Funeral fashion (Rating: xxx)
It’s a proud moment of my life. Years of hard work. Seemed to be an unending struggle till yesterday. Today I am a graduate. A professional. A bread earner for my family. There were too many options. I could have chosen anything. After all I was brilliant. A gifted child. There were lots of retaliations. Mother didn’t spoke to me for 6 months. It’s too difficult a profession especially for the people who are not used to. But I always wanted to do this. I was simply excellent. Today she sees me perform. She feels proud. I have achieved what I aspired for. I am a professional now. A professional mourner.
It seemed impossible in the beginning. Lakhs of candidates. Disturbing questions. Tough interviews. But I passed them all. And got into the All India Academy for Mourners. Best in India and one of the finest in the world. Hundreds of lectures. Demonstrations. Vigorous training sessions. But I sailed through all. We were made to sleep on the marble ground under the scorching sunlight in the months of June. We were stripped and beaten with iron rods on our backs in the middle of night. We were shown the horrifying visuals of blasts, explosions, accidents, wars, murders, suicides, rapes and foeticides. And were asked to cry in unison till the bell. Since it has become almost impossible to cry nowadays. So we were taught to fake it. The most difficult part was the one when we were asked to do it instinctively without any stimulus. It was hard. But we had to do it. And we did it. In the end we became really good mourners. And I was the best of them all. I could fake it like anything. There are other colleges also which train the students to fake other emotions. The students are taught to fake smile, disgust, hatred, anger, passion, sadness, jealousy and all other kinds of sentiments. They are taught to laugh and shout. They are taught to express rage and jealousy without being obvious. They are trained how to be nice and behave with parents, relatives and friends. But everybody accepts that faking a cry and mourning is the most difficult of them all which I finally managed to excel.
So people started calling me to the funerals to fake it. Nowadays funerals are very large scale organized events. People really look forward to attending such kinds of mournful proceedings. They gather from everywhere in flashy clothes. Women wear gaudy make-up, heavy jewellery and dress up in designer stuff. All the people who gather try their best to fake it. But since they can’t do it so professionals are called to mourn and help them cry. Once I was called by the governor of the state to mourn on his father’s funeral. I went there and performed for nearly two hours. Everybody was damn impressed and they valued my art and genius. I was given a handsome amount as a token of appreciation. Then I was also called to the Mayor’s funeral. Mayor’s wife was trying too hard but she was not able to cry. I took her to the corner and taught her the basics hurriedly. The tears started rolling down her eyes. I had taught her the art of faking. After all it’s a fake world and one must know to fake everything. She was so impressed that she gave me a contract to perform at every funeral of their family and relatives. Last month I was called to the funeral of an army officer. I was hesitant to go first but then made up my mind. It was a real big event and everybody was expecting something unusual at the occasion. So I decided to go a step further. I performed the mourning dance and danced for almost about an hour around the funeral pyre. I was given a salute by the royal fraternity of Indian army. In the end army band was played in the honour of my performance. I was really happy. I had become a renowned mourner of the state. I was too confident and thought I could fake it anytime and anywhere in the world.
It was getting a bit monotonous. So I decided to visit mom and dad. I had earned a lot of money and was going to give it to my mom. I purchased a lot of stuff for everybody. I was too happy to be home after such a long time. Father was also proud at my success and gifted me a golden watch. We had dinner together and then I went to sleep.
Next morning I went to see my mother. She was lying in bed with a blanket over her face. I removed the blanket and turned her face towards me. She was dead. Her blank white face was staring at me. I was dumbfounded and taken a back. I shouted and felt like crying.
My mother’s funeral was organized. Since I myself was a professional mourner, nobody was called from outside to perform. So I was asked to give a performance. I got up and took a breath. I had mourned at many funerals. And had even taught people to cry. I could fake it anytime I supposed. Thousands of people had gathered to see a professional mourner performing at his own mother’s funeral. Many of them had seen me perform earlier. So they knew my competence and genius. They expected it to be a hell lot of fun. People pushed and cheered me hard. They even ripped my clothes. I stood there motionless making a deliberate attempt to break. I scratched myself. Even lifted a stone from the ground and began hitting my head hard. Blood started dripping. I could watch it falling on the ground. People started abusing me. I lifted the white cloth from my mother’s body. Grabbed her face and shrugged it violently. Then kissed her and covered it again.
But being a professional mourner I couldn't perform at my own mother’s death. The crowd was really disappointed.
I tried hard but just couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t mourn. I couldn’t fake it.