Lola and the dustclouds

The two things in the title have absolutely no relation to each other.

It’s awfully hazy here in Malaysia. The API (Air Pollution Index) states that it’s 196, classified under UNHEALTHY. Imagine being in Indonesia right now. That must be awful.

Anyway, as I sit on the floor in my brother’s room (he’s got his Bar exam coming up, so he gets the vacuum-cleaner-cum-air-humidifier/purifier. I can’t breathe in my own room. It’s that bad), I thought I would write about my grandmother.

My maternal grandmother, to be exact. She’s 77 (I think) this year and she’s the only one I’ve got. In fact, she’s the only one I’ve got. (My maternal grandfather passed away when my mother was 5, and my father’s parents passed away when he was in his late teens to early twenties). 

My Lola, as I call her, is a tough cookie. She’s super resilient with a heart of gold. Widowed at a very young age, she brought up 5 kids (one of which she adopted because of reasons) on her own and made sure they didn’t starve, well, not always anyway. She helped prisoners, she helped refugees, she gave money and things to people who needed them more. And believe me, my mother grew up dirt poor: as kids my mother and her siblings had to work to earn money for the family; they planted crops, they had their own farm animals, they picked up edible plants to cook, it was rough.

My grandmother made it work somehow. Sure, she didn’t always have her good days. She was depressed when she lost her husband (and then, they got robbed after that, so she was virtually penniless) so she sent her kids away for a while. My mother had to go work and provide for the family when she turned 18 (she’s the oldest) as my grandmother lost her job.

But somehow they held it together. All my aunts and uncles are graduates. They made it out of poverty, by hook or by crook.

Nowadays, my grandmother spends time bouncing from one kid’s home to another (that sounds wrong. She stays with each child at different times in a year because she can and she wants to, not because no one wants her around). When she’s with us, she does the laundry. And the cooking. Believe me, I’ve tried to stop her multiple times, telling her to rest bla bla bla but she will not listen. I guess doing the laundry makes her feel empowered. If you put up the clothes to dry, she’ll take them all down and redo everything. Sometimes, it’s best to let her do what she wants.

My grandma’s biggest failing is her curiousity. She likes knowing everyone’s business. No, really, she goes to the lengths of reading your diary. She even asked my mom to read my dad’s assistant’s emails (that’s a whole other story), so my mom had to explain that she would need a password for that. 

Thank goodness she isn’t that tech-savvy so she doesn’t go online and check mine or anyone else’s. But if I’m on the desktop or laptop and she’s around, she’ll definitely be peeking over your shoulder or simply hovering. It’s a little unnerving especially since everyone else in the house respects your privacy.

She’s also obsessed with feeding everyone. I like how she’ll make fun of my weight in Tagalog (she probably thinks I don’t understand, but I do) yet bring me chocolates every single time she comes over. She’ll insist I eat lunch or dinner or whatever even if I’m not hungry. It’s not exactly helpful when your grandmother says she’ll starve herself too, if you skip a meal. 

But she has her little quirks like we all do, and she’s done a lot for my mom, so yes, I can’t complain, now can I?

This haze has yet to get better. I’m actually wearing a face mask indoors. Please let it rain soon.

P.S. Helen, if you’re reading this HELLO!! 🙂


2 thoughts on “Lola and the dustclouds

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