I spent a lot of my early years of childhood at my maternal grandparents place at Hoshiarpur. My brother and I studied there for 3 years and subsequently, visited Hoshiarpur for every summer vacation. But we ended up spending majority of our time in the house opposite our grandparents’ house, where Gugu Bhaiya and Richa Didi stayed. We used to stroll up to their house at odd hours, played cricket with Bhaiya and chatted for hours with Didi. They were more than family for us brothers. We ate, slept, played for hours at their place, forcing our mom to come looking for us when it was time for lunch or dinner. We found peace and happiness with them. Gugu Bhaiya and Richa Didi were our best friends in those early years, in spite of them being 10 years older to us. Their birthdays are somehow still etched in my brain – April 5 and July 5. After the age of around 12, we hardly spoke to each other and all of us went about our lives in different cities and states.
Richa Didi died on Monday. It feels like a part of me, a part of my childhood died with her. I only sincerely hope that her kids, husband, mother, Gugu Bhaiya and rest of her family find peace in this terrible time. I hope she’s smiling wherever she is. May her beautiful and kind soul rest in peace.