Last Deepavali, in the place of our usual early morning temple visit in new traditional clothes, was a quiet home archanai (worship/prayers) in our PJs. My mother, our single parent, and the pillar of our family prayed for obstacles to be removed from our paths and gave us her blessings on this auspicious day.
Our family has seen some very difficult years, as we continue to heal from our childhood traumas and the broken state of our family, but through it all, the one constant has been my mother’s strength and unconditional love, something that has managed to keep us together in spite of it all.
As the year passed, the multiple storms of grief, wave after wave of bad news, and systemic violence that ensued throughout a lockdown that went on too long, knocked our community collectively to the ground. Battered and bruised, survival and personal healing became a priority, loosening the already frayed attachment we had to each other.
This, in turn, affected my family, as everyone became too tired trying to stay alive and recover mentally, to focus on healing together. Because of this, for the first time in many, many years our family home didn’t see a family reunion or a Deepavali celebration. I think this is one of the things that we don’t talk about enough: how systemic racism, oppression, and patriarchy hits deep; affecting not just individuals and communities, but the institution of families and support systems as well.
This Deepavali, I pray without my family, hoping that we weren’t further pulled apart by our circumstances, that we someday have the strength to fulfill my mother’s only wish — for us to find our way back to one another.