Traffic for 2011 May 23 (entry 0)

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[Comments] (3) the office: I can learn a lot at the office. Today we had someone cancel a team meeting because of a death in the family. The email said something about how she could not attend the meeting in an hour because her uncle had expired, she just found out, and needed to rush to the funeral. This had me all sorts of confused.

After I calmed down a bit (this person caused me other busy season trauma) I asked a fellow Indian manager what to think of this. Apparently same day funerals do occur, if the family is all nearby, because they do not normally preserve the body. If you miss the funeral of a family member, you may be ostracized thereafter.

My driver attended the funeral of a friend who was cremated, I told him. And the ashes were put in the river 3 days later. So what was that about? Apparently when someone dies unnaturally, it is a bad omen, so the body is normally cremated and the ashes scattered in an attempt to quell some of that bad luck. My driver's friend was hit by a motorcycle. I guess this impedes this person's ability to have a good afterlife. You'd think Indians would be less cavalier with their driving, given this information, but alas they are not. A cremation also requires a government official to sign off, which normally requires a bribe.

So apparently same-day funerals are a go (not sure how you prepare a plot so quickly), cremations are for the otherwise doomed, and employees are given a lot of leave to accommodate the local culture. I remember when Frances died I think they gave me two days; never mind that I actually had to very actively participate in the funeral arrangements (including spending the night at Kinko's re-doing funeral programs because Anne thought Alan was a Richardson). Some of the perks the people are allotted here make me crazy, because the same perks are not afforded us in the US, and we do the same hard work they do here. I'm glad they get the nice perks, I just wish we could have them in the US as well (ie casual Friday, more generous leave policy, more team outings). Indeed the cost of doing business here is more than just a cheaper salary.

Given all the above, it appears that the outlook on death is more grim here than it is for my culture (ie LDS culture, not necessarily US culture) and I suppose for that I am grateful. The manner of death, for example, has very little to do with your actual pie in the sky.


Posted by Rachel at Mon May 23 2011 10:35

that's strange. I thought cremations were a really common Hindu thing, or is that in north India (I'm thinking of the Ganges)?

Posted by John at Mon May 23 2011 20:17

We both thought so too. Susie's comment to me was "then where are all the cemetaries?" We have only seen Christian cemetaries so far.

Like I've mentioned before, to discover the truth, you normally have to query multiple people and blend their stories. The truth is out there....

Also, I was told that weddings and holidays are postponed for one year after a death. But what if multiple deaths keep occuring during this time, inevitably delaying the wedding, I asked? My coworker looked at me incredulously. That never happens, he assured me. Sure it doesn't.

Posted by Susie at Tue May 24 2011 22:49

I ditto querying multiple people and blending stories. Everyone else I've talked to thinks cremation is the way to go.

Each "nagar" has it's own cemetery, but they are small.


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