a mere show off, is such a stupid act which can not be ignored unless a person is drunk or an automaton.
It saddens me more. Looking sad or with a poker face, at a marriage is a clear reason for being a persona non grata.
Therefore here I am blogging, for me no good, for anything else at all.

© Sandeep Bhalla

17 thoughts on “Unfit to attend funeral or marriage.

  1. For all the technical terms and explanation I have one word: “Thought”. As you yourself used the term with ‘re-directing.’ Riding thought is like riding tiger. I prefer to sneak-walk behind it.
    Do you know how Tagore actually transmuted his pain. The pain of always failing relationships especially romantic ones besides other.


    • Yes, thought. I’ll reiterate by again quoting Vivekananda:

      “We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.” ~Swami Vivekananda

      You said: “Do you know how Tagore actually transmuted his pain. The pain of always failing relationships especially romantic…”

      I don’t know how he transmuted his pain of failing romantic relationships, but I know how I transmuted mine. By understanding that we are organic beings and the bio- mechanisms at work (ultimately for our benefit). When romantic partners have this understanding, unnecessary emotional pain can be curtailed.

      Key culprits, the neurochemicals, dopamine and prolactin.

      http://www.reuniting info/science/dopamine_separation_after_orgasm


  2. Hi Sandeep. An interesting perspective from your end. When I was a Christian, I sang at funerals, so I’ve been to my fair share. I would chose songs of exhortation because I understood that for a brief moment, they (mourners) needed respite, comfort, before they said their final goodbyes to a loved one who will never be coming back. I don’t see that as a hoax, nor was I acting.

    You said: “People are sad for wrong reasons. In fact people are sad all the times for wrong reasons….Truth is that we are incapable of feeling pain for anybody. We grieve that we may not be the next.”

    Maybe some people are incapable of feeling pain for anybody, but then again, that is speculative because they (the observers) may not truly know the heart of others (mourners). Yes, I agree that we feel empathy, but to say that everyone are always sad for the wrong reasons and are incapable of feeling compassion seems like generalization. Maybe it’s your culture?

    When my husband died, I didn’t want to attend his funeral. I suppose that had my mother not talked me into it, others would have assumed the worse in my actions. We do live in a world culture where many assume the worst in people, first. I didn’t want to go because I wanted to say goodbye and grieve on my own terms. Saying goodbye was sacred to me, and so was grieving (privately) for my beloved. I made the sacrifice and attended for the benefit of others.

    Regarding weddings, I have never been much on traditional customs. Weddings can be very stressful, and as you mentioned, very expensive. Weddings can, however, be fun and they bring family and friends together. I’ve also sang at several weddings and saw sincere joy on the faces of many.

    My late husband and I got married because we adored each other. He did not marry me because I had a dowry, nor was he interested in using me for sex on demand, as a house maid or baby incubator. I did not want my father to give me away during the ceremony. I’m not the property of one to be passed on to another. Going against tradition, my partner and I walked down the isle together, a symbolic gesture. We had planned to elope, but it became clear that family and friends wanted to join in on this celebration of union. I agree with you that people spend crazy amounts of money. I did not, nor did I burden my parents with footing the bill, another custom in my country.

    I think it’s OK to not want to attend funerals or weddings. To each his/her own.


    • Victoria, I would like to agree with you at the outset that living in a backward rather poor country and with culture which western always found savage, I am incompetent to make objective assessment.
      As to who were unhappy people I referred to, forget about it. I will also give in to your assertion that I am in the company of sad people. But think about three facts:
      1. Are you happy?
      2. Were you never sad in life?
      3. When was the last time you took mood elevating pill or sleeping pill.
      Please do not post reply here. Be silent and know.


      • How are these questions relevant? What was your motive to ask them?

        As far as not submitting to your request to not reply, I want to make sure that you were not offended by my post. I do not think all people in India are savages, and I know I’m not alone (in the West). I was merely asking a question. I don’t agree with the fact that some cultures in India devalue females, but then again, Westerners don’t have much room to talk, either. Several years ago, while working in Washington, DC, I became good friends with a man from India. He was doing contract work in the U.S. We were working together at an engineering firm. He shared a lot of positive things about his culture and his people. He is a beautiful soul and we remain friends.

        As far as your questions go?

        I am at peace with myself. Through hardship, I’ve learn to not allow others to use me as a receptacle into which they try to project disowned parts of their own psyche, to manipulate and control their feelings through me.

        Yes, I’ve been sad in life – as my previous post has shown. I also get sad when I see unnecessary suffering in the world caused by certain traditions and cultural practices.

        Only once in my life have I taken mood elevating pills (an antidepressant for situational depression). It was short lived. I understand that for some people, antidepressants have been beneficial, especially those with suicidal tendencies caused by brain injuries, neurological disorders, and/or hormonal imbalances. Unfortunately, some doctors give them out like candy for filthy lucre’s sake.

        I’ve only taken a sleeping pill twice, maybe three times, years ago. It had the opposite effect and kept me up. Must be my biochemistry, but I’m glad my body rejected it. Earlier in my life, when my daughter was a baby, I did go through a period of insomnia. Gratefully, I’ve learned to manage my stress and balance my hormones without medication. Suppressing mind-chatter was most beneficial.

        Sandeep, please forgive me if my previous post came across as offensive.


