Sunday, 8 March 2009

L'ironie du sort!

 Les seules bonnes copies sont celles qui nous font voir le ridicule  des méchants originaux.

           A maxim of Duc de Rochefoucauld


15 years of toil for Lakhdar, day and night, devotion, diligence, and assiduity. Add whatever you like of that lexis, they will always tally with dad’s persona.

 In the graveyard, the employer was lying at the foot of the employee. That’s what I discovered when I went to the cemetery for a requiem on my father’s soul... 

Cold stones covering dad’s fragile body with a Death Licence Plate showing his last name, his last date of birth and the fresh date of death. A date that is a stop mark for everything he did, for every breath he inhaled or exhaled…

At the foot of my father’s tomb, I read ‘Here reposes Lakhdar…’ My father’s boss lying under his feet! L’ironie du sort, say French people.

That sight gnawed into my peace of mind. Is that Equity in Death? Death is the only ungraduated scale on earth. Wealth, health, honour, power can’t adjudicate you higher. Death is death for everybody. The pharaohs, the kings, the emperors all suffered the same death. There is no death for this and another for that. Filling the sepulchres of old Egyptians with gems did not prevent their rotting.  Mummification was a devious attempt to allocate eternity to human bodies. In the graveyard titles vanish.

From dust to dust, all reduced to dust…How true! An idea  reiterated by all religions. Costumes, jewelleries, social worth cannot ornament your tomb or make it more luxurious.

But, who is lying under the feet of the other? Well, that’s after death but it is still a sign. Father died with no retirement pension, no annuity, no insurance…

I don’t bear anybody a grudge, but follow me and figure out. The D-day, death day, let’s stay here on earth, only a dozen people followed Lakhdar’s ruined corpse. A sully sight… The deluge was that day. Lakhdar’s haughtiness, his arrogance, his prestige, his money  have not driven people out of their miserable habitations to come and honor his corpse. After all, his own children, scattered all over the world have not honored him either.

My father’s procession was a success. All the healthy people in the village came to follow his corpse. The sunny day might have encouraged people to come and have a walk and enjoy the quietude of the cemetery, a luxury they cannot afford on other week days. Some have certainly used it as a motive to leave their workplace. The intention doesn’t matter, villagers will reiterate this to their kids,  “ Kbaier’s procession was like a market day”. (Kbaier is my father)

In the village, you can’t have that crowd save on market days. My father spent more than 50 years working to make ends meet, and left behind him a shabby type of habitation and eleven kids.  

1 comment:

  1. How touching and heart-comforting piece of writing .And it indicates how wonderful is this relationship between the father and his son . A grateful son paying tribute to his father .A wonderful father who lived his life with great honour and achieved his goal ( educating his own children and making of them the most respectable ones ).
    Nice , wonderful feelings that do not exist but rarely those days .
    And I liked that optimistic vision of death .Money , in fact , is not a bestower of honour . The honour and the love your father gained is because of his truthfulness , his loveliness with people , his hard work . Every sweat drop made your father the richest man on earth .