Masaan means Crematorium. You taught me this. You came in my life like death, uninvited, but went back like a realization, always left to be felt.
Shaalu told you that you are honest. But for me, you are everything, everywhere. You are the beauty of Mirza Ghalib’s shayaris, the cheerfulness of morning Ganga Arti, the aroma of the lemon tea and the serenity of the sunrise at Assi Ghat, the chimimg of bells in temples, the power of waves, the coldness of soil, the scent of sandalwood, the fragrance of incense sticks, the passion of the flame on the funeral pyre, the grief of tears, the mortality of white, the black of ash, the futility of a corpse, the taste of death. You feel everything like life yet nothing like death.
You taught me that people cannot come back, just like ash cannot be separated once released in water. You did not give me false hopes that feelings can be controlled or hidden. You cried, wailed, screamed. You did not fear to express yourself. When you said “Saala ye dukh khatam hi nahi hota bey!”, a flame ignited inside me. The only difference was that it turned ash into a person. You taught me that it is okay to be vulnerable. Though you broke down when you wanted to, you again emerged strong, like the flowers used during the end rituals. They know their end is near, their fragrance will turn into smoke, but still they live, with the same beauty, same fragrance because they know that life is more painful than death. They know the art of minimizing the pain.
You taught me acceptance. You taught me that their are some voids which can neither be hidden or healed, nor be filled with love or time. They can only be accepted. The way you accepted your vulnerabilities and life. The way you accepted Shalu’s death. The way you accepted that life is greater than death.
You taught me to live life with all its odds, because moksha(salvation) is not only attained after death, but during the acts you do when you are alive. Life does not come to an end when you stop breathing, but when you stop living.
One day, I hope we will meet at Sangam and talk about our lives.
A corpse you turned alive.