There’s something adorable about grandparents and grandkids. My heart melts every time I see some old grandparent smile and play with their offspring’s own progeny. Gone are the strict rules of upbringing your own kid, but replace it with a bunch of love, spoiling them with treats and candies, and my favorite – the passing of oral history. I was never as close as I wanted to be with my grandparents given that they were half way around the world in Bangladesh, but I did appreciate my visits here and there to see them. I remember the spunk and sarcasm from both of my grandmothers – a trait I’m pretty sure I got thanks to their genes. They were also fierce women (giving birth to about 9 and 11 kids each), and I have so much respect for the fact that they were able to create such a strong legacy and maintain a huge family as traditional Bengali women. I also remember hearing about the position of power and respect my mom’s dad had back in the day due to his role as the town mayor/leader. He was known throughout the surrounding villages, and for his funeral back in the summer of (I want to say) 2000, thousands of local villagers came to pay respect to him. It was pretty incredible even now when I think about it. I look up to that fact itself and hope to aspire to some resemblance of my grandfather when it comes to leadership. My dad’s father was also a great man from what I hear (he died when I was a baby), and spent most of his life as a popular professor at the main university in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka.
Thinking about them really opens up my eyes to how much more I need to know. It’s tough finding out information about my history or relatives because no one ever took records from way back then, and thus, Ancestry.com would be a complete fluke for me. I mean, for instance, my mom’s not even sure of her correct birthday due to the fact that no one ever wrote it down in the tiny rural village where she was born! I think a goal I have for the next few months is to document as much as I can about my family. It would be a shame for my niece (and future kids) to not know where she/he came from in the family tree or the fun/awesome facts that we have as a Alam’s. For those of you with grandparents still alive – my advice to you is to learn as much as you can about them and their past. It would be a shame to lose your traditions and family culture when you have the opportunity to savor it all up. Good luck, and here’s to the passing of history!