Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Nuisance of the iPad at the Funeral

The hearse carrying the coffin, a sleek black Mercedes Benz broke down at the hill few meters from the home of the deceased. The hilly terrain coupled with the April long rains made the ascendance hard. We drove our car right behind another salon car that carried the widow and her two daughters and in front of them was the hearse. I rolled down the window on the left side to see what had happened to the hearse which had now pulled over. A splash of water, almost similar to that of a fountain sprinkled with force. I asked my dad who was driving our car what could be wrong. "The horse-pipe burst, there is no way it can move from there!" he told me with a dejected look. My mum, who sat quietly said almost cynically "He (the dead person) has refused to get home". According to some African traditional customs, the dead refuse to reach home and it has been explained with cases of break downs of cars, too much rain which impede vehicles from getting to the funeral on time and many other similar cases. 

The coffin was removed from the Mercedes Benz and put into a white Land Cruiser Pick-up which was carrying mourners. We got to the home of the deceased right on time. The funeral mass was being conducted by the brother of the deceased who is a priest. One surprising thing was this gentleman, slim and in casual wear who was taking pictures using his iPad camera. He walked around sometimes switching the iPad to video mode. The funeral was in a remote village of Kibosho, in the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. The villagers looked bemused at the iPad. The gentleman squeezed himself between a forest of people as he tried to take pictures and videos of the proceedings. He approached the casket and took pictures around as well as pictures of the bereaved family. 

As the casket was being carried to the grave after the funeral mass and eulogies, the gentleman went ahead of the procession and continued recording and taking pictures. Sad songs were sang as the priest performed the last rites before lowering the coffin into the grave. Not to miss a moment, the gentleman was at the grave site recording and taking pictures with his iPad. As the pall bearers lowered the coffin the gentleman continued doing just that. The iPad almost slipped from his hands and into the grave. He breathed a sigh of relief as he put his iPad into its casing.

I bet you have come across such people at other foras say at a wedding, in church and other public functions such as prize-giving days, graduations etc. The problem with taking pictures with the iPad camera is that people will think you are showing off especially where the gathering has people from all classes. There should also be an unwritten iPad etiquette law. For instance using it like that gentleman at the funeral should be discouraged.