By Ranju Batra
Chair, Diwali Foundation USA, Inc (501C3)
DIWALI 2020… Ahhh, so different from any other Diwali we ever celebrated. No big celebrations, no card parties, no trip to the temple.
Actually, it’s not just this Diwali, that is how 2020 has been. “Thanks” to all bad things related to COVID-19. In March when I tested positive along with my husband, Ravi, and my daughter, Angela, with COVID-19, life itself became precious; not any of the things that give us pride. So, “Thank you, God” now includes the very gift of life – separate and apart from the life our parents gave us.
During these trying times, we must appreciate what we consider to be the metaphorical “light” now more than ever. With a global pandemic, rising hospitalizations, rising deaths, businesses closed, and so many more people in harm’s way, we, as a society, are poised to endure so much more than what we already have. A lot more hurt awaits us. Whatever the “light” is in your life, concentrate on it now more than ever. Those of us who are lucky enough to have our health intact, a safe home, and family or loved ones around us, are already in such a privileged position. Yet, many of us are still surrounded by stress, because we have been programmed to be productive.
I’ve found that just being able to stop has been one of the most difficult things to do. All of us have been programmed for the same thing to varying degrees: taking care of our kids, spouses, family, friends, home, work, fulfilling our commitments, etc. Many of that remains, but during these times it can, and likely should, be cut down for many of us. So, we can spend more time with loved ones, and learning more about them and appreciating their uniqueness. Using this time to get in the best health we can with diet and exercise – even as Ravi remains as he was: perpetually happy and strong, passionately enjoying life itself.
Learning or improving – which is what we always wanted to do, but could never find time for – is here and now. Diwali is the triumph of Light over Darkness. Darkness is undoubtedly upon us – hopefully not an Armageddon, given Denmark’s recent “Cluster5” mutation that is “moderately” drug-resistant. For Light to triumph, we need to first recognize it before we can feel its brightness in our lives. Just as Lord Ram collectively conquered evil Ravan, let each one of us help conquer this cursed Virus – by following CDC guidelines – and Light up our lives. Life, itself, is the ultimate Light. I wish everyone a most Happy and Blessed Diwali, full of life and love.
Twitter: @Ranju Batra