Sunday, September 11, 2016

'The Sanchayanam'.

Today was mom's sanchayanam. The PN Panicker family was complete except for a few absentees, who'd reasons to be away. The day had begun early as the entire lot had to finish their bath and therefore, many were up and about, going about their chores by about a half past 4!

Mani had come around at his usual time and we'd embarked on the 'bali' soon after. The offerings were ready which had takers in a few crows and sparrows, with the woodpecker majestically, amidst them! The guests had begun to arrive by a quarter to 8 and soon after, the executive committee members of the local Nair Service Society's 'karayogam' had descended to help Mani, my 'sa'arthi' to navigate through the day's proceedings.

It's on the sanchayanam day that the following take place:-

    (a) The ashes(A charred piece of bone, to be precise) are sifted out from the cremation spot, from
          the areas of the head, the abdomen and the feet.
    (b) Each of the three pieces is washed thoroughly with cow's urine, tender coconut water, milk,
          curd and rose water and deposited into the small earthenware pot. Burning incense sticks and
          flowers were also put along with it.
    (c) The cremation spot is covered with mud to make a longish mound where the following were
          planted - tender turmeric saplings at the head, a coconut sapling at the abdomen, a specific
          variety of Colocasia Esculenta, its botanical name but commonly known as 'taro', at the feet
          with a wide variety of grains sprinkled all over the mound.

It was an emotional experience to sight the charred pieces of bones lying scattered all over the surface of the shallow patch, where mom's pyre had been lit, six days ago. The towering personality and the small bundle of intense activity, that was my dear mom, had been reduced to small, charred pieces of bone! The earthenware pot, wrapped in red silk, was lowered into a hole in the earth, beside a jack tree and a piece of sugarcane, that I'd used as a walking stick just before,

It will be this earthenware pot, with mom's ashes, that will be taken for immersion at the Papanasam, at Varkala on the 17th day after the cremation.


1. A lot many people, including relatives, had taken part in the two hour ceremony after which, I 'd gone around thanking everyone for their presence, with folded hands.

2. The guests left after breakfast, the immediate family after lunch leaving our small family to ourselves. A wick was lit - at sunset - at the spot where my mom's ashes-in-the-earthenware-pot was secured.

3. Rathnavalli teacher, had sent her son and family to offer her condolences. Damn sweet of her!

4. Earlier, in the morning, I'd silently gone time wise through the happenings of last Sunday and reminded the family at 1158 hrs that it was at this time that the hospital staff had tried to revive mom but to no avail!!


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