Ways of remembering our favorites whom we will never see again

Yesterday would have been Papa’s 60th birthday. As much as he didn’t care about birthdays and always smiled saying it’s just another day, we always got excited for his birthday. While I couldn’t wish him yesterday, I thought of writing this blog, which is my way of connecting to him. I was remembering all the memories that we have had when he would make sure to pick me up exactly on time from work the day, I did not have a bike/car to come back home. We would decide on our trips and I would be his advisor throughout our vacation, the way he would give time to each member of the family.

While I was in my memory lane, it just struck me that how less do I speak of these memories to anyone which made me actively call my aunts and ask them what was their favorite memory with Papa.  I was sure they had many but it was so good to listen to their stories, especially their chosen ones. Both of us smiled as we fondly spoke about him for 15-20 minutes. This exercise definitely got me closer to him and realizing once again how grateful I am to be his daughter. I have always felt closer to Papa, even if he is not around, his teachings and guidance have always and will always stay with us but just talking about him was the highlight of my day.

Having said this, there are some of us who cannot talk about the person we have lost, as that makes us just feel weird and realize that the person whom we are talking about is no longer around or I should say we are just not ready for that conversation yet. That’s completely fine because it does take a lot of courage to remember yet not break down completely. I personally feel the best way to give tribute is to talk, write, communicate about your fun and amazing moments with your loved ones. Trust me, it will just make you happier that you were connected to the person and make you feel lighter from inside. Thus, my sister came up with this idea and has created a platform for people to pen down their fond memories with their favorites and cherish their lives. The Instagram handle is @memoiroflovedones , one needs to direct message for her to publish your story.

As I leave you with the thought of cherishing your lost loved one, what are the different ways you remember the important people in your life who are not around you anymore?  

Smile as we think about you:)

As we talk about you, there is a warm smile that comes through,

Remembering the different moments when you always knew,

All the goof-ups, mistakes which we did not have a clue.

You always amazed us with your patience and gave us a second chance,

Be it the wrong booking or not having that perfection while building the fence,

You encouraged everyone with your words and no one around could be tense.

As we talk about you, we remember the small things that made you happy,

Be it the coffee-chats, gardening, and spending time with your Popsy,

You were the root of our family, always content, and super canny!

The days we remember you the most, I wish I can let you know,  

That we are super blessed to get theses learnings from the start in a flow,

We know you are always guiding in each step, how I could send you these writings in a blow.

Celebrating your life, Dadaji.

Dadaji, you have left us with so many memories and strong values that each one of us will always remember and we are where we are because of you. You have left the community with strong principles and morals; you have been an institution.  You have been a mentor for many, a successful entrepreneur, an active contributor to society throughout. You have been a strict father, a loving grandfather, and a caring great-grandfather. You were one of a kind, you were the beloved head of our Bahety family.

Your journey for 93 years has been beautiful. You adapted to technology so quickly, and when I think about it, you would not only use your phone for calls but reading news, short stories and also frequently supervising the production of factories remotely. You have been so sharp with your calculations and your memory was fantastic. You remembered minute details and only a few of us would know what you were talking about. The best part was when you said something like “Waha upar se yeh le aana” and expect us to understand – we were often left scratching our heads and clueless. I feel a lot of us (me included) have gotten this habit from you 😊

You were a social star, everyone knew you, you had a mark everywhere you went. The different places that you traveled and your experiences are inspiring stories for the next generation. It was because of your outstanding personality and your conversationalist nature; you could talk to people of any age for any duration. I can bet that people were surprised to listen to your fluent English. The TTE surely was when we were traveling from Delhi to Surat and you also told him sternly to speak properly as he did not believe you were a senior citizen.

It’s nice to recall how you stayed in touch with everyone, asked how they were doing, and specially made sure you knew where each one of your kids was, what time did they fly, how was their flight, when did they land and made sure everyone knew about it. You connected all of us in many ways, other than being the head of the family, you connected our happenings, encouraged us, and pampered in your own ways (by getting bhindi for our school tiffin, and that too, we had to wait for our turns).

You are one of the strongest persons we have known, you have seen so much in your life, from losing your favorites to building an empire, you have accepted different challenges and always stood firm on your rules. You have been an inspiration and taught us the value of savings. I smile as I think that you never owned a wallet, and you were so reluctant on getting a new pair of trousers. You loved the pieces in your closet and I am happy that the sweater I got from the school trip made it in the list after so much convincing.

