When I was about 10 years old, I used to love snooping around in the dresser in my parents’ bedroom. In the top drawer my mum kept her jewelry and other precious things and I loved to peek inside the little boxes in which she stored her rings, necklaces and other treasures. She had some gold coins and necklaces from Iran, where she was from, silver bracelets and anklets from India, where my parents had lived and I was born, brooches and necklaces made of silver and polished stones from Scotland, where we were then living. Even though her family had been fairly wealthy – her father was a merchant who sold carpets in the Tehran bazaar – she had very modest taste and had no interest in diamonds and other precious gems. In fact, one of the bracelets I used to covet at that time was a simple gold-plated bangle with a glass stone resembling an amethyst, which she had bought from an Avon catalog. I inherited this bracelet from her. It goes nicely with her two Persian gold bangles I wear every day (Roshan has the other two). That’s probably why she liked it so much.
Today, I gave the bracelet to my favorite 10 year-old girl – my niece Kaia. She never got to meet her maternal grandmother, but she has much of her gentleness and kindness, passed through Roshan’s genes and her loving ways. Like our mother, she is beautiful in a quiet, understated sort of way, and is aware of the affect she is already having on boys, but shows no signs of vanity. She is also usually quiet in a room full of people, but because we know her so well, we see her playful, chatty, silly side; we also know that she loves to dance and dreams of designing the first Jupiter Rover when she grows up. When Roshan was pregnant with Kaia, David and I were also trying to make a baby. For a while it didn’t look like we’d be able to, so I was preparing myself to by a great auntie instead. But perhaps the effect of actually watching Kaia coming into this world triggered not only my tears but also something much deeper inside me. A few weeks later I was pregnant and Theo appeared nine months later. I am thankful for whatever magic baby Kaia worked on me that day over 10 years ago, and will watch with admiration and pride as she grows into the beautiful, kind, intelligent and modest woman she is destined to be, just like her grandmother Feri.