22 June 2008

An old man's funeral - in India

We'd spent a busy morning, my friend Marilyn and I. Up early to be driven to mass in the village in the cool of the early morning at 7 am. Then a walk round the village with our host, Fr Pratap, to visit many of the families from his parish, followed by a late breakfast of chappattis. Children danced to welcome us, we visited the nuns who taught at the local school, then took a well-earned siesta.

At 3 o'clock in the afternoon, we were called again. Come, said Father Pratap - he needed to go and conduct a funeral mass in one of the outlying villages in his parish. After a 20 minute drive we arrived in the large village at the church. Everyone was waiting patiently inside the church for us to arrive, seated on the floor, men to one side, women and children to the other. As was the custom, the immediate family of the old man who had died had not eaten since his death in hospital the day before. They had brought him back to his own village to bury him. We felt bad then, that our siesta had delayed the service, Fr Pratap being too polite to wake us.

Read more of this article on my new travel blog at Heatheronhertravels.com

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