While paying her last respects to Shammi Kapoor who passed away last week, actress Madhuri Dixit was quoted as saying "He was a very fine actor and will truly be missed,”
Considering that Shammi Kapoor had been bed-ridden for many years, and had not acted for many more, that statement makes no sense. His ‘acting’ would have been missed- if at all-after his retirement. Death cannot be cited as the reason for his not acting. If he had continued to live on, he was unlikely to get back to his swashbuckling not-to-be-missed roles.
The ‘will-be-missed’ phrase is so clichéd and when used in the passive voice rings completely insincere. Will be missed by who? When in the future? How long?
Yet, I realized that bereavement evokes irrational responses.
Returning home today after attending the funeral of a cousin, I found myself reminiscing about the days, decades back, when we spent hours playing cricket or badminton or just shared some jokes. Yes, I am certainly going to miss him, I grieved.
This cousin was not snatched away at an early age. He had been ailing for some time, and the last instance both of us played cricket or badminton together was 25 years back. Had he not died today, would we have got back to playing those games? Impossible. Would we have got back to our exchange of jokes? Sadly, no. He had ceased to be a sparkling conversationalist, some years back. So, what is it that his death has caused me to miss afresh? What is it that I am deprived of now that I wasn’t a week back?
I don’t know.
But, at least, I used the cliché in its active voice.