      • First of all ‘the apology’. You do not owe me any apology unless you do not pluck more than one tomato or potato or more than handful of mint leaves from my kitchen garden. You were making I point so did I. It is not logical to waste bandwidth on apologies for nothing.
        Now you again made me realise what I had missed. Truth is that we are all sad. Only surface need to be scratched. Only those with dementia can claim (can they?) To be not sad. Every memory has its share of sadness. The balance you talk about is the ‘surface’. Scratch it and pain re-emerges. Death or crying scratches that surface and we are vulnerable again. In Hindi this world is also named as ‘Mratu-lok’ or ‘Death-World’.
        Please do me a favour and next time when you attend a funeral, remind me afterwards that you did not recall anything from memory and pain from past did not revisit and that I am a fool to say such a thing.
        About India: Do you know that in several states there are traditional Matriarchal family society and males are slowly progressing towards liberation?
        My motive: I am a mean person and enjoy troubling/hurting people.
        BTW what do you mean by “I was a Christian.”
        BTW there is an Urdu Couplet by Ghalib:
        “Na keh ke giriaa ba-miqdaar-e hasrat-e dil hai;
        Meri nigah mein hai jama-e-charch dariaa ka.”
        It roughly means;
        “Do not say that heart is the boundry in which rests the tears of desires;
        My eyes hold the account of the river (of tears) inside.”
        Thanks for sharing so much and especially for the enthusiasm.
        All the best.


      • Hi Sandeep, thanks so much for your response. The beauty of sadness is that it can be transmuted into compassion and empathy, into joy, if we allow it. Mindfulness can emerge. The dark side of pain (emotional suffering) will always be inevitable as long as one identifies with the negative emotions of mind. If one has convinced themselves that pain is just below the surface, then those thoughts will wire neural circuitry, and reinforce neural pathways, promoting neural networks to specific regions of the brain. This reinforcement creates electrical activity in those areas of the brain that store unpleasant memories, and may give rise to negative emotions.

        Example. Here’s a two minute video showing actual neural pathways and networks that drive our perceptions of reality. By experience, by the way we view our world, by the way we think, changes the structure of our brain.. We have the power to atrophy (prune) disadvantageous neural pathways that can cause one to have a perception that everyone is sad. Technically, changing the structure of the brain is called neuroplasticity, also known as cortical re-mapping.

        You said: ” next time when you attend a funeral remind me afterwards that you did not recall anything from memory and pain from past did not revisit.”

        When my grandmother died, we all grieved in our own ways, privately and with each other; but we embraced the fact that she had lived a full life and was dearly loved by many. When I attend a funeral, I think about my grandmother’s funeral. Family and close friends sat in a circle at the funeral home and shared how Genevieve touched each of our lives. We shared happy memories. We celebrated her life. Personally, if any sad memories surface while attending a funeral, I can choose to not become captive by them, and redirect my thoughts.

        You said: “BTW what do you mean by “I was a Christian.”

        It means that I used to identify with the Christian religion. Sandeep, thank you for an engaging discourse. All the best to you as well.

        “The most important lesson that man can learn from his life is not that there is pain in this world, but that it depends upon him to turn it into good account, that it is possible for him to transmute it into joy. ~Rabindranath Tagore


  3. Yes, without theatrics, you could not be a lawyer. Tis necessary in any of our endeavors and does not mean we are not capable of being authentic even as we “perform.” Re the “strangers that I have for company”, not for sure what you mean. Yes, I have lots of friends who are truly dear friends but yes, I guess, I’m a “stranger” to them in some respect. Even with my very best friend, my dear wife, I am certainly a “stranger” in some respect. And, now having thought about it further…and perhaps this is what you were addressing…I’m kind of scared at the prospect of being completely real with anyone. I’m puzzled myself with what I mean by that…


    • You got it completely wrong. Though what you said is correct but I was hinting at something else. Knowledge literary or scientific creates a benchmark on which most people judge others but you unnecessarily judge yourself. As regards ‘the stranger’ it is with everybody. We are the ‘thought’ we carry at any given moment. Most of us do not realize it.


      • Oh, I see. Yes. Yes, we “are the ‘thought” we carry.” This notion just goes so deeply into the heart. Sometimes I wish God would just sink a rope into my heart, tie it around the “thoughts” that constitute my life, and yank ’em out. A surgical extirpation, I guess. But, clinically speaking, I know that would leave me with a “fried brain.”! He mercifully accomplishes this end gently, graciously.


      • This is complicated, cutting right to the heart of things. You should be a surgeon…and you are in a way…for you do “cut to the heart of things.” Hmm. Well, I guess I do meditate often and fail to realize it, for I can see it at all times…or often. I am aloof, detached and characterologically have a hard time throwing myself into the whole of things, into life itself. There is some sense in which I have yet to live for life, merely having hovered around the periphery and deeming it too scary to take the plunge. With this kind of detachment, and given my clinical knowledge, I could have had real problems in even functioning in life.


      • First I am or was an unpatient in distress and I realised through long walk through bushes that I was being walked in circle.
        Take care of thought and rest shall be taken care of. I will not quote ‘the source’ to tease you.


  4. You just don’t do anything right, do you? Good for you! I have spent most of my life doing things perfunctorily right not paying any attention to what I was doing. I’m more careful now though I still…deliberately…trot out a “right” performance every now and then. I think both of us have a Shakespeare gene in us making us a careful student of the human carnival.


      • I can’t act my way out of a paper bag…if I might crucify a metaphor. And, I dance like Al Gore! Not for sure what you are asking…but…and here I go again answering now with my own words but those of someone else…I’m “an unperfect actor on the stage of life who his fear is put beside his part, or some fierce thing replete with rage whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart.” (Shakespeare). I suspect you are not an “imperfect” actor or even an actor at all. You appear to be more at peace with yourself than I am.


      • Fact is that I have learned little theatrics, required for practice of law but that mostly end at face. As regard peace, yes I am at peace with myself but for that I have lived with myself more than anybody else. But you have so many strangers for company, you would not believe that they are the part of problem, if you feel not in peace with yourself.
        And yes, student always. Master, never.


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