The Funeral by Ruskin Bond is a short story about a small boy’s father’s funeral. The boy is sitting in a dark corner and his face expressions are not visible to the mourners whether he is crying or silent. Two of his Aunts have refused him to attend the funeral. His mother left him years ago. Today, he has become an orphan – his father was his great friend with whom he used to share stories and go for long walks. The coffin is lying in another room. He is so silent that he is finding it hard to accept that his best buddy in the world has departed and soon he will be buried deep down in the earth. Soon, he will be put away in an orphanage and the cook and other servants of his home will be rendered jobless.
Soon, the coffin is taken away to the cemetery and mourners begin walking behind it. Some are going in cars. He walks at a distance. He hides behind a wall and sees the process – all he can hear the voice of padre Lal. The coffin is placed quite deep in the earth. He wonders how his father would come out. But he will come out somehow. This is the time when he starts thinking a lot about dead people and the cemetery. His main concern is that there should be a protocol so that dead can come out whenever they wanted to. Padre says to him that God has some work with his father, thus he has been called by him. The boy thinks about the work – what work God is looking from him. When the people leave the funeral, all are gone except the gardener and the cook, they are filling the soil around and over the grave.
The boy is crying silently. The day is misty, though there is no rain. He is walking down headed and he feels that like other days his father is walking beside him. So, he stretches out a hand for him. But there is no one. He remembers one of his father’s famous saying: Strongest is the man who stands alone.
He is alone but he does not feel strong. He is happy that due to mist people cannot see his face and tears in his eyes. Losing father at a very tender age is a matter of irreversible pain – orphans will surely be able to relate this story with their life. It is a heart-touching story…indeed.