A bird pooped on his head. He shook his head and looked up. A pigeon was sitting atop the tree and his incessant trilling broke the deafening silence of the summer noon. Drenched in sweat, Baba Rakkha, was busy uprooting weeds from the graves. He would sit beside the graves and pray for the dead ones; and knew one day he would be buried in the same soil, tons of soil.
A behemoth Neem tree canopied almost half a dozen graves of the same family. At times, a relative of deceased would pay a visit to graves, pray for his beloved ones, sprinkle water and spread rose petals on the graves. He would often help baba secretly, a matter between him and Allah.
The graves were enclosed by iron railings, bougainvillea vines entwined the rusty bars. Flowers bloomed, wilted and withered away the way humans are born, reached adolescent, gained maturity and after reaching neighborhood of eighties or nineties, energies are finally sapped out of them and they perished, and returned to the soil when the time came. Baba had been there since his childhood when his father was himself a gravedigger. He knew nothing but cleaning and digging graves.
You’re born out of clay and would be buried in soil.
He has observed life, its various phases. Few graves were never attended to except him, and not a single heir ever came to pay respect to the interred ones. He also witnessed bodies exhumed from the graves for autopsies. However, authorities never paid a heed to his complaints of bodies being robbed from the graves for other purposes. He shooed away stray animals marauding day and night in the graveyard.
Baba instilled in his kids the virtue of humility and morality. He would often tell his children weird stories about voices from the graves. How they implored him to rectify his life and made his kids to be on a righteous path? He would say that you’re born out of clay and would be buried in soil. His kids knew it was nothing more than his inner voices, taking a toll on his mind when he was on a verge of making journey to eternal abode.