No matter how much you hate someone during their lifetime, you are bound to suddenly develop a special respect for the person the moment they leave this temporal world. The bizarre sense of respect that arises among the people who know of the person’s death is almost equivalent to the respect people give to the saints and prophets, the only difference being the fact that this respect is much short-lived as compared to the respect for saints and prophets. And this veneration increases manifold if the death happens to be sudden and unexpected.

There are a lot of people who would testify how healthy the deceased was and how unexpected their death: "He was carrying a weighty tome and was walking down the street so swiftly when..." or "she had all four of the parathas in one go and burped so loudly, so cheerfully. So full of life she was!" or even "he was looking quite handsome in that dress, who knew he would wear the same to his coffin, how could he!"

For a day or two after the death, "adages" of the deceased circulate among the family members and close friends. "He used to say that this world is a funny place to live" a friend of mine told me about his uncle who had died in a car accident, "and that you cannot live happily unless you value happiness". These pearls of wisdom are usually trite and clichéd statements which are otherwise not given any importance. "His father told me that you must respect your parents and teachers if you want to be a successful person in your life" told my friend, in a mushy way, about the father of another friend who had died of cancer. Who would otherwise give a damn about such statements! At times these maxims are totally crap, giving no sense of what the person might have had in their mind. For example, my cousin told me a saying of his grandfather after his Janaza prayer: "You cannot compare a Suzuki Mehran to a Dunhill cigarette if you are a fan of Abida Perveen." He looked awed at this piece of intellect, but I could not quite grasp its “hidden” message.

People spend much time thinking about the commendable deeds committed by the dead and to recount them movingly in front of an audience; each one of them would later come up with an awe-inspiring story of one's own. The stories are meant to portray everything that was good about the deceased ranging from "she gave several hundred thousand rupees to the poor in the neighbourhood over the period of her lifetime" to "he would always use his right hand to hold the spoon". Those who do not belong to the closer circle of the deceased and hence have not experienced anything mentionable, do not keep themselves away from taking part in this exaggeration competition. They attempt at projecting anything they have experienced with the deceased as an act of utmost good, making it more ludicrous. They come up with stories like: "I once hitched a ride in his car to my college. He would adjust the back view mirror after every minute or two although it was already adjusted. Such a man of principle he was!" or "when I entered the house she was busy knitting a sweater with pink wool. Just then she changed the wool to add a streak of purple. When I admired the combination she did not say a single word. She passed a gentle smile. She was so caring!"

There are people who venture into another interesting endeavour to highlight the saintly characteristics of the clairvoyant deceased. People narrate incidents which indicate that the deceased was quite aware that the time was near and that they were about to breathe their last. There happen to be a number of such signals for instance: "He was watching a Katrina Kaif's movie and looked quite overawed by the excessive display of boldness. After the movie ended, he took a deep breath and said: ‘72 Katrinas might be waiting for me in the paradise, who knows!’ He surely knew it was his turn" or "she cooked the family a delicious meal and everyone praised her cooking skills. She pocketed all the praise humbly and said softly, very softly: ‘who else would cook you such meals’ she knew she would no more be able to cook delicious meals for them" or "she asked the shopkeeper to give her the cheapest cloth for her shirt. The shopkeeper showed her the cloth and said that the cheap cloth was not long-lasting ‘who's going to wear it forever’ she quipped. She knew should was not going to wear it more than once" or "he liked mangoes very much and the day he died, he had over 2Kgs of mangoes". Here, again, are the people who do not know the deceased very closely but they still don’t fail to report their startling experiences: “He came to my office but he was in such a hurry to die that didn’t even had a cup of coffee with me” or "He was sitting in the lawn, looking at the trees like he was seeing them for the last time" or "he waved me goodbye in such a way that I felt it was the last goodbye"

Then there are assurances that the afterlife is totally blessed and the deceased is having a blast in the heaven. "He came to me in my dreams and he was wearing a bright golden robe, and was shining  like a star" or "she showed up in my dream with the same chocolate in her hand she always liked to have" or simply "I have a strong feeling he must be very happy up there!"

All of this is fine. But these people deserve the same respect and love when they are in this world - when they can feel and enjoy all of it!