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The one advice every single self help book in the world seems to have is this: Imagine you are at your funeral. All the people who were important in your life have gathered together. One by one each of them gets up to speak a few lines about you. Now what would you like to hear them say? Now consider your actions. Are they good enough to elicit paeans of praise from everybody? And then we are advised to plan our life so that people will say what we would like them to say.

But if newspaper obituaries are anything to go by, then this is one thing that people shouldn’t worry about. Nobody seems to see anything negative in anybody once they die. All their sins seem to be washed off or are just hinted at. Qualities which they never possessed are bestowed on them.

The Indian express published an obituary of Namdeo Salubai Dhasal today. It ends with these lines: To this day the imagery he introduced into Marathi poetry remains path-breaking. How about an example of his imagery? Here you go:

These great intellectuals are roaming with blazing torches in their hands/ through lanes and bylanes, chawls and chawls/ claiming that they understand the darkness in our huts, where even rats die of hunger/ they are great like horny whores/ those who don’t know that there is darkness under their arses/ can exhibit coquettish excellence with ease.

Darkness under their arses. Heh. Such imagery.


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