Friday, September 28, 2007

A Condolence Meeting

Condole /k ndol/- • verb (condole with) express sympathy for.
— ORIGIN Latin condolere ‘grieve or suffer with’.
Condolence- • noun an expression of sympathy, especially on the occasion of a death


Tell me, can one condole death? Going by Oxford’s definition given above if you are expressing or offering sympathy then there should be something or some other person at the other end to receive it. But how can you have sympathy for something, which does not have any existence any longer?
Hmm, you know, I attended a meeting called to condole the death of a colleague. Already I have such bad rep of being ‘standoffish, snooty and aloof’, that I did not want to give others another chance to confirm this opinion they have about me. I went with depressing thoughts about death and all. How can you condole death? It’s a horrible thing. Shouldn’t it be the other way round? Death should have some sympathy and leave the living alone!!
At the meeting everybody spoke about this colleague who had died all of a sudden and conveyed his/ her condolences to the kith and kin of the deceased! It was really getting at me quite badly.
There is something about phoniness. It can be very depressing. I cannot stand phony people. I mean, if you are good at being phony, its another thing. But what is depressing is that many people don’t know that they are phony and hence they are so terribly bad at it. To see people fooling themselves with the idea that they are being really good is terribly depressing. Its like meeting those people who act busy even though they have been asked to sit on the bench. Its like seeing people engrossed in work trying hard to make you feel that they are doing something important even though they are just checking for typos in some stupid letter.
But some people can really impress you with their phoniness. Boy, they can make your eyes twinkle with pleasure! There was this lady who was doing a good job of her speech of condolence at the meeting. And I was beginning to feel, ok not bad but she messed it all up by saying that she really missed the opportunity of working under this person whose death we were condoling in the meeting! What a terrible thing to say! How can anybody in his/her right senses want to work ‘under’ anybody and also say it openly?

While it was still on, I started imagining what they would say if I suddenly died. You never know, I might also die very prematurely. This has been a constant thought with me since childhood after I learnt that many great people starting with Sankara died very young . I know, all people who die young may not be great. But, still. I used to imagine during school days what the teachers would say about me during the prayer time when they would hold two-minute silence and pray for my soul to rest in peace.
So at this condolence meeting I started imagining the same. It was getting so depressing that I could laugh.

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