The lively presence of children at memorial ceremonies, much as they are upbraided for threatening to dilute the solemnity of such occasions, actually relieves frowning adults of the burden of mourning. In Bengali Hindu middle-class households, there are gastronomic and sartorial codes around memorial meetings. The host and hostess must ask guests, “Kheyechhen to? I hope the dhnokaar daalna is up to the mark? And the shukto?”
A visit is too purposeful a project, particularly short-term ones. Only a long stay allows one to loosen the bonds of convention and custom. Though I began this essay with a reference to early modern travel, I cannot say I look upon travel with the same kind of educative zeal as, say, Sir Francis Bacon does in his essay Of Travel.