The Posha Painter had painted every shade of the Solomon;s garden in beautiful colours. With brush and paint he breathed soul in animated canvass. The super-naturalism about the springs of the Garden could be felt in all his paintings.
“He is also dead? He asked his friend with a deep sigh,” when did he die? Where are his last rites being performed?
He died this morning only. His rites are being performed at Shamshan, cremation grounds. to participate in his funeral, he said to his friend,” performing of final rites according to the tradition of our forefathers give you peace in “PARLOK”.
“Death is the truth of life” was the belief of Posha and he always emphasized the need to adhere to the traditions of performing of last rites. He knew every detail about the rites and remembered every hymn to be recited at the time of death. It was tradition to daub the place with clay, where the body of the dead was to be placed on ‘Draba Grass’ with head facing south and feet towards north.
A new utensil was used for boiling the water for washing of the dead. Some rare herbs from deep forests which had some solemnity about them were put in the water.
All big industrial houses had constructed huge prayer halls in the “shamshan” cremation ground. There was a large pile of wood in one corner of the place where thousands had been consumed by flames. The body of Posha Painter was waiting for being consumed by flames in one of the prayer halls. The only son of painter was clad in white kurta-pygama with cotton belt tied around his waist and a new towel clinging from his shoulder.
A new pyre was laid for Posha Painter, layer after layer finely chopped wood was being placed with accuracy by the employees of the ‘Shamshan’ . Final rituals could not be performed as the only ‘gour’ priest from Solomon’s garden who lived in the arid-land failed to reach to the ‘shamshan’.
“How long can we wait for the ‘gour’ said one among the dozens of friends and relatives who had come to participate in the final rite, “if he does not get red-line bus and if he boards green-line bus, it means another one hour”.
“Yes, we should go ahead with the rites” said another relation. At this Som Bhat intervened and said.” Let us wait another half an hour for ‘gour’. As the ‘gour’ failed to reach within next one hour. It was decided to keep the body of the painter on the pyre. It was decided to keep the body of the painter on the pyre. The moment the body was lifted and kept on the pyre with its head facing south and feet north and as the effort was made to keep its face towards east. It became heavier and heavier. All the employees of the ‘Shamshan’ failed to move the body. Another layer of wood was kept over the body. His son was called to lit the pyre. The moment he lit the pyre, there was a sudden eruption in the pyre…Posha Painter tore apart the shroud and cried;
STOP IT ! STOP IT ! My soul is not yet released.
Everyone around the pyre ran away in terror as if tear gas shell had been exploded on the crowd. Terrified, all of them looked back after thirty meters.
Posha Painter was standing on the pyre crying: My soul is not released. Save me from eternal perdition. My flight to Petra-Loka is impossible. You washed my body with gutter water. You failed to chant Sheom Sheo Shamboo. You corrupted my mantras. Save my soul!
Som Bhat keeping his pension papers close to his chest watched this scene with his eyes wide open. For a minute he did not believe his eyes. It is some black magic.
“How could it be” he said to himself.” probably his soul is still pegged in Solomon’s Garden.
As Posha painter was crying from the pyre, the flames engulfed him and within minutes he was reduced to ashes.
Z.G.Muhammad is a noted writer and columnist.