My Dear Nani

Just the other day I was saying to a friend, “why do people wait for a person to die to say good things about them?” (Dear Vaaji)

My Nani- she often told me I was her favourite grandchild, but I am sure she said that to all my cousins because she loved all of us equally (I was certainly the most troublesome for her) 😉

Even though my Nani was born in 1932, she had a plethora of knowledge and her thoughts were more progressive than most of us now. Growing up in an age of no Google and with little means of education at her disposal, she nevertheless utilized every opportunity that came her way and completed school. She was a modern thinker and used technology to keep in touch with her siblings, children, in-laws, grand-children and her great grand-children.

A master at languages-she was fluent in English, Gujarati, Urdu and Arabic. Her lucidity in thoughts were clear from her many writings and poems in both English and Gujarati. She was praised by one and all for her well-thought out writings in her free-flowing style.  She read everything I wrote and listened to all the audio and video clippings I sent to her and critiqued, appreciated and encouraged me to nurture my talent.

A voracious reader, she read everything in her sight-magazines, novels, newspapers from cover to cover. Her favourite past-time was solving crosswords and one of her most valued possessions was an old tattered Webster dictionary that she would constantly update with new words in her clear handwriting. (I think she mentioned that she had won that as a prize in some contest at a time when she could not afford to buy one for herself). She was very possessive about it and I remember many a time she chided me for taking it without her permission. 🙂

As a teacher for many years at school, my Nani was loved by all her students. She would often tell me stories from her school days and about her students. She had great oratory skills and me, my sister, brother and cousins have grown up on the very many stories she would tell us.

She was truly a multi-talented personality. She was a good artist as well. She water-coloured, sketched, did embroidery, stitched clothes… She loved trying different cuisines and was also an excellent cook- taught me a thing or two about cooking. She also had a very graceful and keen style sense. Loved colours and enjoyed accessorizing with her clothes. She pottered around her garden as well. She was very Victorian in a way- an era when ladies knew how to do everything. She not only knew how to do everything but did it well. While I don’t paint or stitch, but I think I get my other creative bursts come from her.

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Nani with her grand daughters Afshan and Alwina

She had so many facets to her life. All her very many different talents and certain quirks 😉 live on through her children, us her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. All of us have some part of her living through us.

This year for my birthday she gave me her most cherished possession, a silver pendant with a design made with tree sap that her favourite uncle had given to her as a child. I will always deeply cherish this kind gesture of hers towards me.

She was a devout person and it was her desire to visit Najaf and Karbala and pay obeisance to Moulana Ali and Moulana Hussain and other revered figures. I am glad she could do it. She now rests eternally in the holy land of Najaf. My dear Nani, we will all miss you. May your soul rest in peace and you look over all of us from above.

Perhaps this is why we talk about them after they leave us- so that we can forever remember them.

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Mrs. Zehra Hussain- 26th September 1932-26th December, 2016

-Forever yours, Tamanna

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15 thoughts on “My Dear Nani

  1. Tamanna you have expressed all our thoughts so nicely , yes Nani had a special liking for you as she had for all her grand children & great grand children. May her soul rest in eternal peace in this most Blessed place of Maula Ali

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  2. Dear Tamanna. Your spontaneous thoughts of your dear Nani are a fitting tribute, so lucidly capturing the many facets of her personality . She was one who gave and shared more than what she aspired for herself. In all her children and grand and great grandchildren she has left a legacy of hers in some where or another. She is blessed that she sleeps now eternally in the lap of her dear Ahlaibait s.

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  3. Very touching Tamanna ! I’m sure those of us who had the good fortune of spending quality time with our respective grandparents and seeing life through their eyes, will identity with your feelings expressed in this piece (I do). May your Nani’s soul rest in peace !

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  4. We will always remember your nani Tamanna,as a cheerful ,caring & talented lady.Beautifully written & very touching article,you made me cry.

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  5. Very well expressed.
    Brought tears to my eyes.
    May she rest in peace . She will always be remembered as a very kind lady with her wonderful talent for literature and art.

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  6. A very sweet caring and loving mhota nani. Very very fond of Sibtain and Bassam…..My darling grand children. A charming lady …Loved her children grand children great grand ones too and everyone associated with them. I ,personally loved to talk to her. May God rest her soul in peace in the holy place …Najaf …With our beloved Moula Ali. Aameen.

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