Her life has been snubbed and its darkness all around… for months. Growing up in Lucknow she was the light of all our lives. A few years younger to me, she always got the best in our family. She could sleep till late, decide her activities and was favorite of Amma and Papa. Papa always went to her to share and consult, and she grew up to solve his and other people’s problems. She and I fought, I envied her but as time went by, I became happy for her. She took my place in a traditional Indian family, bearing burdens and responsibilities. She got all the love, the favoritism for being a girl and we all thought she would marry, go away to another home, so we loved her even more. Circumstances brought her back to Lucknow along with her family and she took care of Papa, Amma and everyone around. She took care of Papa in every which way, while he went sick. I was indebted to her when she waited for me, kept Papa longer so I could travel back to see him for the last time.

And then came time when she needed help. She suffered, became sick while she remained the focus of everything we did with her, for her. As time went by, she became sicker sometimes desperate while she fought with her sickness with a brave and strong demeanor. As timelines dawned on me, I realized the importance to be with her, decided to travel against all odds of physical distances and pandemic threat. Don’t know if she was waiting for me and felt relieved seeing me there, but she counted on me and looked at me one last time on that Friday afternoon. There was uneasiness in her eyes as she was gasping for breath, gasping for more days she wanted to live, for her kid and her mother. The darkness did not show her the path forward and she stopped, went to sleep while we all woke up on that Saturday morning, March 27th, 2021.

Deepavali, the festival of lights is around us. The joyous time when good wins over evil, when hope wins over despair, darkness. Our void is still too big to fill, the grief is still not near acceptance. Amma cannot forget her beloved child but Amma is more resilient, more mature than I will ever be. Guided by faith she has answers to everything while I hopelessly struggle to seek answers.

Deepawali will be solemn, reflecting, and introspective and as Hindus light up diyas in their houses around the world, I will seek for peace, for that one diya to show me the light ahead.