Sunday, November 2
Lighthouse Beach, 17:50
Neither of us got much sleep last night. This has always happened on the second or third night in India, and it is made worse this time by the strange and sad nature of our visit.
We got up and had breakfast while rain poured down into the lake. Afterwards we prepared the candles for this evening, and Irma left with Babu for the flower market. The swami had said that the temple could provide us with some flowers, and Molly had said her son would make some garlands, and apparently Anib is sending a large garland. We have no idea how this is going to end up.
The puja itself is beautiful. The rain has stopped and we set up on the beach by Leo – the beach restaurant in front of which Auo and Naa used to play frisbee. Irma writes Auo’s name in the sand with our names underneath. I add the dates of her birth and death, and Irma draws a big heart round it all. She starts filling in all the lines with flowers and others arrive and join in. Soon it is a community activity. There is a noticeable wind and the candles are reluctant to light but after several efforts by everyone present we have them lit just before sunset. Irma sings a song in Finnish and says a prayer. I make a few remarks to explain what we are doing to the small crowd that has gathered, to bring Auo back to life in our minds, and to end the ceremony.
The ceremony is sad but beautiful. I will feel calm and peaceful until I turn round just as it ends and look at the sea. For some reason this sight brings everything back to me, and I will walk down to the edge of the waves crying, and stand there for five minutes or so not exactly remembering Auo as much as experiencing what it was like to be here with her. Tears will roll down my face until I eventually turn round again and walk back to rejoin the group.
Anu will decide to sit on the beach guarding the flower writing and the candles, and making sure nobody steps inside the space.
We will go to Leo and eat. I will have fish masala and Irma will have chicken. We will discover that they will be closed from tomorrow for redecoration. If we hadn’t have gone now we would never have gone. There must be a moral in that somewhere.