Today marks the celebration of Diwali, also known as Deepavali  or the “festival of lights”. Diwali is one of the most awaited and celebrated festivals in India “where people from all age groups participate. They give expression to their happiness by lighting earthen ‘diyas’ (lamps), decorating the houses, bursting firecrackers and inviting near and dear ones to their households for partaking in a sumptuous feast. The lighting of lamps is a way of paying obeisance to god for attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace, valor and fame.”

I’m Filipino, so how did I know about Diwali? I know this because I have an Indian sister (and because of the so many Happy Diwali greetings showing up on social media) 🙂 When people ask how we became sisters, I always go back to the time when she decided to adopt me.

I’ve seen her on the unit, our new occupational therapist. She’s been there for about a couple of weeks, and our interactions were mostly brief, from the time she was introduced by her boss on her first day, and since then, when she sits in and listen as I give my morning report to the treatment team. She seemed friendly, always with a smile, and the patients like her.

I remember when she walked into the charting room and told me, “Do you know how happy it makes me feel every morning when I see your car parked outside?” and I stood there, thinking to myself, “uh, that’s creepy”. I’ve never had anyone tell me that they’re looking out for my car in the parking lot, except patients, and I work on an acute psych unit.  I only work three days of my choice a week, and she works Monday to Friday, so we don’t see each other everyday. And then she said “I really like you, and I want us to be friends.” And there I go again, thinking, “uh-oh, double creepy”. But she looked so happy and excited and genuine, and I realized, it’s because she really is. You see it in her smile, like a ray of sun that you can’t contain and just shines through.

Fast forward to now, we’ve been sisters for over two years and her whole family has already adopted mine. Our Maa makes the best samosas, which I miss, and makes sure we’re well fed with the best Indian food when we visit their house ♥We’ve shared so many highs and lows together that I cannot imagine what would happen had she not creeped me out that day and asked to be my friend. I hold her and her family close to my heart and I will forever be grateful for the day we met.

To Manisha, I write this for you on Diwali Day to express how blessed I am for the gift of you; and because you represent everything that Diwali symbolizes – the triumph of “light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, hope over despair.” May this festival of lights bring you and the family joy, peace and prosperity all the days of your life. Happy Diwali ♥♥♥