People say that a father in a family is a library and that the children can learn a lot from him. True. I have learned many life lessons from my father.

Once he took me to my friend’s house. This friend of mine was a classmate who had died of brain fever! My father had briefed me what to say and what not, and how to speak to express my condolences. “When you want to express
your condolences to a bereaved family, there are certain unwritten practices that you have to follow. First and foremost, mind your dress. Do not dress up attractively. At the same time you need not wear black dresses, because it is not the funeral you are attending.

“Second, when you speak to express your deep condolences, look straight at the person you are talking to. Do not look at the ceiling, or at the wall opposite. Some people keep their palms open and gaze at it while speaking. And they even enquire how that person had died and what remedial actions the relatives of the deceased had taken, and at times, go to the extent of suggesting some ways that could have saved that person. This is one hell of a thing to do! Never find fault.

“Even if what you are going to say is true, it is not correct to point out the mistakes after the tragedy had happened. It would certainly hurt the already grieving person. Remember, the person you are talking to, had encountered an irreparable loss. Nothing else would substitute the loss, but some soothing words. As they say, only “Time may heal all the wounds.”

“Finally, say a few words about the deceased, to Praise, but do not flatter. Quote one or two events or incidents how you and the dead had met, or how he had helped you when you deserved help, and his good advice to you and so on. However, do not mention a word about your help to him. Before parting, tell them that they could contact you should they need your help.”