Write Your Own Epitaph


How we would like to say that we live our lives on our own terms. We do as we please and there’s no one who can tell us what to do. But is that really so? Aren’t we always being told – directly or indirectly – what we should do?

It starts right from the time we get out into the world – all tiny, helpless and bloody.

‘Go get him cleaned’, the doctor instructs. Why? I want to be with my mother. I don’t want to get cleaned up.

Eat this food, it’s good. What if I don’t want to? Why can’t I eat whatever I want to? I want mangoes for breakfast and not milk.

Hold the fork in your left hand and the knife in you right hand. Why? Again a rule? What if I feel comfortable holding it in the reverse manner? Why can’t I at least try it out?

You must attend a singing and a dancing class. You are a girl! How can you want to play football instead? Really? Seriously?

A co-ed school is not good. You should stay amidst girls. Why? Why isn’t it good? You don’t trust me? Or your upbringing?

You must cut your hair short. Long hair is so difficult to tie up early in the morning before your school. Why? You can’t do this much?

You can’t enter the place of worship. You have your periods. So? Don’t you know why we get these periods in the first place? Would you rather that I didn’t have any at all? And, well, if I can’t pray when I’m on my menstrual cycle, then I don’t want to at all. My choice. Let’s see you changing it.

No, no don’t become a lawyer. Women lawyers don’t get married. Now, who ever said that I wanted to get married?

Don’t wear that dress. It’s calling for too much attention. So? I want the attention! Oh yes! The men. I have to be careful of those idiots who can’t control their hormones.

How can you go out with your friend, it’s supposed to be our date night. Again decisions have already been made.

You will have to stay with your husband after marriage. Even if it means giving up your flourishing career. Long distance marriage is unheard of if our family.

But that position doesn’t turn me on. You need to be below me baby! You got to be kidding! Even in today’s age?

Oh no! You are a girl. Please don’t say you will drive that car of mine. It’s not even insured. Damn you!

I’m sure I can push harder and get the baby out. Then why are you preparing for a caesarian? At least give me a chance.

How can you keep the baby with a nanny? You need to be around all the time. Well, you had relatives to look after your kids during their grown up days and so you didn’t quite understand how strenuous it can get. Why must I then be around 24 hours without any respite?

You need to breastfeed the baby exclusively for six months! To hell with rules! Those who don’t do so, do their children not grow up?

Why haven’t you toilet trained the child yet? You were trained at two and she’s already four. Just in case if you haven’t noticed, we are different human beings. This time around I’m the mother and I decide.

How are you going out on your own? Aren’t you married? Right! So marriage means I can’t roam the streets on my own?

Basically it is never-ending. And all so familiar. Not much changes between families and generations. Some things just stay. Even if it shouldn’t.

Thank god at least we are allowed to write our own will. Well, at least some privileged ones are. The others have ‘over civilized’ offsprings breathing down their parent’s neck coercing him to do things unwillingly in this case too.

Then again, probably this is not as bad as this last part. Even after death our wishes are not really our wishes. The writing on our epitaph is what the family members write. What they think we would like written. But would they even know? Why can’t writing one’s own epitaph before he passes on be made mandatory?

As for us Hindus, we are even better. No time is ever wasted in lighting up the pyre.  Epitaph? What epitaph? That’s unheard of. What remains is just a picture with a garland. What if the person doesn’t like a sandalwood garland? Or the yucky white coloured ones made of tube-rose? What if he wants one that is made of blue orchids?


3 thoughts on “Write Your Own Epitaph

  1. Aditi Bose says:

    Feeling sad when you want something is being fatalistic. We might not have an epitaph in the real sense of the word, but there are ways to tell people what our last words are. Yes, your blog could be one 🙂 A message behind the picture you want garlanded is another. There are temples where families engrave ‘in memory of’ in marble slabs which are then put up…. But tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day… let this be for now… I want you to smile my dearest friend.


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