Self-Reflection-post Panda


31 January 2013

My grandmother, Hoda, who will turn eighty next March, is very nagging. She never seizes to ask things of me even when I am so busy, preparing for my exams. I keep telling her that this is my future, and I have to make well in those exams to make my future brighter, but she never listens. She was born and bred in the wealthy and most abundant pastorals of Egypt, her father was the mare of the county they lived in, so she has many extravagant traits: she likes to live pampered and served all the time, she hates to stay home alone, and so she left her house in the Roda Island which points out on the River Nile and lived with us in our apartment, she frequently eats butter with honey although her physicians had warned her that this will disparage her circulatory system; weighting more than two-hundred pounds, she has been trying to make diet and lose weight since I ever known her, seventeen years ago, but with no outcome. My mother and I keep urging her to watch her diet and exercise, but she refuses. “The water is too cold in the gym,” she says. Or she will say: “the trainers are so boring and the exercises make my leg condition worsen.” She just would not go. In short, I used to mock my grandmother in my thoughts; I did not want to be in her shoe when I get her same age, because I felt I will be better than she is, more educated and more productive.

When we are staying with each other, all alone in the house, I have finished my breakfast and now I am going downstairs to begin my studies: “Is there anything you want of me, Grandma?” I ask. “Yes, where are you going? You did not finish your homework,” she points out. That homework had been to get out the dishes from the dishwasher and get Lili, our aunt’s noisy, empty-headed little dog to make her business out in the garden. “I had told you grandma, I have many studies, this is my final year of high school, and I have so much to do. Tell [my older brother],” who he has graduated three years ago, and finished his masters degree. He, basically, hasn’t much to do at the moment. “No, you are the smallest kid in the house, and you must obey your elderlies,” she states, severely. “Fine, but then I have to return to work,” I answer with my ego broken a bit. After I finish all what she had asked from me, I come back to her to get her permission to carry on with my studies. Unless I do that, she’d call me again just after I started–that is her favorite hobby. “You finished all what I had told you to do?” she inquires. “Yes, I did” I reply, with a long exhale. “What are you going to do now?” “I will finish my studies, I have a lot to do, and we have exams next week,” I reply. “OK. But open me the singing concert I love first on your mac laptop.”

Generally, I work hard to be beneficent, but my father gifted me this computer to use it in my college assignments. I get very surprised how she hates to watch videos on the television thinking that it has a larger screen, so it is worse in resolution, whereas the computer is better to watch. I keep telling her that is not true, because the both get their connection from the Internet, but she does not believe me. “I want the mac computer. Do not negotiate,” she says, pushily. I do it all in the end, but of course feeling annoyed and discomforted.

On a good day, my mother would be at home. She generally helps me out with my grandmother, by telling her leave the boy to study. He is passionate and wants to get high grades, do not disrupt him like that. But, grandma would answer, “When I ask something of him I am disrupting him!? What do you know about disruption? I used to study in a dim lit bedroom while my parents where quarrelling in the living room. Ha, disruption!! You are pampering this child.” Of course I hear all this and could not open my mouth because that is what the ethics in our house entail. But sometimes I would get outside my comfort zone and would say: “you never appreciate things I do for you”. In times when I do not have much studying, she keeps exploiting me incessantly. “Answer the phone,” she orders, vibrantly. “You will make us lunch today. Cook us three chicken with rice and orient it with pink Alaskan salt and do not forget to put cumin.”

I puzzled to get what the lesson was and finally I got this: Sometimes it happens after we live with someone for a long time we develop a negative stance toward his or her attitude just because it is different from ours, we start disparaging his or her actions and requests while we ourselves are imperfect. We want to change others, while we ourselves need change, massive change, in our way of thinking and in our attitude. We think we are better than others and sometimes our ego presents to us that we are more knowledgeable than they are that we start to belittle their requests even though we, ourselves, may request for other things that would seem insignificant and hideous to many others.

I was requesting of many people to help me in applying for scholarships, but no one did. Indeed, I started looking for them on my own. But it would have been much easier and time saving if I had someone by my side helping and assisting me. Why then do I criticize my grandmother, claiming that she is so much nagging, pampered, and that her requests are frivolous and annoying!!! I decided to change my way of life, with this change I was able to enjoy being beside my grandmother again, rather than acknowledge her as an adversity or hate being with her at home alone.

I recall a saying my father once had told me: “it is not the girl’s fault that you lose concentration because you think of her. It is your fault since you are misunderstanding and not able to control your thoughts and feelings.” That had been in fourth grade when I told him that I keep thinking of a femalish colleague of mine at school and concentrate in my studies, because of her. Same thing goes with my grandmother: it is not her unfavourableness, but rather my intolerance and unjustified bias that made me abolish every word she said and automatically show negative attitude and expression. I decided to change my way of life, with this change I was able to enjoy being beside my grandmother again, rather than acknowledge her as an adversity or hate being with her at home alone.

The problem in the first place is that I thought myself to be better than my grandmother who had reared me. All my childhood I have spent it in her house, learning from her to cook, read, and meditate. She was the first one to teach me about love when my older brother had got in a fight with me and hit me–I cannot remember the reason, it has been a long time now, but I remember I had the quality that I criticize my grandmother on today: nagging. She is the one who taught me to serve those who are in need endlessly because that is how I will affect them the most and learn and acquire qualities that are unattainable otherwise–beneficence, compassion, steadfastness and persistence. “You will never start to learn these qualities until you first lower you neck, be humble, and serve with pleasure,” she stated to me when I was staying at her house one summer.

I have never quantified the magnitude of her words until this moment when I had felt tired and burdened from being egoistic. It seems as if the plenty information I had got in high school and the high grades I got in some exams had swallowed my patience and gratitude for those who had taught me and reared me up. I made my oath to never be egoistic again, but rather bind to the words that my grandmother had previously said–be humble and serve with pleasure, and, I add check criticizing and respect others’ requests.

Days later, after accepting change, she called again from the top floor: “Ramy. Come and open me the music that I love on your mac.” “Coming grandma,” I answered, and after I finished I said: “if you want anything else I will make it for you without negotiation.” She was astonished and replied saying: “Oh! What happened to you I wonder?! Did you sleep well!?” “Oh, yes grandma, I did. I slept very well. I just was not very well in the last few weeks. I was not myself, but rather taking someone else’s figure, someone more whining and pompous, someone who wants to change others, while he himself needs change. Now! It is me again, serving, vowing to learn, helping, loving, and constructing, more than ever.” For the first time, before I went to the gym she said: “I want to come with you.” I was astonished. It turned out to be that my grandmother was not carless or overbearing after all, as I had thought her to be, she was good and beautiful as she had ever been; it was I, my view of her and my solidified negative perspective of her attitude.

I lowered my neck and vowed to learn and as she had said to me years back-it was then when I began to acquire qualities that are invaluable and that continue to endow my social life up till now, and, help me affect positive changes in others.