My parents emigrated from India to live in the United States in 1971. At the time, my Didi would have been five years old. They left behind their only child because they knew they would have to work at least two jobs each and build up some savings before they could bring her to the U.S. So she stayed back with my grandparents in India. I was born four years later.
I would get to see her only alternate years due to the expense of air travel, and I would cherish every moment I spent with her. Years later, after so much separation, she came to live in the U.S. for good. My heart literally felt like it was going to burst with happiness. I remember a feeling of absolute elation that Didi would finally be home. She remains my idol and role model, and a great friend. When my little sister calls me Didi, and when my son calls my daughter Didi it evokes the same feelings of affection.
Didi is a word that connotes affection, love and togetherness for me. My American friends often asked why Indians have such distinct names for relationships, and I would explain that not only is it a sign of respect, but it also tells the outside world who this person is to you.
This season I’d like to #ShareACoke with Didi!
(Anjuli Kelotra is Senior Counsel at