“My father passed away a few months ago. He was from India and when he moved to the United States he didn’t want to maintain strong connections with his roots. Eight years ago I went to India and I got to know my Indian family. One of the happiest days of my life was when I realized I had didis. “Didi” means older sister in Hindi and can include cousins. My didis are the eldest daughters of my father’s youngest sister. The warmth and love between us was immediate. It was unconditional. They didn’t know me and I didn’t know them. I didn’t know I had didis growing up. I mean WTF. Now we have a didis group on Whatsapp. My Father wanted me to take a safe path, be a lawyer and I pursued a different path. We butted heads until my mid-30’s and then this trip to India was a new beginning for my father and me. He started telling me stories about the bumpy path of his immigration. When he was on his deathbed, he told my brother to bring his ashes to the Ganges River. It is the son who has to bury the father. There’s no role for the woman in the ritual, as my mother told me. I couldn’t take the trip to India this year, to the Ganges – the day my mother and brother went there I cried so hard. But I was with them in spirit. And I’m so glad our Indian family took such good care of them.” – Kirin Kalia is the Director of Communications at KITE.