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Common App Essay -- "My Grandfather" (Topic of Your Choice)

shayonsaleh 6 / 6  
Dec 30, 2008   #1

"Your grandfather passed away today."

There was a certain numbness that overcame me when I heard those words. My father's serious face peered at me with sorrow and solace as I began to grasp the true meaning of that sentence. "Oh." I mumbled incoherently. I turned around and went back into my room without betraying my true feelings. My grandfather was dead. No more cheek pinching every time I went to Bangladesh. No more asking "what do you want to eat when you get here?" No more walks through the neighborhood. No more.

My grandfather, or "nanabhai" as I called him, and I were perhaps the most different of people. I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina until my parents decided to move when I was eight years old to an entirely different area: Cary, North Carolina. My grandfather grew up in Sylhet, Bangladesh. I grew up in a world of cars, luxuries, and wealth. My grandfather grew up in a world of cycle rickshaws, picturesque rolling hills, and poverty. My grandfather's life is one of the most interesting I have ever heard. He was the younger of two brothers. He graduated in Civil Engineering in an era where college was an idealistic dream. He married early and had a daughter, my mother, and two sons. He hunted full-grown Asian elephants in the jungles of Bangladesh before the terms "endangered" or "protected" ever arose in the mainstream media. He owned a factory and was president of the Lion's Club, starting a tradition of community service in the Saleh family. He enjoyed life's simple pleasures: family, friends, and food. Once, his car flipped over in an accident while he was holding on to the roof out of the window and two fingers on his right hand were cleanly chopped off. Yet, I can never imagine him displaying pain. While driving at night, he once came upon a tiger lying right on the middle of the road. Yet, I can never imagine him displaying fear. Even in the most difficult moments, he had the ability to smile and appear as if everything was going to be alright.

Still, my grandfather and I never could bond in a way my mother or my two uncles could. It was probably the huge diversity gap between us. How could two people so different relate in any way? But my grandfather never ceased to surprise me. One day, I came home, and he was watching television in his usual manner. He greeted me like usual but his eyes fell on the book I was holding: Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. Hesitantly, he asked me what it was. I showed it to him, and he immediately began reading. This astounded me. At times, I was not even sure if he could coherently read English. Nevertheless, he started and finished the first Harry Potter book. Then, he read the second. And the third, fourth, and fifth. It was the most interesting sight; an elderly Bangladeshi man of five times my age eagerly reading the exploits of a teenage wizard. Through our conversations on muggles, dragons, and quidditch, we connected. One of my greatest regrets has been that my grandfather was never able to finish the series. He was never able to see Harry triumph over Voldemort, and whenever I reopen the pages of Goblet of Fire or Chamber of Secrets, the first person that comes into my head is my grandfather.

I do not believe its true that when someone passes away, his life flashes before his eyes. Seeing one's entire saga, from start to finish, would be meaningless to one that cannot recount the tale. I think the "flashes of life" of a lost father, a friend, a brother, a boyfriend, a sister, a spouse is seen by those that hear the news. I saw my grandfather, Abul K. Saleh, and his legacy after I was told of his passing. I know that one day I want my family to remember me as even half the person my grandfather was. Maybe when my grandchildren open up a book with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, they will think of me too.

The essay had no specific topic or limit. I think the conclusion could be a bit better, but tips/edits on any part would be greatly appreciated!
pandora 6 / 19  
Dec 30, 2008   #2
its more about your grandfather than you, just a thought, thsoe are my 2 cents
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 31, 2008   #3
"Oh," I mumbled incoherently.

No more asking, "What do you want to eat when you get here?" No more walks through the neighborhood. No more.

Still, my grandfather and were never able to bond in the way he bonded with my mother or my two uncles.

I do not believe it is true that when someone passes away, his life flashes before his eyes.


I do not believe it's true that when someone passes away, his life flashes before his eyes.

But I think it is better to write the two words, "it is," instead of using contractions in formal writing.

Good luck!!!!

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