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A Cremation, A Tragedy

by Bilal Bahadur

SRINAGAR: It was in the afternoon that somebody from Bhishamber Nagar rang me up saying that a dhabaywalla died of Covid19. I rushed to the Shamshanghat in Batamaloo where a number of shopkeepers were there.

A Frozen Frame: Mother takes her minor son to the priest for a mandatory ritual before he could lit the pyre of his father at Srinagar on May 18, 2021. The two women behind the boy are dead’s man sister-in-law and mother. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

They said the particular person was basically from Udhampur. They had a shop near the famous dhaba in Dalgate and the entire family was living in Srinagar. He was quite young and contracted Covid19. As his condition deteriorated he was rushed to SKIMS where he remained admitted for 11 days. He died early today.

Takeover: A person associated with the cremation takes the minor boy from his mother at the Srinagar cremation ground on May 18, 2021. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

As the process for cremation begun, the real crisis unfolded. His entire family was there. His mother. his wife, his sister. his brother and his sister-in-law. It was actually his minor son who had to initiate the process of consigning his father to the flames. He did not know. How come he would know? He is too young.

The person in charge is guiding the youngster on how to hold the fire and lit the pyre of his father. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

I did not ask the family what was the name of the dead man or how he used to call his son.

A young boy requires support even for showering petals of his father’s pyre in Srinagar on May 18, 2021. KL Image: Bilal BahadurThis essay is dedicated to this boy, his courage and his tragedy.

The boy finally makes a quick exit from the scene and moves to his mourning mother and other relatives on May 18, 2021. His father was a Covid19 case and struggled for life for 11 days. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Scary Scene: The boy gets in between his mourning mother and aunt. KL Iamge: Bilal Bahadur

I pray for his better life and a good future. This pandemic has made world orphan abundant.

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