Today I saw Deepa Mehta's "Water".
It portrays the life of widows in the early 19th century in India. Widows were denied even the most simple pleasures of life and forced into a life of piety for their "sins" that brought upon them such a fate. The could not touch other people at times, they could not laugh aloud, they were forced to keep their head's shaved and wear only white. They could not even eat what they wanted. They were forced to live a life of so called "sanctity" so that they could achieve a better "life" in future lives :)
There is one old widow "Bua" whose desires and dreams are so childlike, like someone whose life just stopped years ago. Her only memory in her entire life is of her wedding and all the different sweets that she got to eat. White, round rosogulla's, piping hot Gulab jamun's, jalebi's ... And her only desire is eat a sweet. Daily she craves for a ladoo, so childlike is the the fevour, intensity and simplicity of her desire ....
At her deathbed the only thing she can think of is eating a ladoo. Not God, not heaven, not even a better life in future.
No society with all it's "age-old wisdom" can force this fate on anyone. Like Vivekananda says existence goes "from truth to higher truth". Even if God himself came down in all his infinite beauty and grace it is of no use to her; she only wants a ladoo.