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Coppell Student Media

Business Spectacle: Lilys Hair Studio (video)
Business Spectacle: Lily's Hair Studio (video)
October 26, 2023

An ode to her: A home away from home

Women’s History Month is a time of year to celebrate the women who play an important role in our lives. The Sidekick Editorial page editor Aliza Abidi expresses her appreciation for her grandmother Fiza Batool. Photo Courtesy of Manzar Imam.

Pigtails. A newspaper made into a fan. A mango-covered smiling face. 

The overwhelmingly bright sun illuminated the table full with a wide arrangement of food. The chatter of my parents, cousins, aunts and uncles clashes with the clatter of plates as my grandmother walks in with yet another pot. 

She smiles with sweat beaded on her forehead, and places steaming okra in front of me. 

My eyes widen as I drop the sucked out mango from my hands, “Bhindi!”

The earliest memories I have of India, is in Lucknow. It was always the place of most comfort to me, away from the pollution and bustle of Delhi, and very far from the ebbs and flow of the academics in America. The comfort was not because of the wild monkeys or the graveled streets, but because it was the home to my brother, my fathers’ and my childhood. 

Making the house harmless and welcoming is my grandmother, Amma, who fed into my childish creativity by telling me stories, concocted aroma-filled traditional food and taught me, a bit too well, what it means to be nurtured. 

The highlights of my memories in Lucknow were always staring at the wall for hours by her side, listening to her weave imaginative stories, eyes wide as I was mesmerized by the absurdity of the characters and settings. Looking back, I know her voice for storytelling is what allowed me to gain the confidence and imagination to become the writer I am now.  

She used her voice to narrate stories, but also shape identity. Through her comforting nature and hearty laugh, I see a woman who supported a family through change and sacrifice. She taught me that to be an impactful woman, I do not have to be in a place of power, but have a smile and an open-door that brings sincere influence to the people around me. 

Through her, I understood  the power behind the stories of my heritage and culture. Every stitched traditional lehenga, sparkle delicate jewelry and oily sweet I receive from her, holds a connection to my memories formed in my sunny, toothy-laughter filled childhood in India. 

Not only providing me with a comforting setting to always come back to, her support also transcends geographic boundaries. What used to be monthly meetings now vary between two, sometimes three years, but I have never felt a void of her influence on my character and growth. Even with a simple “InshaAllah it will work out, beta” over a short call, I feel the presence of her dreams and aspiration for my future and use it as an anchor for my own. 

Amma, who taught me that memories and growth are based on the people rather than achievement. Amma, who infused my culture and heritage deeper than blood. Amma, whose character is chiseled by her diligence and her hugs enveloped with comfort. 

Amma, the woman who made me.

Follow @aliza_abidi and @CHScampusnews on X

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About the Contributor
Aliza Abidi
Aliza Abidi, Editorial Page Editor
Aliza Abidi is a senior and the Editorial Page Editor for The Sidekick. In her free time, she likes to read a variety of fiction novels, lift weights, and watch Studio Ghibli movies. To Aliza, journalism is about bringing all sorts of different opinions and perspectives to light. Opinions and perspectives about the world’s various curiosities and disputes that are created by people with interesting stories underneath; experiences which shape an individual's values. To her, these viewpoints are worth sharing, vibrant and fresh to hear and learn about. Seeing her older brother being able to make an impact by bringing stories and viewpoints to light at The Sidekick inspired her to join, where she is now, helping to make an impact in her community as she helps coordinate the process of publishing works that fulfill her passions and goals. You can contact her at [email protected].

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    Nasir ZaidiMar 8, 2024 at 6:50 am

    Brilliantly written. Filled with emotions and nostalgia.
    Nasir Zaidi