Contemplating what to wear

9:35pm last night

Phone rings.

Hi! It’s Anay’s mom Geeta. I have called to invite you for the baby shower planned tomorrow. Do come at  12 pm sharp! And yes , No gifts please ! your witty jokes are welcome though! Ok cya then!!

I am delighted and feel myself smiling at the idea of some good fun tomorrow and of course the arrival of a new life soon ! Devina and Sunil have been waiting for this moment since a long time. They’re such a wonderful couple. Always wiling to help , ever comfortable and modest. They may not be the life of the party but are certainly a presence missed if they do not join for any reason.

I am excited as I contemplate what to wear.

9:35am this morning

Hi. This is Rajesh.  Swapnil passed away this morning. Likely to be taken to the crematorium around 4:30pm. We are reaching there at 4:00. Please do not carry flowers as Swapnil was allergic to them. Your silent prayers are welcome. Bye.

It was only last week that we met Swapnil at a social gathering.  Who could tell he would be no more soon ? And of all people why would Rajesh even bother to share the news about Swapnil when they could not even see eye to eye?

My confused  mind is on a thought trail of life and it’s uncertainties , death and it’s unexpected and never desired arrival, the grudges people hold when a person is alive, momentary over flow of emotions and how life returns to normalcy soon after.

I am disturbed as I contemplate what to wear.

One may feel where is the need to contemplate on clothing when someone has died? Its as simple as picking up the most acceptable garment , wearing it and heading to the relatives of the deceased.

But the issue is different today. There is a birth to celebrate in the first half of the day and death to mourn in the second. Both are from different religions. Time is of the essence where traffic decides the commuting possibilities in this mad city.

I finally zero in on a white dress. It is acceptable for the happy occasion of birth at Devina’s and at Swapnil’s , white is what people wear when someone dies.

I feel satisfied with my decision to wear a commonly suitable outfit. White , the color of calm and peace has (temporarily) put my mind at ease. My eyes feel heavy as images of Devina, Sunil, Swapnil and Rajesh flash before me. Tears begin to flow. I do not know whether they are tears of joy or sorrow.


2 thoughts on “Contemplating what to wear

  1. It’s very difficult when we are faced with completely opposite situations like celebrations and mourning within a single time frame. However, you were able to face both with great grace and strength by simultaneously fulfilling society’s expectations for each ritual, and most importantly, taking into account the needs of your friends in each situation. After all, the only thing that is certain is life is change…. and we are challenged with it everyday of our lives. What we can do is face it with our very best intentions and be a good example for others who may also be struggling.


    1. Birth and death are two points. Everything else in between is a journey. Yes it’s true. Each person’s journey is unique . Very rightly put thay we can make our own an example for others.


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