on anniversaries

three years and two days ago, i packed my life into two suitcases and moved to new delhi. that in itself should be a significant and memorable milestone – a date that perhaps glares out from every calendar every year when May ends and June begins.

this year, i had forgotten that June 15 was the day, until a flood of emails from LinkedIn hit my email inbox – “congratulations on your work anniversary, hope you are well” – a stream of templated automatic notes from whichever of my contacts happened to be on the site on the day.

my first thought was that perhaps i was being strange. after all, given all that has happened in this short time, i’m frankly surprised i am still here three years later. am i supposed to remember this day, mark it in righteous solemnity? toast myself for surviving the adventure, or silently weep at all i have lost and gained and learned?

this year, my first thought upon realizing the momentousness of the occasion was to realize that it has been three years since i have been in my hometown on the date of my mother’s death anniversary.

it isn’t that the death anniversary entailed any special commemoration. when i lived back home, the day generally entailed either a small milad at the house with close family, perhaps some prayers at the local mosque, and a visit to her grave. for fourteen years, it was a day of reflection, capped off by a quiet visit with her initially, and then both my parents, in their final resting place. a few questions that received no answers; solemn pleas to the almighty to forgive their sins; many requests for their blessings and support for whatever venture i was embarking on; and a long walk back to the car wondering if they were proud of who i had become.