You have been independent throughout your life, and seeing that was wonderful. You enjoyed picking up leaves from the garden (and you did it patiently), playing badminton with the youngest ones, basking in the sun and you knew exactly what medicines to take when. You traveled solo for work, climbed stairs till the 4th floor on grandparents’ day to be with us, and made sure you gave us prizes if we scored well and during festivals and birthdays.

Home is not going to be the same, without you, and as much as we are going to miss your love, teaching, and scolding, we have a new challenge to fulfill and make you proud – TO LEAD A FULFILLING AND PURPOSEFUL LIFE AS YOU DID!

Grief lessons that no one teaches you:*

Grieving is hard, losing your loved one is difficult, it is painful to think about the moment you get the news that the person you loved is no longer there. The time that you let them go away was the day you will never ever forget in your life. I will not say you should let them go forever because you cannot, you are a part of them and they are a part of you. They will always be guiding and looking after you and you need to fondly remember them and get inspired with how they were.

I was not taught to grieve, neither my parents introduced this to us while we were kids. We never had a conversation on what if “I will die tomorrow”. As simple as it sounds that every person born on this planet has to go away, we don’t have these important conversations as kids and as adults. This does not mean that you need to have a detailed conversation every other month but introducing the idea of “Grief” which could be experienced anytime should be a part of growing.

I am sure most of us haven’t spoken about this at our homes but I learned 5 Grief lessons after I bid my “Papa” goodbye on 17th January 2017. This post is for people who have never experienced loss and also for folks who have. The first lesson that I learned was: –

  1. Try talking about people who have left you. Even if they are not around physically, it is nice to get a smile on our faces as we remember their dialogues or their favorites. I know that can get a lot of memories and many people are not comfortable with it. But trust me, it helps, it helps to stay connected, to remind ourselves about their smallest habits and laugh at their jokes. We might need to be very strong while speaking about it, but if we don’t, we will stop mentioning them in months and then years. I would highly encourage them to initiate conversations about them.
  2. The second one is let yourself feel what you feel. Do not compress your emotions. Each person has different relationship, and you know yours with the person whom you are never going to meet. If you miss them and you want to cry out loud, please do because you miss them and it is okay to miss your favorites. They have always had a special place in your life, and no one else can fill that void. If you want to write to them go ahead. Do what connects you to them.
  3. For me one of my biggest ways that I could keep myself together during the month of January 2017 was by writing. I wrote every day, how I felt, about my experience going to the Ghat and performing the last rites, I wrote letters to Popsy from myself and one from the family, about how I missed him and still do, how I thought it was too early for him to leave us, about how will HOME be home without him, on who would ask me to write his messages and play badminton with. I would write about everything and I would just do it for myself. Writing could not be your way, but try expressing in any form that you can, because it helps a lot.
  4. Everyone has a lot of questions during these times, why him, why now, how did it happen, all of us go through the process of DABDA(Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance), the different stages of grief. I had them too but there are no correct answers, in fact for some situations there are no answers at all. Losing my dad suddenly at 52 without any medical illness and chilling with him the previous day is as difficult as someone losing their dad because of a disease when they are 75. During this time, only one thing will make you feel better, spiritual talks. I did not get answers to my questions from my talks but it eased me out. I would tell myself on what happened could have been way worse and started becoming thankful that it didn’t. For example, Papa did not suffer in the hospital for days, it was a cardiopulmonary arrest for him. I would not say it helps completely, it just distracts you from your questions which has no answers and I started going towards the last phase acceptance. Spiritual talks are not a one- time conversation but a constant discussion that gives a different meaning to relationships and life.
  5. The last is we need to understand that life is uncertain, and how my dad left all of us, I could leave too. Just the realization of life being very uncertain can change the way we see life. This doesn’t mean you need to feel sad and take short term decisions, it only means that you cannot control your life all the time and you need to realize it, which a lot of us forget in our everyday busy lives.

I never thought I will be writing about grief 5 years back, but here I am trying to share my experiences and lessons. You can never be prepared for it and you will experience it when it happens to you. You might not be able to relate to this post while some of you might be, but remember grieving is a dangerous discussion and its worth it.

Grandparent’s love:*

We are surrounded by so many people in our lives. With some, we have lasting relationships while some come and go from our lives very quickly. Each person is different but there are qualities of each one that we can pick and add in our day to day activities. We take the opportunity to tell some people how they inspire us and to the others, it is too late by the time we can tell them because they are no longer around us.

