Dear Mama,

Posted on November 14, 2018


Diwali has come and gone. It was a tough week as usual. I missed you so much. I don’t know how to live my life without you. I don’t know how to be happy on these “days” that are supposed to be about family and togetherness. All I feel is so much pain and darkness. It surrounds me. It swallows me up fully.

In all the years you have been gone, it hasn’t gotten any easier: the dreaded Diwali week. Before social media it wasn’t so bad. But now, everyone’s pictures of being dressed up with their families, holding their children, eating home-made food just makes me very sad.

Every year I think, I will clean the house. I mean deep clean the house, the storage, the closet, like we used to do together when I was little. I think, this will be the year, I will cook something and host a party. But then as the time nears, I have no energy to do anything. I feel angry with Sid. So angry. He doesn’t see how much I need him during this week. Every year, we have the same fights. It ends the same way…with promises that next year it will be different. But it never is.

Is this the year, I will finally give up on all things and stop trying to be okay during this week? Is the year when I just give in and say it’s not going to get any better – Diwali will always be the Festival of Darkness for me? How many years more do I need to struggle with this darkness? Why should I try to do things without you? I don’t know what I am supposed to do, or where I am supposed to start. I don’t have any Hindu friends. No one close to me celebrates. Sid doesn’t even register that it is Diwali after being reminded the night before. To be fair, he doesn’t need much of any festival. He doesn’t need to celebrate anything. Or that’s the vibe I get from him. It still makes me angry, because family is important to him.

I did not respond to most wishes. I replied to a few people. Then I decided there is no point. I don’t need to. I got a 20-second phone call from Pappa. Not one second more. He wished me and asked me to convey the wishes to Sid. I wished him and asked him to convey the message to Meeta. Didi and I wished each other on a text message. There is no family anymore.

This letter makes no sense. Like grief. This is the happiest I have been ever in my life. I am whole. I am healthy. I am doing things that I am proud of and don’t need validation – even from you. I guess, I can be both. Really happy on most days and really sad on others.

I can’t take your name without crying. I can’t think of you without crying. I don’t know how to be an adult during festivals. I don’t know how to celebrate without you. I have learned with great difficulty how to live each day without destroying myself. But I cannot celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, Navratri and Diwali. I just cannot.

This is the year I stop trying. I did do something different though. I did not change my Facebook photo to a blank black screen to symbolize mourning. I did not agonize over those messages I receive from that one woman who forwards those Diwali messages without any personal greeting every day of the Diwali week and then disappears till the following year. I did not feel angry. I went out for dinner with Sid instead. I wore a nice outfit. I made him wear a nice shirt. We ate some Indian food. It was actually quite nice going to an Indian restaurant and seeing other Indian people there. Made me feel more “normal”. For whatever reason, they were all there – eating out on Diwali day.

The Mint Mojito was very nice. I miss you.


Posted in: Relationships