Isu Writes Stories
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Isu Writes Stories

This is what I know about my grand mother

I don’t know what kind of story I want this to be. Do I want to start by narrating the rumors about her that spread through the village, rumors about her greed.

“Why does she work so much? What is she doing with that money?”

Or rumors of her being a witch.

“Why is it only her children that are doing well? She has stolen the wealth of all our children and has siphoned them to her own children.”

Or I could skip to her death when this same people that spread rumors were the ones spearheading her burial.

“Our mama must be buried properly! Show her respect!”

25 vehicles. The convoy that took her from my village to her father’s village. 25 vehicles. Everyone in the village that owned one.

She was Ishan you see. There are not a very many good stories about Ishan women. If they aren’t witches, then they are evil. The main problem with marrying Ishan isn’t the women actually. It is the family. The families seem to put extra effort into making your life difficult. My mother has warned me against marrying an Ishan woman. Needless to say that my current girlfriend is Ishan (because I am that kind of son).

I do not know very much about my grandmother. I remember being slightly afraid of her as a child. She doesn’t speak English and she was kind of loud. She was something of a hot head. Anyone would be afraid of someone that always shouted in a language they didn’t understand, especially a child.As I grew older so did she. She became weaker and less out spoken but she was still quite loud. very cheerful, very active. Up till she became continuously ill, I constantly heard stories of her escapades.

How she would leave the house and go to the farm all day long.

There was a time she ran way from home. For 5 days. No one knew where she went.

I never saw my grandmother as old. She was always young in my eyes because she never behaved old. My grandmother was 93 when she died. She died last year. I was in school when the information came to me. I did not see my father till he returned from the village so I don’t know if the death properly shook him. I feel it must have. I had seen his distress during her sick spells. We would sit down after salat and pray for her well-being, each family member will take turns. Since the burial, today is the first time my father has spoken on the issue, months after.

In my village, there is the belief that when someone important in the eye of God is about to die or has died, a rainbow would appear around the sun. According to what my father was told, the day of my grandma’s death, the day before and the day after, there was a rainbow around the sun. During my father’s stay in the village for burial proceedings up until after the final burial, the sun did not appear in the sky and rain did not fall.

My father sat down today and decided to tell us a few stories of his mother. I don’t think he realizes today is mother’s day which makes it all the more significant.

“Your grandmother was hot headed but she had a good heart. She might not have taken nonsense from nobody but she really cared”

My grandma worked very hard to train her children. She would wake up at 3:00am to cook food she would walk around the village selling. She walked the length of the entire village which easily spanned something around 5km. When she got back from hawking she would head to the farm. This was how she helped send two of her sons to secondary school. When my father was to enter secondary school, his father opposed it. He said that he could not afford to send two sons to secondary school at the same time. My grandmother wouldn’t take it

“My son must go to secondary school. So she worked harder and saved more and paid for my father”

My grandmother was a very strong Muslim. She was not very educated about the religion but she knew what was good and what was bad so she endeavored to do only good. She bought kettles for the mosque closest to the house and always did what she thought would be expected of a good Muslim. The year she finally saved enough to go for hajj, she didn’t. What she did is sure to attract all sorts of comments, many negative, from both women and men of the current society because that’s just what you people do. She decided that she couldn’t possibly go to hajj before her husband so she used the money to pay for his hajj. She didn’t do it because he asked her to. She paid in the name of my father’s older brother so as not to attract unwanted attention from the villagers or my grandfather’s other wife. My uncle was already seen as a big boy in the village so people believed he could afford it. That year my grandfather went for hajj. My grandfather was quiet, my father says, so my mother was his voice. She would yell at him to stop letting people walk over him. And whenever she saw him in a fight, she would take it on herself to fight for him.

I still know very little about my grandmother. I know more about her in her death than I knew about her in life. Today I found out her name was “Aisha”, the name of my sister that passed away.

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