A compliment to last year’s A tribute to my mother
My grandmother has four children and nine grandchildren. My grandparents spent most of their adult lives in Mexico, Missouri. My grandmother came to the US in her twenties. The started off with a small house, and they expanded it as they brought more and more family over. The house was never quite empty —someone was always living there or visiting. In my eyes, my grandmother was the matron of a very large family and she graciously welcomed everyone to her home.
When you visit my grandmother, she will make sure that you will eat. I remember I went to visit my grandma at someone else’s house and I brought some people with me. She was stressed that she could only provide us with half a dozen snacks on a moment’s notice. I try to have snacks and food every time people come over, but I don’t do it nearly as well as she does.
She doesn’t use recipes, she just somehow knows how to estimate by eye. Once upon a time, she tried to make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Ever since that bland mess, she’s Bengali-ized the food for Thanksgiving. The first time I had a ‘normal’ Thanksgiving, I was so confused as to why everything tasted so boring until I realized that all of the food didn’t have the spices I was accustomed to in my Bengali version of Thanksgiving. My missing spices is a reminder of how much I miss her.
When my cousins and I were little, my grandmother remembered all of our favorite foods. When we would visit, she’d stock her pantry with our favorite cereals, chips, sodas, etc. She would always fill every little square with syrup on our Eggo waffles. Every time I have waffles now, I do the same thing and think of her.
Somehow, when the house is full of guests, she manages to make a Bengali meal with at least a dozen dishes for a couple dozen people while keeping her house spotless. I remember one day, I was at my grandma’s house and in the span it took me to get showered and dressed, she had gone through every room and made each bed, went grocery shopping, and made lunch while somehow finding time to drink coffee and watch her shows. Even as an adult, I thought it was magical.
My grandmother has a closet full of saris. As she got older, she felt like she couldn’t wear as vibrant of colors, and she’d easily give away gorgeous saris to those that could wear them. I have a couple of these saris in my closet. My grandmother is still always impeccably color coordinated, and I can only wish to be half as good as her.
She bought most of my clothing as a child. I think she always had this idea that I would grow taller, but sadly, I stopped growing taller when I was 12. She has an eye for classic style clothing but also is good at picking up trendy pieces that compliment everything else. I didn’t fully realize how lucky I was to have her look out for clothing for me every time she went to the store. We had a fun family reunion once where she bought all 6 of her male grandchildren the same shirt but in different sizes. I love looking at that photo.
She has a bookshelf full of photo albums. They go back as far as having pictures of her parents when they were young. When she used to get her photos printed, she’d get them in triplicate and send them along to other family members. The last time I was at my grandma’s house, I wanted to save a token of the rich history of my family — I took photos of photos. I still wish to one day go and scan all of the photos and share them with the entire family. I definitely inherited her love of taking photos. My grandma’s on Facebook now basically to keep up with seeing the photos that everyone else takes now.
My grandparents live in Texas now. I haven’t seen them in a long time, but I miss them dearly. <3