The entire village stood speechless as the coffin was carried through the vast ruck till it reached the old tiled kutcha house. A feeble, hunched and elderly woman sat across the narrow threshold of her little home waiting for her grandson's corpse. The woman was in her late nineties. She always kept her eyes closed or barely open. Behind her stood an young man around 20years who stood holding the spade.He was wearing a khadhi half-white worn-out dhothi. His eyes were moist and he trembled with sorrow over the death of his beloved brother.
The old woman curiously walked towards the coffin that was draped with the national flag. Everybody's eyes were set on her movements. She held his cheeks in her palms narrowed her blurred vision on his face, stared a bit longer and slowly turned away mumbling something to self. She sat back on the stone seat on the front still.
The village thashildar(leader who takes major decisions on behalf of the village) stepped out of the crowd, addressing the crowd he said "My heartfelt condolences to Laxmamma and her family. We mourn the death of our brave-son Sandeepa on the war field. An amount of Rs.10,000 would be given as a compensation for the family's loss, though I know it cannot fill the loss." He bent towards the woman streching his hand that held the bundle of money.
The old woman sat still without any reaction. He shrugged her shoulders and placed the money on her lap. She slowly touched bent down, scraped through the currency notes and stood up with the help of her stick. She turned back at her younger grandson and signalled him to come ahead. She slowly held his hand with her skinny, dark old hands and said
"My grandson's death is more of a pride to the country and my family than a loss. No money or valuables can repay his charm or equal his dedication.
He needs Salutes, not Sympathy.
We see Pride, not Plight.
He gave his Courage, you give him Condolences.
Take back your money. We want to lead a life with pride than this tentative and materialistic fame and care."