The ugliness and beauty of my “hometown” India

  A friend once told me that an immigrant will remain a foreigner until the person you love dies and is buried there. At that time, “foreign land” becomes “hometown”.
  Living in India for more than ten years, I have always enjoyed the relaxation and loneliness of being a foreigner. It was not until my cat died and was cremated in India last May that I deeply felt that “India” has become a heavy “hometown”. The ugliness and beauty of this place are no longer the topics of chat or writing after dinner, but the living reality of life, aging, sickness and death of oneself and the ones you love.
  I have two cats, a pair of brother and sister. They were cats of a friend. During the first wave of the new crown in 2020, my friend fled and returned to China, and the two cats were in trouble in my house. They stayed with me during the long lockdown. With them by my side, I never felt alone.
  At midnight one day in May last year, I heard a “bang” in the toilet in my sleep, and found Brother Mao lying on the ground, foaming at the mouth, and he left within hours of being sent to the hospital. I asked the doctor why? The doctor replied that it was inhalation poisoning. He said a series of names, and I heard the name of a floor cleaner I recently changed-“phenyl” in his mouth.
  The rainy season is coming, and the mosquitoes are increasing. A while ago, when I lived in South India, my neighbors often urged me to use a floor cleaner called phenyl that local people like to use. It is usually white and milky, sometimes green, yellow, black, with pine fragrance. In addition to cleaning the floor, it can also prevent mosquitoes and insects.
  During the rainy season that year, many black bugs appeared on the fence of the front yard. The neighbors poured phenyl directly on the wall, and the bugs disappeared quickly. I never thought that the thing that kills insects is poison. I thought that “local” “natural” cleaners must be better than big-brand chemical ones. Brother Cat loves the bottom of the bed, and I even stepped up the cleaning, unconsciously creating a gas chamber and taking away my love.
  There is Paws to Heaven, a crematorium specially set up for animals in Delhi, run by the non-governmental organization Pets Animal WelfareSociety. Although Delhi is a cruel city full of deceptions, the extremely marginal small world related to animals is alien, peaceful and warm. It seems that in this society with unequal classes, only the kind-hearted and marginalized people will engage in animal-related industries and take care of the wandering little lives that are lower than the bottom.
  The crematorium is located in the outskirts, simple and quiet, with an indoor machine burning site and an outdoor wood burning yard. There is a large statue of Lord Shiva indoors, where incense is offered. The receptionist was a solemn middle-aged man without much expression on his face. The cost of cremation is calculated according to the weight of the animal, 6000 rupees under 10 kg. When filling out the form, you can choose whether to collect the cremated ashes. If you want to collect the ashes the next day, they will put the ashes into a pottery basin with a small note on the mouth of the pot to write the name of the pet and the date of cremation. Fill in the form whether you want to be notified of the memorial day every year. If you tick it, they will send a text message every year to remind you. The crematorium not only helps you burn, but also helps you remember.
  A few days after the accident, I learned that my friend Manta’s puppy died suddenly of a heart attack while she was out. She also took the same route as me, from home to Max Vet, the only animal hospital in Delhi with a 24-hour emergency department, and then from the hospital to Paws to Heaven. I asked her if she had received ashes? She said yes, and asked what she would do. Manta said: “I was struggling, and my mood was half and half, but some people said that keeping his soul would refuse to leave, but I don’t want him to leave.” Hinduism on the passing of life The attitude is that he will leave, and will rarely leave the relics of the dead, at most, put the photos next to the gods to worship in the morning and evening.
  Unable to decide for a long time, Manta decided to scatter his ashes to Rishikesh, a spiritual holy place in the upper reaches of the Ganges River, a month later. Scattering the ashes in the Ganges is the most perfect destination for Hindus at the end of life.

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