Thursday, July 29, 2004

When suicides go wrong!

I've just read in the Peterborough Evening telegraph this very interesting headline:

Man dies trying to kill himself 
I laughed when I read it. It seems a bizarre headline to have. But when you read the story it makes sense.  The victim suffered a heart attack whilst preparing to hang himself.   It wasn't suicide at all but death from natural causes.  Perhaps God didn't want his wife to miss out on the insurance claim. He had the flex round his neck, but hadn't managed to tie it off, before his heart failed.
Pete the grave digger was back today, waiting for Mrs Dakin.  He'd got it all lovely. The mound of red earth dug from the grave, was covered in a sheet of fake grass.  The sides of the grave were all boarded up with sheets of plywood. This gave the effect of the coffin going down like a lift, instead of going down into the ground. No creepy crawlies to be seen,  no tree roots poking out the sides to spoil the harmony. It was all sterile and clinical.  The mourners arrived in their black suits led by the vicar in his white cassock. The vicar said a few words and held out a little shovel of symbolic earth for the mourners to throw onto the coffin. Two minutes later they were gone. Off to the wake to down a few sherries.  This left Peter to shake off the mud from his fake grass. take out the boards, and start filling in. A small wooden cross was placed at the head of the grave, pending the arrival of the headstone. There was no wailing and gnashing of teeth, the mourners didn't beat their chests and throw themselves prostrate into the mud. It was all very civilised and sombre. Typically British. "Bloody good innings!"
It's all very different abroad. A friend of mines sister went to India on holiday. She went down with dysentry and died very quickly of dehydration.  My friends family were informed that their daughter was dead. By the time they had jumped on the next plane and got to india, all that was left was a pile of ashes.  In that heat there was no time for a post mortem as they had no refrigeration facility, so they did what was the custom; get rid of the body fast.
The most difficult thing for the family to comprehend  was that their daughter, who was a perfectly fit young lady, got ill, died, and was cremated all in the space of three days.
All this talk about death is getting me down so I'd better tell you a funny story. This same friend of mine was walking past my shop and she stopped to say "hello." Her name is Pervinda, as you may guess from her name she is a seikh.  We were chatting in the street and this guy said to Pervinda, "It's alright for you you must be used to this heat."
"You know. Coming from where you come from.  This heat would be nothing to you."
"What Luton?"
"Aren't you from India?"
"No!" she said "I've never been to India I was born in Luton, been here all my life."
And finally a quote from the Peterborough evening telegraph of last week. Following disturbances at the weekends Anand Mela between Pakistanis and Kurds A pakistani was quoted to have said "These Kurds, they come over here taking our jobs, taking over our neighbourhood, why don't they go back to their own country?"  It's almost as funny as when, in a small town just outside Glasgow, I met an Indian shop keeper, who addressed me in the following fashion "A'right Jimmy." I was somewhat taken aback and when I thanked him for supplying a certain brand of coffee, he replied "Nae bother!" 


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