For many readers, our choice of inaugurating new year with an opinion piece about the grief in the community during this holiday period brought about by tragic deaths from road accidents and other causes may be a bit too late and too little.
Maybe not even the best way to welcome the new year.
However, our thoughts about those in our community who experienced the agony of facing deaths of their near and dear ones, probably at the most inopportune time of the year prompted us to comment, regardless.
The recent Christmas and new-year holidays had not augured well for everyone in the community, bringing immense pain and grief among those who were left behind to deal with the fallouts of unfortunate deaths in distant lands away from home.
While every death generates excruciating experience for the near and dear ones of the deceased, but this pain is further intensified when deaths happen in distant lands away from home.
In most cases, there is minimal family support available here to grapple with the unfortunate situation of repatriating them back to their respective families overseas.
Thus leaving it to friends, acquaintances, members of the broader community, and other stakeholders to do the needful.
The two unfortunate deaths in this Christmas break, one in Auckland and one in Christchurch, indeed left a similar trail of grief.
It is important to note that this often leaves a painful trail for those who take the pain and get involved in the process of repatriating them back to their families in the distant lands.
This piece here seeks to acknowledge and appreciate the kind gesture and commitment of many people in our communities who choose to pitch in and help in other’s desperate situation.
To many, this may sound as utterly futile or slightly overboard or at best completely avoidable exercise.
However, it should be noted that sometimes it becomes unequivocally important to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of those who rally behind others to do what is in their control to help people get through most difficult phases of their lives.
Often capacity of individuals to bear pain is not unlimited, therefore there is always a need to shower kindness and love on those who bear it.
In that respect, it will not be inappropriate to extend a friendly pat on the backs of the officers and staff at the High Commission of India, Wellington, for going above and beyond their respective roles to assist families’ in the desperate situation.
The Indian Weekender can reveal with confidence that at one time during holidays, the staff and officers at the High Commission were dealing with four families simultaneously and assisting them with repatriation process – a process that exposes them to similar pain, if not more than near and dear ones of the deceased.
In fact, some of the staff members worked intermittently from remote holiday destinations where they were supposed to be enjoying their hard earned holidays with their respective families, just to do the needful and expedite the process of repatriation.
Many a time government institutions are reserved for mere criticism, sometimes rightly and sometimes just overzealous.
However, this time, in the spirit of the new year, there is a room for deviation from our normal negativity and embrace relentless positivity.
Anyway we in NZ are currently under the collective spell of “relentless positivity.”
Reflecting this “relentless positivity,” Indian High Commissioner Sanjiv Kohli also acknowledged and appreciated the manner in which local community had rallied together to help families in distress.
“We appreciate the manner in which our local community had come together to help families experiencing the unfortunate situation.
It is noteworthy that the local community had rallied together to raise $82,225 from 1559 generous donors as at 6 p.m. on Sunday, December 31, 2017.
“High Commission of India is committed to helping our diaspora wherever needed,” Mr Kohli further added.
On that note, it is also important to acknowledge a seemingly small, but very crucial effort of our local MP and Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Michael Wood, whose help in expediting some important paperwork within NZ government offices during holiday period was crucial.
In the end, the community had rallied together to see through that difficult phase through mutual support – a fact that’s the only solace of that difficult phase.
Now, since we have entered into the new year, it is important to be mindful of road and water safety measures – two major challenges that we face in our day to day lives in this beautiful land of Aotearoa.