Want to keep reading?

You've reached the end of your complimentary access. Subscribe for as little as $4/month.

Aready a Subscriber ? Sign In

After her grandmother dies, Maya reflects on what she most loved about her

This December, I lost my nani (granny). I cannot even begin to describe the pain I feel right now. A lot of things I see around me have a bit of her in them; a lot reminds me of her. She had the most wonderful smile, and it aches my heart to know I will never see that smiling face again.

A few months ago I read a book called Losing Grandpa. It is about a little girl who loses her wonderful grandfather to illness. It made me very sad, but I never thought that the same thing would happen to me, and so soon.

Nani ran a little bookshop. She started it on her own. I used to spend hours in the shop with her, reading, talking, arranging books. She taught me about the magic of books, but she was never preachy. She used to weave stories around everything. She introduced me to many authors, like William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens—the first book I remember reading with her was Macbeth, Usborne Classics. We discussed it for hours . . .

Once, a barefoot kid came to the shop and asked her how much for a pen. She said that there are many types of pens—some were for ten and some were for five and some for three. When he heard the number three, he was pleased. But his friend then asked him where he would even write with it. My lovely nani asked, “What do you write on?”

Woman with Chicken

He said that he wrote everything on a wall or on the road. My nani asked, “With what?”

He shrugged and said, “With coal!” like it was the most natural thing to do.

My nani smiled and then gave him a full set of pens, notebooks, and stationery. She said, “Write to your heart’s content, beta (my child) and come back for more when you are done. But you need to show me what you write.”

This was Nani, always ready to help, caring, loving, working . . .

I have learnt so much from her— she loved plants, she loved to cook, she loved to read . . .

Once, I thought we could make a precious snack for all of us to eat together. My nani knew of a biscuit, and we decided to make it. At first I struggled, but my patient nani kept trying to fix it. My nani taught me so well that I finally made the biscuit even better than her. I kissed her and thanked her for teaching me how to make such a lovely biscuit. And we all had a yummy snack.

What I am trying to say is that all grandmothers are wonderful, loving, and kind. They liven things up. But my nani was extraordinarily incredible.

I love you, Nani. I will miss you always. Please be happy wherever you are.

Maya Hooda, 10
Noida, India

Claire Jiang
Claire Jiang, 13
Princeton, NJ