Bury me deep and grow a tree,
Bearing fruits, bitter-sweet like me.
And when it’s flowers bloom,
In its lingering fragrance,
You’ll remember me,
And I’ll be truly free!
The idea of dying or death is daunting. How, when, where, why it’ll happen, we don’t know, but we try to make it our business to understand. We work as hard as we can to delay it, avoid it and even ignore it. We prepare for this event as if we can plan it. But when it comes and how it arrives, is always shocking, taking us by surprise, often leaving us in the wake of pain, debt and unresolved bits. We cannot accept that we don’t really hold the reins of life.
We grow anxious, are over cautious, take every precaution possible. We never see it as ‘freeing.’ So steeped are we in the material worlds, defending our cocoons and comforts that the idea of death, though a very natural and an eventual outcome, gives us sleepless nights. We fret, frown, fiddle, never sitting still, waging a futile war.
Clearly, I am going through a bout of insomnia as I write this post on ‘death’ and not ‘dying.’ I assure you, there is a difference and this is a positive post!
As the greatest wizard in the history of magic and muggles said “"After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure,” death is just another chapter. It is the unknown only because we don’t know it. It is inevitable.
I don’t want to be cremated - reduced to ashes. This is not out of fear of being burnt or from the thought of never seeing my people again, for the dead are unfeeling. But I think of cremation as a waste; so much wood or electricity and other resources wasted. Of course, fire is purgatory, burning every toxicity, impurity, flaws, etc., to be returned to dust. But then it’s just dust. Quite useless. As living beings, we create enough mess, pollution, and wastage so why not forgo this in death?
If I were to be buried (against Hindu customs I know but then, do the dead have a religion?), I want to be buried deep within the earth. I don’t want a casket or any kind of box. I want to be sowed with a seed, seed of a fruit-bearing tree. So, when the tree grows me, nourishing itself from what is left of my physical self, it can live on, bear fruits, smell pleasant, offer shade. I’d like to think that a squirrel or two would choose this tree as a home. It can sway in the breeze, brave the winds, smell the earth and soak itself when it rains or shines.
If my better half happens to read this, he is going to throw a fit and sulk for days. This is no eulogy nor is this idea marked in stone. But I’d like to think of it as a possibility. Going back to the earth, dust and all, and rising again in another form.
And I am not the only one thinking this as there are people who want to look at burial and cremation in an eco-friendly way – turning to human bodies into compost is a real thing. A firm called Recompose is making this a reality. Re-composting a human body is based on the fact that our body has nutrients that can contribute to the richness of the soil. So why not let a tree nourish itself via us after we die as we take nourishment from its fruits while we live?