This post was inspired by Mwaura Mswati’s post Mwaura Is Dead.
“I will not accept this,” Mike says.
The somber mood on the round table was now slowly getting tense. Ivy, the chairperson, now had a confused look. Hesitant even. She seemed unsure of who to assign to speak after that comment by the father of the deceased.
“Actually we will not accept this,” John says. He chimes in without an invite to speak. Whether he does it out of loyalty for them being age mates, no one is certain.
“It was the man’s last wish,” James, the best friend to the deceased, says. “Don’t you think we should honor his wish?”
“To be cremated?” John asks almost immediately. “Never, this is not acceptable.”
“He specifically asked not to be buried,” Samantha tries to come to the rescue.
“Why didn’t he inform us of this before he breathed his last?” Mike poses the question.
A brief moment of silence.
“If he had, we would have drummed some sense into his head,” John says. “This is not acceptable in our culture leave alone religion.”
Damn that old man. He was proving to be a menace. The thorn in a rose flower that almost makes you forget of its beauty.
“A lot of cultures and religions around the world are accepting the practice,” Mark says.
“True, world over it is slowly picking up pace,” Jane says.
“That is the problem with this so called new generation,” Mike says. A little agitation in his voice.
“You are all but to quick to abandon your ways,” John adds. “You are going around picking up new cultures without even the bat of an eyelid.”
“But nothing,” Mike cuts James short. “You do not want to simply follow the rules.”
“Do you think we wrote them?” John asks.
“We found them like that and followed them without raising questions,” Mike says.
The young members of the committee are all mum. It was supposed to be a simple meeting to plan the send off of their friend. Now their whole existence was being questioned.
“Why don’t you just live by your cultures?” Mike asks the question.
On top of the confusion there is some resistance in the air. No one likes to be put on the spot.
“It is a new world,” Ivy says, “things are changing.”
“They are not as they used to be,” Jane adds.
The others are seen shaking their heads in agreement.
“Bollocks,” John says.
He does not even let them bask in their misguided victory.
“This has always been a new world,” John says, “a hundred years ago it was a new world.”
“Even yesterday it was a new world,” Mike says, “and we have always stuck to our cultures.”
“Does this mean that my son will be burnt to ashes in a fire?” Maureen asks. She is speaking for the first time. A mother’s agony for losing a child can be felt in her voice.
“Technically someone is not burnt using a fire…” James starts to explain.
“What else can be used to burn?” Mike says stopping him mid-sentence.
“You will also not receive ashes per se,” Jane says. She ignores the question asked by the father.
“But doesn’t…,” Maureen says. She stops herself and slumps hopelessly in her chair. Mike rubs softly on her hand reassuringly.
They all stare at each other unsure of what to say.
“What will be the way forward?” Ivy asks.