Little known stories

The short story of this nameless lady must reach far and wide as she is busy setting a brave example.

A lot of garbage floats around on WhatsApp. If you feel getting ‘Good Morning’ messages on your family groups are a pain, you have no idea how lucky you are. There’s a universe out there where faker-than-fake news, photoshopped images, heavy-on-propaganda bullshit and pure 24 carat crap are being peddled as real content on WhatsApp to gullible audiences. Besides, receiving motivational forwards by your well-wishers is barely a problem. It can always get worse.

Picture this: If you think Indians basking in the glory of PIOs’ (the likes of Dev Patel, Indra Nooyi, Aziz Ansari, Nikki Haley, Kal Penn, Anshu Jain, etc.) achievements is creepy, wait for an era where Hindus will be claiming credit for the achievements of Hindus globally. If you think NaMo is the Trump of India, wait for the time when India will actually elect her own Trump. If you think Aadhaar is terrible, which it certainly seems to be, wait for the year our government finally gets its hands on what NSA did last decade. If you’re cribbing about migrants stealing your jobs, wait till the robots take over completely. If you’re weeping that your hair is greying before its time, wait till you start balding. If you believe your life sucks… you get the idea.

The point being, anything can always get worse. And most often, it does.

But, every once in a while, the situation appears hopeful on WhatsApp. The case in reference being this morning. I came across a video which i later posted on YouTube (above). Although i thought of adding the subtitles, my laziness left me with a choice: either post the video now or don’t bother at all. I took the easy way out. Sorry. Anyway, for those unfamiliar with Tulu, the video features an interview of an elderly shy lady who is brave enough to do something not many women won’t even dare: working in a crematorium. Crematorial duties, for religious reasons, have always rested with men in ou country. In this video, the woman reveals her story on how she was reluctant initially but was encouraged by neighbours to do the deed. 30+ years later and after cremating/burying 30,000+ bodies, she says she’s not at all scared of working in a crematorium.

As one can guess from the video, a lot of her work involves cremating people who are abandoned by the society; folks we don’t care whether they get a decent departure or not.

What also struck me about this inspiring personality is the manner she breaks the glass ceiling. We, the online souls, trapped in our myopic world, assume feminism is about this and that. Women like her help us see that feminism is about everything. Forget India, the world is huge and there are scales we can’t possibly fathom where women ought to step up and set a healthy example. These are the quiet harbinger of change. She regales her experiences by defying superstitious beliefs associated with ghosts and how she is only concerned with the last rites everybody deserves irrespective of where they come from.

Lastly, on a matter-of-factly philosophical note, she surmises, that a human body, after it’s completely burnt, has to be smashed into pieces. “What is left of us?” she asks, before answering herself, “Nothing.”

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