Part of my schooling (from class V to VIII) was done at Kollam (the erstwhile Quilon) under the guardianship of my maternal grandparents and my mother’s youngest sister. I had my younger brother,Renji(officially David) for company. My parents were convinced that we brats would be ‘taken care of’ better at their mother’s home! It was the usual practice among Christian families to express love and respect for the departed by visiting their graves in the cemetery, place some flowers, and relive their memories by recalling old tales on their death anniversary. The death anniversary of my grandfather’s brother drew neigh. We decided to accompany the dead man’s family to the cemetery to pay our respects. While the rest of us left in a car, my aunt decided to walk to the cemetery. Having reached the cemetery before my aunt, we completed the usual proceedings and waited for my aunt to arrive. Having waited long enough, we decided to return home. We concluded that my aunt, after her ‘paying the respect’ procedures, would walk back home as the cemetery was near her home. Having reached home, the rest of us awaited my aunt’s return. Seconds gave way to minutes and minutes to hours. It was getting dark. My aunt who went to the cemetery and was supposed to have reached home within an hour in normal circumstances was not to be seen. At dusk, the entire household was in chaos. My grandparents were distraught. My grandfather paced up and down the driveway. My grandmother was in tears. We boys were busy offering theories about our aunt’s disappearance and recommending solutions to solve them. Alarm bells sounded around the neighborhood. My aunt’s cousins, who were the children of the dead man formed the search party, executing the mission ‘finding the missing’, which by now closely resembled a treasure hunt. Some of them looked behind half-closed doors. Some looked inside the well. Another poked inside sawdust stored in the kitchen with a wooden rod used to compact the sawdust into the sawdust stove, a favorite of my grandmother those days. My aunt was nowhere to be seen. She did not return from the cemetery. As the search team almost gave up, somebody suggested informing the police. Very soon, a group of people was seen to cross the busy junction near the house in disarray. One of the search team members spotted my missing aunt among that large group. She, as if nothing had happened, opened the gates and proceeded along the driveway on her way to enter a relieved house. As she passed by my grandfather, usually a calm person, who hesitated to harm even an ant, threw a heavy blow on my unsuspecting aunt’s head with a torch in fury and force unseen until then. On questioning, my aunt had left in the other direction to attend the last rites of a former minister who hailed from Kollam which was being held on the same day. She thought that the rest of the family had planned to take part in that function, while the original plan was to visit the cemetery to honor an entirely different person. Even the dead confuse us sometimes!