As the citizens of the twin-island Republic celebrate on Thursday, Divali - the Festival of Lights which symbolises light over darkness and good over evil - it serves as a reminder of the multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial reality of Trinidad and Tobago.

Divali celebrations for the second straight year have been COVID-19 impacted. But in the true spirit of the triumph of light over darkness, the lights of Divali will not be dimmed as not only the Hindu community but the entire nation will join in celebration and acknowledgement.

Divali offers an opportunity for all of us to reflect and reach out to each other - Touch base.

Many of our fellow citizens are suffering in silence, mentally and emotionally. After 19 months of COVID-19, the future appears dim and dark. We are called upon to have hope and see the dawn of daylight.

But for many, it is simply "ole talk". The gloom and dark cloud over Trinidad and Tobago can't be explained away as Sahara dust, or volcanic ash from the Canary Island or weather and climate change consequences.

Nah! It's deeper than that. It's emotional, mental and spiritual. It's as if our value system has been thrown out of the window. We are losing hope because all seems lost. That is the truth of the matter.

It is therefore important to use Divali not just in a symbolic way but as a reality check and reminder that light always conquers darkness.

Dante Alighieri, once said: "From a little spark may burst a mighty flame."

Our future comes one hour at a time. Almost everyone wants progress, it's the change that is the problem. I read somewhere that wise people sometimes change their minds - fools never do.

Everyone wants to change the world but no one wants to change themselves. Change brings growth. It is a sign of strength to make changes when necessary. When you stop changing you stop growing. Be strong and courageous. The purpose of life is a life of purpose. Obstacles reveal who we really are and what we truly believe.

As the Olympic and sport movement in Trinidad and Tobago join with the rest of the country and the Hindu community in celebrating Divali, the essence of Divali represents hope and light over darkness as we find our way as a country and society out of the long dark night that is COVID-19.

We are required to hold on to the belief that the light will overcome darkness. Sports organisations and their stakeholders are themselves feeling overwhelmed as COVID-19 has forced change in many aspects.

Fighting the whirlwind of change and disruption will not provide solace or solutions or answers. Don't let the urgent distract you from what is important. The future frightens those of us who prefer living in the past. How it was pre-COVID-19 - what was normal and how it was - is gone. It's the past. Pre COVID-19 has passed forever and is beyond our control. It's better to look where you are going than to see where you have been.

As we enter the month of November, the T&T Olympic Committee (TTOC) upcoming events are Junior Pan American Games in Cali, Colombia, the TTOC Annual Awards, Sports Administration course, Athlete Career Development webinar and the continuation of the 75,000 steps virtual walk/run/jog event.

We are into the final two months of the national Olympic committee's 75th-year celebration and acknowledgement. There is much to celebrate, acknowledge and be thankful and grateful for. The future is filled with opportunities and growth. Let your light shine.

Be true to yourself, don't try to be who you aren't.

Let Divali 2021 be a turning point.