On a cold December morning, Shyam Kumar Jain kept his date with history – the only man, perhaps, to announce his own death and even perform all the religious rituals.
And it all happened because of the unique date on Wednesday -- 11.12.13 – a rare sequential day on the Gregorian calendar which will not occur again for 90 years. The next such date will not occur till February 1, 2103 – 01.02.03.
“I wanted to make my last rites memorable and there could not have been a better day than 11.12.13,” said the 55-year-old bangle trader at his residence in Chaas town of Jharkhand’s Bokaro district.
There was no mourning though and all appeared quite happy including the ‘dead man’ himself.
Those who attended the unique shradhh ceremony included Jain’s mother, his wife and in-laws.However, his only son, a software engineer based in Bangalore, could not attend the ceremony though according to Jain tradition it is the son who has to perform the last rites of his father.
Jain’s daughter is also married and stays in another town with her husband.
The menu for the ceremonial feast included milk, dry fruits and chaat, a local delicacy of boiled potato served with tamarind sauce.
Interestingly, Jain’s list of invitees included his relatives from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal besides local residents.
The invitation card sent to them was titled ‘Antim Vidai Samaroh (farewell ceremony).
Guests said after performing the puja and other rituals, Jain even danced with ‘eunuchs’ while an orchestra performed in front of his house in the evening.
“Everyone has to perform all his responsibilities during his lifetime. I thought that I should perform my last rites as well,” Jain explained.
Though uncomfortable with such a radical idea, Jain’s mother had no other option but to join the occasion.
“I had no option as my son does what he wants. Since I could not prevent him I am taking part in it”.
A neighbour, RS Sharma – who was among those who attended the function -- said, “It is okay if Shyam wishes to perform his last rites in his lifetime”.
Jain had also celebrated the 10,000th day of his marriage in a grand way a few years back.
Though Jain’s choice was unique, he was not the only person to have been enamoured by the rare date.
In fact, thousands of couples around the country tied the knot on the day, sealing a lifelong association in a blaze of glory.