Sunday, September 27, 2015


Today is supposed to be a spectacular lunar eclipse of a red, harvest moon. But there is a heavy cloud cover so this can only be enjoyed online. Facebook is busy with many pictures of a clear,velvet sky and an improbably large moon; NASA's site has many "like" hits. Today is also Ganesh Visarjan, the day when Ganesh, who had arrived in homes, on streets and in pandals is ceremoniously paraded through the city to be immersed in a river, an ocean, a lake, with loud reminders of a speedy return. It would be a holiday, since the streets would be non-navigable. The TV proclaims Dushera and Diwali celebrations through the country.

Thanks to FaceTime, I celebrated too. However, this year's holiday season makes me very nervous. I have been on dialysis for six months and I am still juggling the process, along with all its accompanying complications. Some days, I feel like a bloated watermelon because the procedure and my body refuse to let go of extra fluid; some days, I wake up exhausted, having lost 6 lbs. overnight. Exhaustion grips me so firmly that I often have no control over the sleep that overtakes me in the middle of a sentence, when I am stitching, even in the middle of a Dr. Who episode! Throwing out the garbage tires me out, so I need a nap right after. There are days on which I am amazed that I do finish my grading and lecturing. May the gods continue this situation for long!

So this holiday season makes me wonder if I can celebrate my favorite festival, Navratri, the way I have been, for over a decade now. If I have to go to work, I need to begin my dialysis rather early and that would preclude my attending the garbas at my temple. On the weekends, I might be under weather, or I might have my clinic the following morning, or perhaps a delivery of dialysis supplies, or my blood appointment. As the year dims, I fear the advancing darkness without the holidays lighting up the long evenings. So I am thinking of alternate ways of celebrating the holidays; not celebrating might cost me part of my very humanity!

Perhaps I can go to the temple on a few nights that would be followed by free mornings. I have stocked up on Tylenol in case of the melting joints thing my body sometimes does. Perhaps I can move my clinic and doctors' appointments for later in the day. I might get an iron infusion that could address the exhaustion. Even if I cannot stay for the entire night's festivities, a little light might be all I need.And I am fortunate enough to live in a time with FaceTime, Facebook, and WhatsApp so that I am always connected to those who have lighted my holidays forever.

These are the ways in which all holidays, rituals, traditions, myths, and faiths remain immortal. I know I am not alone in having to change the way I observe and celebrate. For some, these new ways become the norm and this is wonderful, a new glow in an enduring flame.

Of course, I hope that this change for me is temporary and soon, with a successful transplant, I can return to the way the holidays were. It would be a gift better than renewed youth and beauty.

Let me end this hope-note with genuine gratitude; I know I am immeasurably fortunate in living during a time that allows me to write this even though my kidneys have failed, a sure death sentence just a few decades ago. The holidays are coming and even if I am unable to light up my world with celebrations, I hope that a sure gleam guides me through this year's dimming.


  1. Loved it. This makes me feel sorry for all the people who are forced to give us celebrations on account of ill health. Hope you get a good kidney soon.

    1. Oh I mean to celebrate! Just in a different way. I hope that I get a good kidney soon too! Thank you for visiting.