Two days before my mother passed, the temperature in Delhi— my hometown—was 104 degrees. Not a leaf stirred and the aerial roots of banyan trees in our backyard hung down limply, and languidly, immobile. The day my mother passed it was raining. A welcome healing rain that cooled the scorching, heat-baked earth. I saw poor children dancing in the street in joy, their upturned faces creased in smiles as their tongues mopped greedily at the raindrops. It was as if the heavens had opened their arms to welcome my mom into its embrace.
For ten days, my mom struggled for her life in the ICU—a sterile room with white walls, beeping machines, and a smell of Dettol antiseptic hanging in the air like the thick smog that blankets the congested streets of New Delhi in the wintertime.