A Little Bit Of Change


My grandmother is one of the most knowledgeable person I have ever known. Not only that, she is also very modern for a person of her age (nearly 85). How could I say that?

When she was studying she was a journalist. When she graduated, she became a teacher. After she married she owned a factory. When her husband, my late grandfather was ill, she devoted herself to be a housewife, earn pin money from helping my mother in her business, and took care of the household while my parents were too busy to be at home. When she finished grieving after my grandfather died exactly 18 years ago today, she decided to be a business woman in her home town in Tasikmalaya. Three days ago she came back to Solo on a train by herself, and has booked the flight to Jakarta in the 14th to attend her great grandchild’s birthday party.

She understood the concept of homosexuality, without having to condemn and telling people what’s right and wrong. She was the only one who pushed the idea about my study to England to my parents when nobody else could. Unlike many other grandparents, my grandmother had no problems understanding my choices; be it my partnership with si Onyed, my relationship with mr. Fix-it, my major in the university, my bright hair colour, even my decision to quit religion.

I have never seen anybody in her age who’s so open to changes like she is. She is of course getting slower in movement, but most of the time it’s just her being careful because many of her friends fell down for forgetting their own capabilities. However, for most of the things she is THAT cool.

Most of the time.

There is one thing she could never ever ever ever ever be able to understand.

When everybody decided to change their diet, my grandmother was not happy. She could never understand why nowadays her grand daughters refused rice on their plate. She could not understand why suddenly my brother wanted to change the tasty fragrant rice to disgusting brown rice. She could not understand why nobody wanted a delicious banana fritters for late evening snack anymore, nor why suddenly she has to shed the most delicious part of the pork belly away.

She was furious the first time we decided to eat only half portion we usually had. In her mind it is the sign of ungratefulness to the prosperity the God has given to everybody in the family. She couldn’t get the idea of leaving leftovers in the table while you still have space in your tum to put the last scoop of roasted pork in. She could not understand why everything should be less salty, less fatty and basically less tasty.

Today when the members of our extended family started to coming over from every corner of the island to our house, one of my uncles asked her why she is now eating brown rice. She snorted disgustedly and said that we don’t have a proper white rice because apparently everybody wants to be “healthy”, emphasising the word as if being healthy is the most disgusting thing in the world.

I almost laughed when I heard that. My grand mother who understood completely that culture has changed, that the digital world is changing the universe, and that people are no longer the same could not understand that the concept of being prosperous doesn’t mean that people has to look like an elephant. That big belly is no longer a sign of a happy lifestyle. That being healthy is not measured by the quantity of food you take in.

But of course I couldn’t complain. It just showed how humane and unique she is. It’s just a bit of change she couldn’t cope with. Bless her soul because I am back on diet. :p


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