People Who Shape Our Lives: A Tribute to My Great Grandmother - by Faiza Zameer

Man is a social animal and cannot live a reclusive, secluded, and anti-social life. He has to interact with other humans to fulfill his daily activities and duties. During this daily interaction, he comes across many people, some of whom are familiar and some strangers. They all leave an impression and effect on the mind and character. Many leave a lasting lifelong, positive or negative impact.

I have also come across hundreds of people in my life, starting from my childhood till now, when I am in my professional life. During these different phases that I have gone through, some people have either left an indelible positive or negative impact, influencing my personality, character, and behavior. When the thought of the people who left a negative impression comes to my mind, it brings a bitter taste. But, the opposite is there when I remember the people who influenced me positively and a smile comes on my lips.

Many people judge us not from their personal experience but from hearsay, and naturally, their behavior is biased. My belief is not to act upon hearsay but rather judge a person upon my own interaction with them.

Since our childhood, many leave a mark on our personalities; they include teachers of montessori, school, college, and even university. There have been friends and foes also from these institutions, with some we are able to maintain contact while some got lost in life’s business and then, there are those about whom we don’t even want to think and have that toxic and sour taste in our mouth.

But the strongest influence on the personalities and character of most people is made by their parents. The same is the case with me, but in some cases, it's the grandparents who leave a long-lasting impact on the personalities of their grandchildren.

I will discuss the personality that influenced my mother the most. She comes from a family where relationships, especially close relatives, mean a lot and are given a lot of attention and respect, both paternal and maternal, i.e., grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. She lived in a joint family but a small one, including her parents, siblings, and paternal grandparents. This does not mean that she was not in touch with her maternal family; rather, her mother always tried to balance her maternal and paternal family.