in the village my mom grew up in, there’s a college built in my grandmother’s name. basically, all the money from my grandparents’ estate built the first commerce college in english medium in the state of gujarat. which apparently is a big deal. especially for when indians take over the world. along with chinese.
in india, every child takes their father’s name as his or her middle name. but once a woman gets married, she changes her middle name from her father’s to her husband’s. since she is now the property of her husband. yes, the thinking is a little convoluted, but hey, it’s tradition. so in naming the college after my grandmother, the college has both of my grandparents’ names. kinda special if you think about it. which i have, so it is.
there’s some pretty amazing bits bout the college. the design of the school alone is impressive. especially for india. almost a blend of art deco & swiss architecture. the art director granddaughter in me highly approves. the reputation of the college is also pretty reputable. found this out when my mom & i stopped by my grandparents’ home & talked to the family renting it. the daughter is a senior in high school & when asked if she wants to go to college next year, she gave this gorgeous bright smile and said “i want to go to TJ college!” i actually got the tingly shivers hearing that declaration, thinking to live in the house of the college’s namesake has to translate to good karmic forces for her future.
i do love visiting my grandparents’ house. even though they’re no longer there, i’ll find a gorgeous old photo of my grandfather hanging on the wall of an empty room. or portraits of my great-grandparents over a doorway. and walking around on the roof, my mother pointed out where she & her siblings would jump a good 10 feet down onto adjacent houses to go fly kites as kids. when i asked if i could jump off, she said absolutely not. that i could break my arms, legs, back & neck. and no, she did not see the blatant hypocrisy in her mothering.
rumor has it as a direct descendant of my grandmother, i get automatic acceptance to the college. which is rather useful since only a few hundred get accepted out of the thousands upon millions upon billions of people who apply. (there’s a lot of indians in the world. especially in india.) not sure if i’ll take advantage of this offer since i’ve seen their girls bathroom and was not impressed. i have no shame in admitting the quality of a country’s sanitation department determines how long i will last in said country. and this is not a problem that can be solved with an airwick plug-in with a nice floral scent.
but seeing my grandmother’s name on the college & the bust of her in the entryway of the school made me realize that while my grandparents are no longer around, nor are their children or grandchildren or even great-grandchildren ever going to live in india, my grandparents will forever have a presence in the village that my family has been a part of since the year 1300 A.D.
yup, pretty damn cool.