I want to introduce you all to my Chote Dadaji. Chote Dadaji was super jolly and both my grandad’s have different personalities. Chote Dadaji loved to know what each kid was studying, in which field they were working, loved learning new things and trying new experiences. He was very particular about his timings, be it food, exercise or a walk, he was very disciplined. He would take care of his diet since the early days and always follow his restricted diet. Chote Dadaji loved helping people and did a lot of charity work. He would wait for us when we visited Delhi and ask us on how everyone was doing. He cared, loved and with his jubilant aura, he would interact with everyone with a smile on his face and loved playing Ludo. He and my grandad visited the UK before a few years and they had a splendid time. It was always fun to see them tease each other for their smallest habits.  They would care about each other like brothers do and when Chote Dadaji wasn’t well, Dadaji immediately knew something was wrong even he wasn’t doing well. After suffering for a few days, he left us on 31st December 2019. We have his learnings and blessings in each step of our journey and his void will never be replaced.

I have been so blessed to have stayed with my grandparents for the longest time. There were times when we got to stay with all three grandparents for months. All kids had to juggle between different rooms to sleep because each one of them would have their own individual rooms. Our grandparents have very interesting preferences and choices in different things even if they were from the same generation. They followed their own routine and eating habits.

Grandparents in the house meant a different kind of order with food, half an hour of Bhajan every evening and if we weren’t seen for an hour or more, they were curious to know where we were. It is super fun to teach grandparents new technologies on their digital phones. Each of my grandparents uses their own WhatsApp and love to stay connected with family members. They have changed so much with time and trying to adapt to new ways. A lot of times, I am guilty of expecting them to change the way they think completely like many of us do, and I can’t even imagine myself in their era. There is so much that can be learned from our grandparents and growing up listening to their experiences, stories come to a few fortunate ones. I consider myself super lucky to be one of them, growing up with both maternal and paternal grandparents.

The unusual times:*

This past month has been something that we haven’t seen EVER in our lives. The whole world is in lockdown and all of us wonder how will things be after this is OVER, whenever it is. Will we be comfortable to go out to restaurants where there are hundreds of people around us, will we be ready to explore the world again? Many of us might be fearless and will not mind carrying on with our lives with the normal activities that we used to before the pandemic started but for most of us, the fear of being in the public has already crept in.

COVID-19 has made us realize once again that we do not have control over a lot of things in our lives. I have experienced a similar feeling a few times in my life. Growing up in Nepal, when I was a kid, there were a lot of curfews and riots. The nation was closed for weeks and sometimes we would come home walking in the middle of the day. I still remember weeks of lockdown, when the Royal Massacre on 1st June 2001 occurred, I was woken up when my grandad called everyone in the living room and told us the sad news which he got to know from the milkman who would deliver milk in our house every morning. At first, he thought this must be a rumor, but then after seeing the news, it was confirmed.

The second one was when Nepal experienced the earthquake on 25th April 2015. I can’t and will never forget this day. Me and Nimesh were going to the differently able center to give kids their wishes that they had asked for, and we felt that the tire of his bike was punctured. Little did we know that the earth was shaking and in no minute big buildings in front of us started falling down. I wanted to get back home and prayed that everyone I knew was doing fine. The aftershock still haunts some of us. After experiencing these I know that this too shall pass.

I heard a very interesting saying by one of my best friends, he mentioned that there are three ways that devastation can happen, one is a natural calamity, it could be local or in a global scale, the second is the virus in thinking, an example to this would be Hitler’s thinking and the last one is a fast-spreading disease. The most uncontrollable seems the natural calamity and the least is the virus in our thoughts. What will be your thoughts on this?

The whole scenario is scary, very scary as the cases are increasing day by day, but at the same time there are some positives to this, people have started to connect to the small things in life and started exploring their inner self. It is an indication from our Mother Earth and could be a warning for the future as we do not respect and take care of the planet, we are living in.

Papa’s girl

Popsy, it has been a long time we have had a call,

It has been 1095 days that we have tried knowing it all,

What we have realized is that your blessings are always with us,

Be it at home, while making a decision and on the other side of the world.

There is not even a single time that we don’t miss you around,

Be it celebrations, conversations or just some dialogues, profound,

From the person who has been trained from you, or the other way round,

Each member has sweet memories of you and keeps thinking about you at each bound.

A lot of times when I think of the Saturday, 14th of January,

I wonder how you felt and there must be so much to say,

And then I tell myself it would have been hard either way,

To let you go to the good place, bid farewell, and send you this far away.

