We were in mourning this Diwali for my grandfather who died earlier this year.
I remember, as a child, feeling so bad for people in mourning. I remember someone telling me about her father-in-law’s brother’s death, because of which the entire family was in mourning. And I remember feeling a little guilty about thinking about how pointless it was to mourn for a faraway relative.
This time, though, it was not like that. I realised the difference between mourning and grieving. I think, to me, mourning is remembering.
Each year at Diwali, my grandfather gave us 1,200 rupees: 300 rupees for each one. As a child, I was excited by it. As I grew older, I smiled at the diligence with which my grandfather remembered each one of us every year.
I remembered how we put up lights at my grandmother’s window during her last few years.
I remembered how, when I was very young, and my sister and I had matching ‘big-pocket-frocks’ for Diwali, we were playing with sparklers in my grandmother’s balcony. My sister burned me accidentally and I was more excited than hurt.
I remembered how I hated the bombs, but tried to be brave when my cousins were around.
I remembered our snakes and anaars and fuljhadis and Vishnu chakras at the base of my grandparents’ building.
And I realised that mourning is such a beautiful thing because it makes you remember.