Lessons From My Grandparents: How can we change our lives?

Nepal by przemion  is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Nepal” by przemion  is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

By: Asim Simkhada, Journalist

My family is originally from Nepal–a small country in South Asia.  I was able to contact my grandparents who still

Source: Asim Simkhada
Mr. and Mrs. Simkhada, Kathmandu, Nepal, 2018.

live there and speak with them about how they are handling the coronavirus outbreak and other things about their lives.

My grandparents, Mina Kumari Simkhada & Thakur Simkhada, are in their 60s and both have seen many changes in the world since the 1950s.

In the 1950s, Nepal was a Kingdom in the Himalayas.  The capital, Kathmandu, was (and still is) a jumping off point for mountain climbers trying to climb the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest.  In 2006, after a civil war, Nepal became a democracy.  They lived through all of that.

My grandparents grew up in a small village outside the capital, Kathmandu.  They were married when he was 12 and she was 14 years old, in an arranged marriage.  At that time getting married at that age was normal in Nepal.

My Hajurabuba (Grandfather in Nepali) Thakur lived in the village and worked on his farm.  My Hajura’ama (Grandmother in Nepali) took care of the family of two boys and one girl.  My father was one of those boys.

This is my Grandparents current home in Kathmandu, Nepal. Image Source: Asim Simkhada

One turning point in my grandfather’s life was when he was a passenger on a bus in Nepal and there was an accident.  He faced death.  It happened in 1992.  

There were 21 people on the bus travelling from a village outside Kathmandu into the city. The road was badly broken and the bus went off a cliff.  Out of the 21 passengers only my grandfather survived.

When he awoke in hospital, it was already published in the newspaper that all aboard the bus had perished, and my grandfather read this in his hospital bed.

This impacted his perspective on life.   

He had metal pegs put into his legs so he could walk again.

He walks,  but sometimes his leg hurts.  This, especially when he carries heavy things.

Now he has a quiet life in Kathmandu, living with my grandmother in a house my grandfather built.  He directed the construction. 

I asked my grandfather what lessons he has learned over the decades he has been alive.  He summed it up in three lessons:

      1. Don’t make anyone feel bad.
      2. Think before you do anything.
      3. Prevention is better than the cure.  

I asked my grandmother the same thing and she said, “If you don’t want to have any regrets in your life you should study hard and do a job that you like.”  She added, “You should do something you are proud of and do something good so even the next generation will know what you have done.”

I asked them how they were dealing with the coronavirus outbreak in Nepal.  Surprisingly, they are much like everyone is here in the United States.  They understand the danger.  Nepal is in lockdown, and they are staying home.  Just like here people in Nepal are allowed to go out only to buy food and essentials.

Just like us, in Nepal which is called the “Roof of the World” because of the altitude and mountains, people are really bored and don’t know what to do with so much time at home.