I do makeup for the dead …!

What ?? I did a double take …. Did I hear correctly…. “Sorry, what do you do ?” The 60+ lady wearing smart casual clothes told me nonchalantly “I freelance for a funeral service…I do makeup for the dead”…

A little while back I had loaded freshly shopped groceries on the common trolley of the apartment complex I live in…I was taking them home when this lady met me in the elevator and said she will like to use the trolley once am done…. She could help me take all my stuff to my apartment and then take the trolley … So while I emptied the trolley, we started talking….

I gathered my composure , disguised my slight fear and asked her , “Don’t you feel scared ?”….. She replied, “No, its just the body…the soul has departed… I try to keep the person’s wishes in mind …Many people want to look their best in their casket so they specify the type of makeup they want even before they pass away….I did it for my mother too …””

This conversation made me think …. few things came up in my mind ..

1) I always felt that Americans were very practical but to be able to do your mom’s makeup after she has passed away is something else… To be able to have a stable hand and to believe that its just the body and not the soul for your own mom is something remarkable …. that means you are so very mature / practical and so much in control of your emotions …

2) If we were in my home country instead of USA, I don’t think that woman would have ever told me her real profession for fear of being judged…. After all I was just someone she met in the elevator…She didn’t need to be honest with me… But in USA, all professions are given equal respect whether you are a janitor or a software engineer…..People smile at you , thank you and respect you … I like this fact about this country and wish it could be implemented in my home country…

3) In my home country, I doubt if anyone would take up this profession… One practical reason is that there might not be a demand for this profile yet …. But the other reason is that our choice of profession is largely determined by what is socially acceptable, gets the money bags and inspires highest respect from the so called “Society” …Your talent and interest do not matter unless they can be en-cashed…  Its amazing how many of us don’t mind spending 10-12 hours a day and a majority of our life doing something we don’t enjoy only because what we do enjoy, does not pay well… Its sad but its practical !

4)Would I ever appreciate my son taking up this profession even if he was interested in it ?? Maybe not…. It wouldn’t pay that much …I might insist that he should keep it as a hobby and have a mainstream job… However, if my daughter wanted to do it, I might have still been ok as in my mind she doesn’t have the pressures to earn a livelihood and has more freedom to pursue her interests….  Do you also think that women have it easier than men when it comes to pursuing their hobbies and talent ?

Coming back to the lady in the elevator…I asked her how did she know she would like to do makeup for the dead…..she replied, “As I child I used to go to the graveyard and speak to the dead so I always new I had a connection with them ……” I almost fainted !

Disclaimer : These are my personal views… Please consider them as light reading and enjoy …Will love to know your views too…

Till then..Enjoy your kids…


7 thoughts on “I do makeup for the dead …!

  1. Why doesn’t your daughter have pressures to earn a livelihood? Don’t all human beings have to earn money and learn to take care of themselves?

    Also…why do you think you have a choice in “allowing” your children to choose their careers? Isn’t that their choice?


  2. Hi Impressed , yes all individuals should be able to earn money and support themselves ….. Also I might not have a say in my children’s profession the way my parents had in mine …. But somehow the truth is that my son taking up “makeup for the dead “as his profession would disturb me more than my daughter taking it up …..I am just being brutally honest !


  3. It was interesting to know your views. And I can’t agree more with you on how the freedom to carve one’s own niche depends greatly on the cutural and societal influences. In that context, I would like to cite my own experience when I decided to go against the grain and chose to pursue film studies in my post graduation. Although my parents were a little skeptical, I was never so vehemently forced to follow the crowd and pursue engineering and M.B.A which is known to yield better income from job. But at times I wonder if they had allowed my brother to take up this course with the same spirit and support. Probably, not! And this answers why most of the design/art colleges in India still have more female population than the male counterparts.


  4. Sad that you made a discrimination between your son and daughter. Honestly this is the 21st century, and a girl’s career is equally important as a boy’s. This is another instance of the Indian mentality! We have to break these stereotypes! I’m not saying forcing either of them to take up a profession they do not like is the best way. But just saying that girls have to be independent! We have to treat our sons and daughters equally right from the childhood. I will make sure that my daughter is much more educated than my son, just so she has a safe future and does not have to depend on her husband to provide for her and her kids. What if the girl is married, has kids and is hit by a crisis and she is forced to work to support her family? If she doesn’t have the skills to get a job then her life is ruined. So depending on someone else to provide for you is never a good option for a girl! We have to own up and be responsible for ourselves as grown ups.


    1. Hi Priyanka,
      You are right… I do discriminate…but I discriminate in favor of my daughter… I believe that every individual should be able to earn and support oneself… I never said that I don’t want her to work or don’t want to educate her…. What I am saying is that my daughter will be having more freedom to develop her talent into a profession than my son will have… For all you know, as its the 21st century we might not have a say at all in their professions… ! You can read Neha’s comment above…its exactly what I meant…


  5. I was relaxing with old songs being played in the background, 22.30 pm,when out of the blue, I came across this blog which shocked me out of my senses. I, myself am scared to even go close to a dead body let alone touch it. Hats off to the lady who can do make up for them.
    Now for the debate we are having whether we will allow the kids to do this or that. There is a big question as to whether they’ll ask your opinion. Today’s kid is very decisive. Gone are the days when they use to allow you to make the choice for them. To each their own. Let’s concentrate on making them good human beings so that this world becomes a place worth living in!


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