My Grandparents

“A picture is worth a thousand words” as the adage goes. (You’re limited to the space provided, however.) Attach a photograph (either online or hard copy with the paper application, no larger than 5 x 7 inches) that represents something important to you, and explain its significance.

It is the usual hot, sticky day in the streets of Dhaka. You look in any direction, and you see people bustling about with business, family, or other important matters. I was in one of the seemingly endless number of rickshaws next to my grandmother – my Dadi. We had just finished picking out some sweets from the store to take home.”Dadu, what do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor, an architect, an engineer, perhaps?” She asked me while our bodies jolted in the bumpy rickshaw ride.”I’m not sure, Dadi. Everyone wants me to become a doctor, but I don’t think I’d be truly happy as one.” After a brief pause, I add, “but I think engineering would be nice.””Well, Dadu, whatever you do, just put yourself into it totally, and you’ll be successful. I know you will,” she replied with a cute smile. I loved my Dadi.As we entered my grandparents’ house situated comfortably in Dhanmondi, I saw Dada with his reading glasses on, sitting at the table reading The Daily Ittefaq.”Nabill, can you believe what is going on in your country? After September 11, American foreign policy has turned for the worse. And Bush isn’t helping any.” I sip my mango juice and nod my head in agreement, not sure of what to say.My grandfather is a highly respected man and well known throughout Bangladesh. His life amazes me, for everything he did he followed with a passion. He studied at the University of Calcutta, and traveled throughout various Middle Eastern countries, keeping a sketchbook of unique works of architecture. Later in his life, he taught Art and Architecture at Harvard while he lived in America for a few years. Also, he has an amazing library, a place where I often browse for books on Islam and world issues.”What’s your favorite subject, Nabill?” he questions me.”Probably math,” I reply earnestly.”Ahh – maths is a beautiful topic, especially when you involve philosophy. There’s a certain point to where all philosophy involves mathematics, and they’re both complementary to progress in understanding,” he responds with an air of fascination. Indeed, it intrigued me as well.It was especially during those summer days as this one during my visit to Bangladesh that I experienced a degree of understanding I hadn’t previously achieved. The knowledge I gained there was, in a sense, much more valuable than that gained from my years of schooling. I understood more fully where I came from, where my parents came from, and how these people so close to me viewed the world from the other side of the globe. This picture of my grandparents and me was taken in my last few days in Bangladesh. It is significant because what I learned from these two people I have kept with me and applied to my own life. This was the last time that I would be able to see them, but my life has only become richer with everything that I have gained from these amazing people that beautiful summer in Bangladesh.

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