Shruti Dargan, Ontario

Senior Writer

Shruti is a journalist with a decade of experience in Indian media, having covered everything from city events and people profiles to pop culture, lifestyle, and entertainment. Since moving to Toronto, she has been freelancing, juggling between lifestyle writing, reporting on all things immigration and documenting people’s stories for diverse media websites. Storytelling makes its way to her one way or another, as Shruti often finds herself chatting with someone she met on the go or when she’s unwinding amid nature’s beauty. She also enjoys travelling, binge-watching her favorite shows and DIY videos, and organizing her life with planners, journals, and pretty boxes—the last one’s almost a fetish.

As a Story Terrace writer, Shruti interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

My Guiding Light

“Remember that uncle I was telling you about the other day?” she asked, taking her time to carefully sit by my side.

“Oh, yeah! What about him?” I asked, least expecting the words I was about to hear.

She flashed her warm toothless grin, you know, the kind that melts your heart instantly, and said, “Well, he died this morning,” her smile almost turning to laughter this time.

How can someone deliver tragic news like that smiling, you might wonder? I did, too. But her answer—“Would they come back to life if I cried instead?”—much like numerous other things about her, left me in awe of her thoughts, beliefs, and practices.

That’s my grandma for you (my paternal grandmother or “dadi,” as I called her). She smiled through the routine ordeals of hectic family life as much as she did through the agonizing rheumatoid arthritis pains, and before and after a life-threatening surgery, among several other orthopedic ones.

She rarely sat me down to teach me how to be compassionate, spread positivity, and derive joy from the simplest things in life. She led by example.

My grandpa (I called him “dadu”), on the other hand, was a man of principles. He never shied away from advocating habits such as starting your day early, tracking one’s expenses, and above all, being punctual. I still crack up when the story that my family shared with me, of what he had said to my father on his wedding day, comes to mind. “Get dressed on time, or we’ll leave you behind.” He meant it.

Sure, some could have seen my dadu as demanding, but the man being besotted with my grandma is the side I got to see more than others. And, Dadi hobbled around the house with the aid of her stick, unapologetically entertaining his needs, almost crippling him with her warmth. So, you can’t blame me for being a hopeless romantic. I’ve seen true love up close.

Beautiful memories and values are the treasure they left behind for my family, as they now shine together in a world unknown. But they’ll forever be my guiding light down here. As I fondly remember them, I might still not be able to stop tears from rolling down my cheeks, but my lips do make an honest effort to smile nevertheless as my dadi would have.

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