Naani

 
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Naani means maternal grandmother in Bangla. Lately, I find myself thinking about my Naani a lot. I miss her and our tea and biscuit morning rituals. I miss how she loves eating Skippy peanut butter even though I think it's pretty gross. I miss how blunt she can be when she speaks her mind. I often think she passed this quality on to my mother who in turn passed it on to me. I am sad because her health is deteriorating and I am so far away from her. I can't see her as often as I'd like. I made a point to call her more often but somehow it's not the same. Sometimes I miss her and I find myself not wanting to call her. In my mind, my excuse is that I am too busy and the time difference between the states and Bangladesh makes it hard to schedule time. That's not false. I am busy and the time difference is 22 hours. But it's not an excuse. I think maybe I don't call her as often as I should because it's emotionally painful to know I won't get to someday. I'm crying as I write this because I feel selfish. Sometimes I call her for emotional fulfillment. I don't tell her every personal detail about my life but I truly feel she is one of the few people in my life who loves me unconditionally. In this past year, my parents have pressured me so much into getting married. That story deserves a whole nother post and perhaps I will write it soon. But I remember having to really put my foot down to my parents and tell them that I didn't want to be married. I'm enjoying and learning so much from my independence. And I know I made the right decision doing this but whenever I do something my parents don't agree with I feel uneasy. Instinctively, I know I'm doing the right thing but when it's going against the two people who you love the most in the world, the two people who you admire the most, it's easy to feel like your instinct might be wrong. And I often need a lot of validation. It's a common need for most people who can get extremely insecure like me. So I remember when I was packing my suitcase for going out to sea for three weeks. Suddenly I felt scared. I wouldn't able to use my phone or the internet while I was there. I told everyone I regularly talked to and called my grandma last. Even though I'm not sure what my exact feelings are about praying and asking God to protect me I get a sense of comfort when my Naani says she keeps me in her prayers. It reassures me that just in case religious prayers do indeed work that I have someone looking out for me when I'm not doing it for myself. She asked me if I truly like being on my own. If I am sad or lonely. I told her that sometimes I do get lonely. But most of the time I am happy being on my own. It's the best decision I ever made so far in my short life. She immediately understood and told me that I don't have to get married right now if I don't want to. She told me that I'm doing well and should continue that. I got the validation I was looking for without even intentionally asking for it. I guess somehow grandma's can be good at that sort of thing.

Sometimes it's hard for me to tell her I feel about her. We do have somewhat of a cultural disconnect since I grew up in the states and she grew up in Bangladesh. She didn't have much of a say when she got married at the age of 15. But somehow she knows that I should have a say of being married at the age of 24. So I'm going to write how I feel about her here and hopefully someday I can tell her all this and she will understand.

Naani thank you for everything. Thank you for coming to live in the states with us for a year and helping us raise my baby sister. Thank you for praying for me and wishing me the best in life. Thank you for all the hard work you did in raising all your children especially my mother. Without that, I wouldn't be who I am today. Thanks for giving me the validation I need to feel at ease even if it is only a little bit. Thank you for loving me no matter what. When I feel frustrated that I don't have a family who always approves of every decision I make I am so grateful that I have you. I will love you always and forever. Thank you.