A huge mass of people – his followers – had gathered to pay their last respects. Some sobbed; some screamed in grief; while some coughed heavily to suppress their snorts at the ongoing drama.
“Such a noble soul,” mumbled a man to the journalist.
“True. His teachings have always been punny…I mean…funny…no…sorry, my tongue works with a mind of its own sometimes,” he said, trying hard not to laugh.
The man shot him a dirty look. “Swami Chithyananda is a legend. It’s our good fortune that he chose to shed his mortal being when in India.”
“Right. Not in an American island where Chitti escaped to,” sniggered the journalist.
Amidst all the commotion between the restless mob and the police officers cordoning off the area where Chithyananda’s body lay, nobody noticed the white speck floating high among the clouds.
“You, Chitti, come with me,” echoed a hoarse voice through the sky.
The speck immediately transformed into Chithyananda in a ghostly translucent form. “Oh, aren’t you Yama, the God of Death? Is the great Chithyananda dead already?” The spectre waved its hands in disbelief.
Yama rolled his eyes and sighed. “Been a tiring day, Chitti. And…I DON’T tolerate nonsense. Get that? I’ll have to send you to Heaven and set off on my next assignment.”
“So says your Karmic calculations, unfortunately.” Yama shook his head in exasperation.
“But…but…Earth is home. My life. It runs in my blood. Let me go back,” Chithyananda’s spectre howled in despair.
“SILENCE! For starters, you neither have blood nor life, Chitti. Secondly, you can’t go back to Earth ever. It pains me to say…but, the fact is you’ve attained salvation,” informed Yama flinching at his declaration.
“Nooo! Why me?” shrieked the spectre.
“Because you’d made people laugh. Yes, laugh at your expense. Apparently, your sins were overpowered by the joy your words had spread,” Yama harrumphed. “My assistant will explain further. Now, off you GO!”
Chithyananda’s spectre vanished.
“I’m Chithragupta, Lord Yama’s Chief Secretary, and the Karmic Book Keeper and Accounts Manager.” Yama’s assistant introduced himself to Chithyananda’s ghost.
“I’m in you. You’re in me. How similar are our names!”
“Knowing your antics on Earth, I should’ve expected that response.” Chithragupta massaged his forehead preparing himself for more of it.
“Talking of Earth, please let me go home. This place…well…I can’t survive here. Too pure for my own good,” cried his ghost retching at the pristine surrounding.
“Strange! Don’t the earthly souls long for the heavenly abode?”
“That’s because they think their lives on Earth are miserable and the place, corrupt and filthy. But, I…” Chithyananda’s spectre grinned and spread its hands dramatically, “I thrive on their misery.”
“Tch! That makes me wonder if I’d made a mistake in your calculations…”
“Probably,” the spectre shrugged. “Anyway, can I visit Earth for one last time?”
“NO. Period. You may call it your hiraeth now,” smiled Chithragupta dreamily.
“Hira, who? Movie star?” Chithyananda’s spectre glowed with happiness.
“Oh, forget it.” Chithragupta walked away in a huff.
Borrowed word – Hiraeth
Language of origin – Welsh
Meaning – A deep longing for something, especially one’s home that you cannot return to.
Author’s Note: This is a work of fiction and the author has exercised creative liberty with the characters and the plot. The author has no intention to offend or upset anyone’s beliefs.