Dhekiakhowa (Jorhat), Dec. 21: Fifteen-year-old Angshuman sat with a stoical gaze as the barber began tonsuring his head ó a ritual that precedes a Hindu shraddh ceremony.
His tears had dried. As had the flames that engulfed his fathers pyre. He had tugged with his might at his fathers belt two days before, but the beast simply refused to let go.
As the barber turned to Arunav, his younger brother, and a chorus of wails pierced through the Bezbaruah home, Angshuman looked away.
Two hundred people had gathered the night before to pay their last respects to 50-year-old Jayprakash Bezbaruah, before his body was consigned to flames.
His family ó his widow, two sons and a relative ó reached here last night by road.
A stupefied silence pervaded the Bezbaruah home today, as if still trying to come to terms with the ghastly truth.
Jayprakash was the fifth among seven brothers.
Sarat Bezbarua, the eldest brother, said though the funeral was planned to be held this morning, priests advised not to keep the body beyond 48 hours. So we had to cremate him late last night, he said.
Throughout the day, Bezbaruahs widow, Rupa, sat in a corner of the house, as though oblivious to the world around her.
Neighbours prayed at the bornamghar, a Vaisnavite temple the township is famous for.
A post-exam treat trip for children had ended with a tiger tearing off Bezbaruahs arm in Guwahati zoo.
This little town had not heard of a stranger mishap.