"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with a lot of pleasure". Who said this? I think it was Clarence Darrow or Woody Allen but I am not sure. Well, it certainly wasn't me even though I read the obit page with delight. Some people may brand obituary readers as demented but reading obits while having your morning coffee is the best way to drive away the blues of any kind. The obituaries are treasure troves of humour, 100% unintended, of course. The first thing that strikes you in any obit notice is that it is brimjng with optimism.You may wonder where does optimism come in since the whole matter relates to kicking the bucket. But obits look beyond that.. Read any obit, and you will find that the dead guy (or gal) invariably "left for his/her heavenly abode". He or she might have committed murders, robberies and god knows what other heinous activities. But still they don't merely die but leave for a place where they can watch item numbers by apsaras for eternity. No obit says their souls deserve to be skewered and roasted over an hellish grill as inedible seekh kebabs for ever..Even if they actually deserve only that .It is heavenly abode for everybody. If you read the obits, you will believe that heaven is facing an overpopulation problem while Hell is deserted. Who knows? In heaven one may get to shake hands with luminaries (loonies?) like Hitler and Saddam Hussein along with Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa. I once asked my mother, how come people leave for heavenly abode even if they are sinners of the worst kind. She said if the last rites are performed properly all sins of the late so-and-so are washed away. Hurrah! That is really great. Religion provides great opportunities for getting away with murder and more in the next world. Besides the heavenly abode bit, another attraction of obits is that the departure of a near and dear one unleashes the poet in a lot of people. Quite a few obit ads in papers are accompanied by verses penned by relatives. At times even semi-literates are shocked by the death of a close relative into believing in their poetic skills. Sample this gem: Dear papa, we miss you, Mama, Sunny and Babli do two We pray to God that he seas, That you rest forever in peas (Spellings definitely not mine) : This disease to versify affects even the sanest of people.. A relative of mine, a very sane professor of history was so jolted by her father's death that she started hearing voices.She thought that the muse of poetry was calling her and wrote what she claimed to be a poem. She wanted her verses to reach a larger public by getting it published as a part of daddy dearest's obit notice. But was persuaded with difficulty to desist by her siblings. But the worse was to follow. She emailed her verses to all and sundry whose internet address she had. She brainwashed herself into believing that she had a great career ahead as a poet and inflicted her poems on all those she knew. Opinion was divided on her literary abilities. She thought she was a genius and everyone else thought otherwise. Much as those close to her wished that they could treat her the way the Indomitable Gauls treated Cacafonix whenever he tried to sing by tying him up and gagging him, they just couldn't bring their hearts to do so..The things the loss of a dear one can do to people!. But as entertaining as the obits are death anniversary ads in newspapers.They have the usual bad verses. In case the poets in the bereaved families are suffering from writer's block they carry a couple of lines from Bhagawad Gita, which have been reduced to such a cliche that they would make Krishna himself squirm. I recently ran into a masterpiece anniversary notice when my eyes got a jolt on seeing the words HAPPY BIRTHDAY on the obit page. Some very alive and kicking people were sending birthday greetings to a very dead kin through the newspaper. That really took the (birthday) cake. But above all , their estimate of a newspaper's circulation should really warm the cockles of the paper's owners. All the ads have messages addressed to the departed persons and run something like this:"Dear Papa/Mama, we miss you even (mention years) after your departure". The unwavering faith of those who put up such ads in the newspaper's ability to reach to the netherworld is really touching.