Circa 1985 : Mr Ramalingam, one of the best quiz masters in Calcutta posed a question to me .” What in a news publishing house is called a “Morgue” ? I had no idea what in a news mill is a morgue. When I passed the question, he explained, “Its an area of newspaper office where obituaries ( Post death articles) of all living famous men are kept ready. The moment any living person dies, the content is just taken out and published “. What this means is, if you and I become famous, our obituaries, beautifully written will be kept ready to be published, the moment we die. However, this kind of readiness is not observed in reaction to deaths. We hear clever, banal cliches. Here are the top 5, I find interesting.
5. …X.. has been orphaned : This is very easy to use, you can say state is orphaned, organizations is orphaned, the cause is orphaned so on. If you are a sycophant of the biggest order, then you can say entire universe is orphaned. At an individual level, its just appropriate to say, I am orphaned. This cliche has one good characteristic : Its is scalable. Say tomorrow your janitor expires , you can say your commode is orphaned.
4. End of an era : This is like a slithery paploo which can fit in anywhere. What I mean is, unlike units in physics this era (or Yug in Hindi) is as formless as an Amoeba. You can have an era for almost any one. If Maunmohan dies, it will be an end of era, an Owl dies, it will be an end of an era, Panty Chaddhi’s death ended an era.
3. “Its a personal loss” : Now any body who has been mentioned in media or voiced any thought, can affect you in some ways. Somerset Maugham said – “Even if you throw a pebble in a pond, the universe is not the same any more “. Now if you see it philosophically, even that pebble when it was thrown in the pond, created ripples in water which traveled and gave you some joy. No second pebble can create exactly the same ripples at exactly the same place. Now, the loss of the silly pebble is a personal loss. So, you can ascribe any death as a personal loss. Even if I despise somebody, her death is a personal loss because now I have lost my favorite object of hate.You can use it for friends,foes, despicable creatures, lovely souls or any kind.
2. “Soul never dies, may it find peace”- This cliche is like rice, it can be eaten with almost everything dal, meat, fish, salt, spice,curry,poultry, piggery,milk etc. Use it when you have been attacking a person through out the life. Aaloo Yadav used recently used it when one of his biggest bete noire expired. This is such a neutral and castrated version of death reaction that your supporters who will not be antagonized ( Because you praised your adversary in death) and the departed soul’s followers will not be irked.
1. “S/he has left a hole.. cannot be filled ” : This is the most amazing cliche’.The hole can defined of any size. As very big, even as big as the ‘Black hole’, it can be defined as ‘void’, it can be defined as “Suraakh” ( Hindi for hole ). I am yet to see somebody define it as “Chhed ( a small hole ). The general rule is: it can be any hole as long as its not an ass hole. Now this hole besides size and type also needs a definition of its life. It can be a long time before it can be filled, it can be ages before it can be filled or if you are a super sycophant you can say – this hole, the gaping hole can never be filled.. Just like stars, these bloody gaping holes left are innumerable. They are never supposed to be filled. Some Gandhi, whenever s/he dies, leaves these kind of holes irrespective of what she did or how she died. Its always that bloody haunting hole created in this Universe never to be filled. I do not know what purpose these holes serve and what we are supposed to do about them. Yesterday, Red Black Sadvani defined one such hole. I appeal to all such creators of hole to be considerate about the universe. Recycle the old holes and inform us when the hole left by so and so is now filled.. The unfillable holes are becoming too many.
So next time, you hear of death, you may like to refer to this small list and pick up an appropriate and politically correct cliche’. Just the way being a revolutionary has been screwed. :