1. A ritual burning of offerings such as flowers and ghee, which is held to mark births, marriages, and funerals.

On the 21st of February, 2018 there was a havan at my family home in Kavi Nagar, India. It was held a week following the passing of my Nana Ji (Grandfather) - Khyal Singh Chaudhary.

I knew my Nana Ji through stories. In his youth he escaped a bombing at a train station, defensively shot a wild tiger, and attended lavish parties with the Prime Minister of India. He was an intimidating man, both feared and respected; an atheist, who grew up poor and slowly worked his way up to become a celebrated civil engineer who dressed in tailored Italian suits. Towards the end of his life- when I knew him- he would start the day with warm milk, play a game of solitaire, and sit on his leather recliner to watch the cricket. He would end the day with a finger of Johnny Walker mixed with hot water.

He passed away at the age of 97.

The days that followed his passing felt heavy, and the havan marked the end of a week of rituals. On that last day my immediate family took respite in the backyard, away from the hoards of friends and distant relatives that had gathered at our home to pay their respects. My mother, brothers, aunts and uncles arrived in the backyard, one by one, resting on the charpai (daybed), as I sat, taking their picture.