Thursday, May 01, 2008

Strange Timing

Arriving back in London was a depressing experience.

I love London. The place is full of life. It has the sights and sounds that I love. But I was only transiting through. There was no time to savour any of it.

I said my goodbyes to Maya and Adam and soon I was on a plane to Hong Kong.

The last leg of my trip.

The timing of it turned out to be strangely appropriate.

It was, it turned out, ten years since my grandfather had died.

In Hong Kong, there are so many people and there is so little land. Only some are lucky enough to be buried after death, with most merely being cremated immediately. However, in a bizarre ritual, most of those who are buried do not stay buried. Instead, they are only buried for ten years or so before there bodies are exhumed and their bones are cremated.

This time had come for my grandfather's bones.

Taking my old grandmother to the burial site, those of the family who could come stood silently as the coffin was lifted and his bones were removed.
The feeling was almost surreal. The surroundings were stunning, the breeze was cool, the sun was bright.

In the distance I could hear a Buddhist monk ringing some bells.
My grandmother wept quietly as I led her down the hill for the last time.

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