This year's Deepavali celebrations mean a lot to Ms Govindarajoo Kavitha. The senior enrolled nurse at Alexandra Hospital will get to bond with her family members, bake cookies at home and shop with them for festive clothes.
It was not the same situation for her last year.
She was discharged from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) only two days before Deepavali after suffering from Covid-19 for more than two weeks.
"Life has to go on no matter what happens. Covid-19 will go away eventually and what I usually advise the elderly who come to the clinic (at Alexandra Hospital) is not to get too depressed over it," the 42-year-old told tabla!
Everything went smoothly for Ms Kavitha when Covid-19 struck Singapore early last year. She was working at Farrer Park Hospital and was tasked to care for asymptomatic Covid-19 patients who were recovering at a nearby hotel facility.
But the situation changed when she decided to travel to the south Indian city of Chennai in September last year with her daughter B. Vaitheswari Chanthiga, 23, a biomedical diploma graduate from Republic Polytechnic. They wanted to explore the possibility of Ms Vaitheswari continuing her studies overseas.
Both tested negative for Covid-19 on their return from Chennai on Oct 12. But, on the 13th day of their 14-day quarantine in a local hotel, they tested positive.
"I was very upset because it made me wonder whether we should have avoided travel in the first place," said Ms Kavitha. "However, as a medical professional, I was not fearful of contracting the virus and was hopeful of recovery."
Both mother and daughter were transferred to NCID for treatment. Ms Vaitheswari was then discharged just three days before Deepavali on Nov 14 followed by Ms Kavitha a day later.
"It was a huge relief for me to reunite with my (14-year-old) son (B. Vaideshcharam) in time for Deepavali celebrations last year," said Ms Kavitha, who made a mid-career switch from the shipping industry to nursing in 2011.
"We had gone through a roller-coaster ride of emotions and, though the preparations fell slightly short, we were elated to be back together as a family to celebrate the occasion."
Living with Covid-19 soon became the norm for both mother and daughter after recovering from the disease.
In February this year, Ms Kavitha, who started her nursing career at KK Women's and Children's Hospital and subsequently worked in other healthcare institutions to broaden her career experience, travelled to Europe with her daughter to settle the accommodation and administrative matters related to Ms Vaitheswari's medical undergraduate studies.
In August, she joined Alexandra Hospital as a senior enrolled nurse in a general medicine clinic facilitating health screenings and medical check-ups for patients.
"We were not the only ones who were affected by Covid-19 in the world. I felt it was like normal flu and did not allow the situation to bring me down emotionally," said Ms Vaitheswari. "We all have our ups and downs in life and this is just one episode.
"Covid-19 has taught me to cherish and keep my loved ones close because you never know what could happen next. I will be leaving for Europe at the end of the month to continue my studies. So this year's Deepavali will be extra special for me."