109/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. On the eve of Diwali, the festival of lights, I am reminded of my cultural heritage – something that I don’t really pay much heed to even though it is a big part of my identity. As I’ve mentioned in a previous gratitude post, I know I am far from well versed on my own cultural background but on this day, I reflect upon my paternal grandparents and the heritage they indirectly bestowed upon me. Being born and raised in Greater Vancouver, unfortunately, I never got to know my paternal grandparents as they were in India where they passed away. I only saw my grandfather once when I was around 7 years old and I met my grandmother twice – at 7 and once at 18. However, I do know that I was very much loved by them. I recall my grandfather grabbing me and lifting me into the air to the protests of my parents – not because I would be hurt or shocked but more so for my grandfather’s protection as I was quite a hefty boy at 7 years of age and he was a rather frail man but lift me he did and take pride in me as well. I was his oldest grandson and the only grandson from his eldest son who had children so he took joy in me. Not to be outdone, my grandmother bestowed all sorts of gifts and sweets on me as well and to my pre-teen chagrin, mothered me constantly. At the time, I didn’t know what I meant to them but I later realized that they had given up a lot to send their son, my father, to Canada as a teenager and to create a life for himself and I was the result – a grandchild who wouldn’t be suffering the hardships of village life in India. I wished that we had the internet and Skype in those days so that I could have kept in touch with my grandparents and gotten to know them and that they had gotten to know me but I do take solace in the fact that they met me and I met them. I thank my grandparents for giving my dad the opportunity to emigrate from India thereby creating a life for his family and ultimately for me ending up with the very fortunate life that I lead. To my grandparents, I light a diya in your honour.