LXXX. Diya's Lesson: Light that Fire -


The hurricane is enthralled right now.

The windows are creaking, the phones are a-ringing, and this singsong-like tone I have can only mean one thing: The holiday season has arrived.

Yesterday my parents and I went to the supermarket for last minute, adrenaline-induced, grocery shopping.

A loaf of olive oil bread here and a Pepto Bismol chewable tablet pack of 30 there, (last one left!), we made one of the many intersecting lines as the supermarket filled to capacity. With a few light-weight bags -

*The power just went out. There is no internet and now I’m typing on a Word Processor from my now 90% charged laptop.

- in hand, we were on our way home.

Prior to our trip to the generic American store, we had ventured to the Little India in Queens to eat parathas and gol gappe. Since we were there already and we were off from work for the foreseeable future, it was almost mandated that we buy a pound and a half of mithai, Indian sweets.

We then made our way to the fairly new Little India, where I live.  

Multiple diyas, earthen clay bowls that when looked at from a bird’s eye view, ARE roughly in the shape of a rounded tear drop, were purchased.

There I was, crooning my head over the array of colorful diyas, past the thalis and deities, for a more secular aesthetic. 

I was surrounded on all sides by uncles and aunties, wide-eyed babies with the most luscious sets of eyelashes, carts filled with masala spice mixes, bags of almonds and pistachios, bhindi or okra with the tops already split off, jars of ghee, containers of dai or yogurt, and necessary cardamom and fennel for chaa or tea.

Everyone was buying staples for the upcoming stormy days; Everyone but me.

Diwali is 16 days away! In 2 days, that will be 2 weeks.

I was getting ahead. I was not procrastinating like everyone else, despite the fact that I was that foolish larki, picking up diyas in earnest, as if that would help me during the storm.

In a way, all that the diyas mean could help guide me, could it not?

This was not my original intention though because, like I said, the holiday season has arrived, and that is why diyas were purchased.

I am at home, waiting on responses from 2 interviewees for whom I have contacted for 2 separate articles I am writing. I have to pursue them further so that my articles can get published sooner rather than later.

Everything is happening in slow motion, but I am patient. I have to be. I am patient because I am only “starting out”, just as was when I got admitted into my high school, just as when I got admitted into my college, and now with my degree in hand, or more accurately, hanging on my bedroom wall. Still, I am “starting out.”

After this past summer, writing cover letters, making a LinkedIn profile, and applying to places all over New York City, I felt blessed to finally receive responses, though mostly generic computer-generated negativity. I felt an anxious elation that I had three interviews, and then I felt so appreciative for a full-fledged commitment for the next three and a half months to a new discipline that I had not yet familiarized myself with.

However, now has come the time to apply once more.

So that makes five major tasks to perform: Interview transcription, article-writing, research for internships that I qualify for, and the tailoring and compiling of application materials.

*It is now the next day. 24 hours later and the power just came on.


Anyway, I have 5 major tasks to perform.

I had been putting everything off:

A study abroad application cannot be filled out until I can add my plans for January and my plans come January were put on hold because well, individualizing cover letters and writing samples struck me as daunting.

I don’t know why exactly, but the tasks at hand seemed daunting and as the days passed, everything was weighing heavily on me.


Light that fire, Reshmi.  
Once the fire is ignited, it will keep burning until you put it out yourself.
The more likely possibility is that the fire will go out when the wax of the candle becomes a puddle or the wick absorbs all the oil … until you have completed what you need to.


The diya has given me so much warmth, faith, and pride over the years.

It’s amazing how it is, now 15, days until Diwali …

It is amazing how no diyas have been lit, and yet they still guided me towards my goal.