Ever been to a funeral party? I bet most of you have. All of you must have noticed there are a lot of people present, yet they can be classified into a few groups by their behavior. Some are the immediate next to the deceased, whose eyes are flooded like perennial rivers in monsoon, leaning on some others for consolation. There are hosts who are taking care of the guests, they don’t have time to cry. The last group of people come just to attend the party for the meal.
The topics of discussion invariably revolve around the dead, metaphysical, souls, ghosts, peace etc. Whatever may be the topic, the point of discussion finally trickles down to the deceased one and what a person he/she was!
A perfect family man who never did anything worthy of mention, other than fulfilling his duties and caring for his family, dies. The most prominently audible phrases at his funeral are “Though he got a bit angry at times, he was always a good man at heart!”, “He was so humble”,” He cared for everybody” etc. Some will then put forward some real and some fictitious examples to highlight these qualities. Thus, the ultimate conclusion would be that the deceased was a good person after all (even though no one cared to mention it to him in his lifetime!)
An renowned artist dies. He was already quite good at what he did but not up to the mark of great. This time the party goers will include a lot more people (than there were for the average guy). The phrases heard will be “He was such a great artist!”, “He never bragged about his greatness ”, “He was such an honest guy, that is why he never lobbied for his place in the industry like the other cheap artistes”, “so down to earth” etc. Then there will be examples like “remember that one? That one was one of his best!”, somebody cuts in the middle “No way, this one is even better” and it goes on. The ultimate conclusion would be that this deceased artist was a great one! (even though no one cared to mention it ever anywhere during his lifetime!)
A great person dies! I take the example of Mr. Rajesh Khanna. For those who don’t know him, he was one of the greatest of his time in the Indian Film Industry. For such people, funeral parties aren’t limited to their home. All over the country people and fans mourned when he passed on. TV channels were swamped with newsreaders and panellists discussing the topics, “This is a huge loss for the country”, “This is a huge loss for the Indian film Industry”, “He was such a great person!” and lastly concluding with “He was the best!” .Recently he had shot an ad for “Khaitan Fans”. Channels could not stop blabbering about what an ad it was, who was the director, who was the cameraman and ultimately, what a popular ad it was! Truly speaking I didn’t know about that ad until Rajesh Khanna died. On the next few days newspapers were full of his biographies by people supposedly close to him. The attention and adulation he got after his death overshadowed the attention Mr. Bachchan commands right now. Even though Mr. Bachchan is the star of the millennium and he is still an active part of the Indian film industry. I am full of respect for both of these mega stars and I don’t mean to compare. I am just pointing out a funny aspect of the public mindset.
For the public