It was on this day today two years ago that a young woman of the age of 24 lost her life. She was run down by a van that was heading down a one way street. She was the city’s first Fatality of 2006. She would have been 27 this January. I didn’t know her. In fact, when this terrible accident happened, I wasn’t even in the country. I only learned about this tragedy when I got back home a month or so after the new year. The nature of this incident rocked our city. In a heartbeat, to every mother and father, she became a daughter. To every brother she became a sister. And to every sister, she became another sister. To those that were blessed with an abundance of friends, she became a friend. And to those that were friendless, she became a friend. On January 1, we all became one. Through the leaving of her soul, we were all connected and came together.
I feel compelled to write about her because more and more we hear about people that die on a day that is supposed to be one of joy and happiness. It signifies the end to old ways and habits. It signifies a fresh new start, a new beginning for everyone on this planet; serving as a sort of landmark on our journey in this life. A day like today should not mark the death of a life, especially as one as vibrant as Raminder’s was. We should all be mindful of the fact that life is something that is inherently fragile. One minute our bodies could be full of life, full of ideas and energy. Our blood could be flowing, heart pumping, neurons firing, cells going through mitosis and meiosis. We could still be in the process of growing both mentally and physically and intellectually. We could be making a difference in a person’s life without even knowing it. We could love and be loved without even knowing it. There could be so much going on that is connected to the rest of the world. And it could all be over, just like that. Thus is the brittle nature of life.
Let Raminder’s life be a reminder to us all that this new year, and every subsequent new year after, live the life that has been given to us to the fullest extent. It is only because Raminder lived her life to the fullest everyday that it is here on this cold December night that a stranger, someone who did not know her is thinking of her.
I know that a central tenant in Sikhism is reincarnation. Let us pray that her soul in a new being makes as much a difference to the world as it did in her old being. May she be united with God.
Raminder K. Dhadda – January 29, 1981 – January 1, 2006