P.S: We miss you and wonder where you are, how you are even if we know you are always with us.

Growing another year wiser~

Happy Birthday to me,

Happy Birthday to me,

Happy Birthday, happy birthday 

Happy Birthday to me.

I am usually super excited for my birthdays, I plan a lot of things myself for my special day but this year growing old felt like a different milestone altogether. Crossing 30 felt a bit weird and each year as the number is growing up, it feels strange. While I think about this I remember my aunt saying, ‘Don’t think about getting old, worry about thinking old”. This is such a profound line. I thought to myself how past year has been, with so many learnings and building relationships with a lot of people. 

My main highlights of this year were starting the Bay drive and joining the school for my MBA. I was blessed being healthy and being loved more by my favorites. I did a couple of vacations this year, each one was fantastic. From driving in the Dublin to backpacking at Tahoe, I loved them all. This brings me to my last line which is going to be from the wiser me as the clock strikes 12. it doesn’t matter how old we get, what matters is what memories we create and experiences we live. Life is so super short, that we need to make the most of it, or else it will just slip away and we won’t realize it has:) #justathought

As we celebrate each day

Time passes so quickly, it feels way more than a year, 

With memories, endless laughter created in top gear, 

These will double as we grow with each other, 

Who knew a single conversation would move this further.

Preparing meals, and struggling to find a deal,

It has been a crazy ride as we put the #moonpeak seal,

Inspiring each other to achieve one’s dream, 

Fulfilling cravings, not letting one another loose steam.

It is all about camaraderie, as we build this companionship, 

So much fun to discuss various topics, being the flop to your flip,

As we learn, teach and become better,

At the things we never thought were sweeter.

Basketball games, theatres, experiences together,

Has made you one of the most fun room-mates ever, 

Couldn’t find an amazing person to be with,

Paying gratitude to this life that I am blessed with.


My journey towards helping

As a kid, if anyone asked me what I wanted to become, my answer varied each year, or should I say each quarter. As I grew, I did not have a concrete answer, but I knew I liked basketball as a sport and accounts as a subject. In no time, I started pursuing Chartered Accountancy. I completed the course with a lot of determination and perseverance while working at an audit firm. I realized this was not my calling and I was still trying to figure out what was. I transitioned my field from Accounting to Advertising, which was a huge step, and I never looked back and regretted any of my decisions. In fact, I had the opportunity to learn about two different industries and starting my own nonprofit. I had immense satisfaction and joy connecting different people to the act of giving and helping out organizations with resources and volunteering time. This led to the regular events at The KTM Drive. Having said that, I was still figuring out my calling all these years. The move from K-town to the Bay area made me realize a lot of options I could choose from. My experience in radio, the unconditional bond with the kids at the nonprofit, my role as an account executive, there were all these options I could try and explore. I applied to radio stations and advertising companies, but something did not fall in place. I thought to myself that I should explore the sector of Corporate Social Responsibility too.

Little did I know, there was so much in this zone to discover as I spoke to more and more people. It was very different than what I had seen in The KTM Drive. The non-profits had set volunteering slots and for some of them, there was a background check requirement. Yes, that’s right, check for volunteering and helping. I was surprised as you guys are but I gave my documents and went to the nearby police station to give my finger-prints for teaching computers at the Mt. View Senior Centre. I wanted to help more and that’s when I started working with Goodera. With Goodera’s technology platform, corporate businesses increase and track their social impacts and volunteering engagement. This was great and I got the opportunity to build relationships with different nonprofits. I volunteered for 150 hours, and realized there was so much help needed this side of the world too, probably not in terms of resources but definitely time. I went to different non-profits across various cause areas and onboard the nonprofits in our platform so more employees could volunteer.

The concept of soup kitchens, food banks were new to me and it felt like there was help for food until I read that one in four people in San Francisco struggle with hunger. This is when I started questioning what could go wrong. I started talking to more people relevant to this area and came to the conclusion that there is no one thing that causes homelessness here. People are not born poor they become poor. It is a mixture of various elements. There are so many areas that need help, homelessness just being one.

As I go forward in this journey and explore more, I believe that each person reading this blog or anywhere in the world wants to give, in any form. And the world would be such a great place if everyone did, and there was a power which allowed them to. When I say this imagine yourself to be of help in any part of the world and know that you are making a difference in someone’s life. I can say we all want this because we are the ones who have enough.