Thursday 20 May 2021

A Death & A Funeral : A Poem

dear smartphone

thank you

for being there


for giving us

that last glimpse

of the dying one

shot by docs

weary ward docs

or resigned nurses

last moments

"Take me home, son!"

"Yes, ma!" 

he lied, she knew


crucial goodbyes

helpless, ruthless

necessary goodbyes


phone, you let us


all night, all day

Apart from each other

but together 

over your lines

shock, numb

at first. 

Then, resignation

crying, weeping


the Lost one


When did you see her last?

When did you meet her last?

Whose wedding? 

Which funeral?

Oh, she was so well, then!

Just three days ago, 

she was fine!

The Lost one.


phone, you allowed us

to grieve together

while far Apart


and now, phone

you let us

be part of what we couldn't


The Last rites

A funeral

Two attendees

One, the Son 

conducts rituals

a pseudo ceremony

the other, a relative

records the proceedings

broadcasts on WhatsApp


phone, you let the Father

watch his son

bid goodbye

to the mom 

wife, grand-mom


phone, you let the Daughter

scream in anguish

from abroad

she got to watch

before and after

phone, thanks 

for your zoom feature

such clarity too!

we got to watch

large labels

stuck on her body

Admitted on:

Death on:

scribbled dates and times

block letters

another record, a number

and of course, her face

if only a blurry face

through the tiny glass

of a mortuary van

an attender glances

at his watch

"Hurry, I've got more

to shift

to cremate, 

so many more

in the queue."

Last rituals 

a coconut, broken in halves

a lamp wick, flame trembles

some camphor lit

on a small rock -

a makeshift aarti

a flower or two

a murmured teary prayer

ceremony conducted

to the door

of a death van

closed, of course.

no hugs, no kisses

no touching, oh no.

from far, six feet at least.

customs followed

not customarily, of course.

we sniff, muffle sobs

wipe tears


over weak networks

"Stay strong"

that done & dusted mantra

Stay Strong

no choice


phone, you let us watch

and grieve

safe at home


in surreal shells of woe


stay-home goodbyes

stay-home funerals

what next, phone?

still shuddering,

anything more?


you let us 

grieve together

while far apart


Thank you, smartphone.



  1. Such hear wrenching poem just showcasing the bare truth of what we see before us today . You have beautifully captured all the emotions so well. Bravo !

    1. Thank you, it was cathartic for me to put this down.

  2. Heavy one indeed ! Too heavy rather, all of that would surely have swamped and sunk us too deep, but for the 'distant smartphone' in our own hands.

    1. Yes, much as we regret the technology that has engulfed our lives, they are blessings in disguise too.