UNIT 1 – Portrait Of A Word
“Aajee”, Although I never knew it was spelled this way, is a word that will forever have so much meaning to me. I remember when I was younger and my parents first introduced our grandparents as “Aajee” & “Aajah”. “Aajee ” represents “Grandma” in guyanese (On the fathers side). In my heart though, it’s much more than just Grandma, she’s the woman who taught me and my brothers so much, and raised my father to be who he is today. Growing up, I would always say Aajah to my grandpa but I would always say Grandma to my grandmother, i’m not exactly sure why but that’s the way I did things.
After losing my grandmother last year, the word Aajee means more to me than ever before. She was ill with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s, now everytime I hear someone say Aajee, usually it’s my little cousins, it almost tears me up because I automatically think of all the memories with her, especially my last, she held onto my finger and wouldn’t let go, I know she was going through the worst of pain inside and I’m glad she’s in a better place now but the memories I shared with you my Aajee I would never forget, thank you for being the best grandma you could’ve been, and thank you for showing us how truly strong you are with all you put up. I’ll never forget when we first found out she was getting sick and I called and she just kept repeating my name over and over, you can hear the pain in her voice as she was struggling to speak. Aajee I love you forever, and everything I do, one of my biggest reasons for doing them will be to make you proud.
The word is derived from a Language in “Hindi” called “Marathi” and is written (आजी) or (Aji). Like I spoke about before, this word holds more meaning to me than just grandma. When I hear the word Aajee, I automatically think back, Far Rockaway, we’re outside riding our bikes, grandma’s inside getting food ready for us and my little cousins are trying to get my uncle to set the pool up, the smell of crab curry coming from the house window is amazing (crab is our favorite). Our grandma knew just the right things to do to make us have the most fun we possibly can. At this moment i’m feeling great, my body feeling great due to the summer time warmth, the ice cream trucks passing down the block reaches our ears and we go crazy running inside to ask “Aajee can we get ice cream!!” My grandma quickly trying to find us some cash so we can catch the truck before it leaves is probably the funniest part, she’s so sweet.
After finishing up the ice cream we would go inside asking again if we can ride our bikes outside and my grandma would go “ONLY AROUND THE BLOCK”. My grandparents house had a huge block around the house where you can ride around and come back right to the house but you have to go out the yard and down to the left you’d see a hill curving right, if you go down the hill and follow it, you’ll approach some trees where if you go through you can end up by the beach but usually we’d just make a right and come right back around the block to this big circle where we always loved to just ride around on our bikes or even when someone was driving us. Looking above all you see is the planes from JFK going over the house, which was so annoying because MAN THESE PLANES ARE LOUD. If you look down you’d see my feet pedaling on my bike as I roam around during the hot summer day. I always remember another time me and my brother saw a huge white dog when we went around the block and he followed us half way until he just disappeared into the woods. I didn’t know whether to be scared or mesmerized, but as a kid of course I just kept it moving.
Even though I rarely used to call my grandma “Aajee” it’s still always going to have a deep meaning to me. Now everytime I hear the word “Aajee” , It reminds me of how strong my grandma truly was. In around 2018 she began to get sick, it hurts everytime I even try to think about just how much she was suffering. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s, as time went on she continued to get progressively worse, she started off losing her memories and wouldn’t remember names or little things like she had the stove on and was cooking. My uncle even told me at random times at night she would get up and start cooking or try and leave the house, that scares me knowing she wasn’t in full control of what her body does and what her mind is thinking about. I remember when I had first spoken to her after she got sick and she just kept repeating my name over and over again “Brandan, Brandan, Brandan”. It was really hard to hear her that way cause her voice was so shaky and she just didn’t sound the same as before. Over time it got worse to the point where she would have to play with those toys and squeeze them in order to keep feeling in her hands and she wasn’t able to walk without assistance, until one morning she just was unresponsive and hadn’t woken up for a whole day, I’m glad we went to see her that day because that was the last time I saw my grandma breathing, i’ll never ever forget that day. My girlfriend always tells me, “she’s in a better place now” and it’s true, god took her and put an end to her suffering. Today March, 4th, would have been her 71st birthday and also her first birthday since she passed away, but even though she’s gone, I know she’s still here in spirit watching over us, and every move I make now is in the name of her, I hope I made you proud grandma.
Aajee will forever remain in our hearts until the end, I’m grateful that I have such great memories with her and that I was able to really think about how much weight the word Aajee truly carries with it, because you only get one Aajee, after that you don’t get another one. I’ll never forget her laugh, her smile, her jokes, her food, and the love she shared with her children and grandchildren. After she passed away, things we’re tough. It was really hard to accept the fact that one of the people who raised me is gone now and I’ll never get to see them again. Over time I began to accept it and realized she’s in a better place now. I wish I could feel the touch of when she held my finger and wouldn’t let go just one last time. This is the story about my Aajee, My Grandmother, and my definition of what an Aajee truly is.
UNIT 2 – Will LeBron Leave The Lakers?
LeBron James and The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled throughout this season and underperformed significantly due to Russell Westbrook struggling to fit alongside Anthony Davis & LeBron James. Due to these struggles the Media have been open to speculations of LeBron returning to Cleveland or at least leaving LA. He mentioned a few times that he would join his son so we know he’s definitely looking towards his future in the NBA and what is best for his Legacy that is being written. LeBron has always been the type to troll the media as when he was in Cleveland he unfollowed them on Instagram knowing it would stir up a fire in the media and when they asked him about it, he acted as if they made it up. Of course that same season he would end up leaving and joining the Lakers. He does these little things on purpose in my opinion so he can give us an expectation of what he may do so when it does happen we aren’t flabbergasted the way we were when he announced his decision to join the Miami Heat in 2011.
According to an article published by Matt Johnson of SportsNaut, he states “LeBron shared before the All-Star Game that he is open to rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers”. Quoting LeBron “The doors’ not closed on that. I’m not saying I’m coming back and playing, I don’t know. I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t even know when I’m free”. LeBron is set to become a free agent in 2022-2023, it is highly likely due to the Lakers recent struggles this season and if they don’t pick up the pace next season, LeBron may leave the Lakers. My source to further this argument is published by Lorenzo Reyes from USA Today, he quotes LeBron during the all star game once again ““My last year will be played with my son,” James told The Athletic on Feb. 19. “Wherever Bronny is at, that’s where I’ll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year.” Now to me this is news, not only do we have comments about LeBron open to rejoining Cleveland, he now states he is going to play wherever his son is during his last year in the NBA, surely confirming the lakers will lose LeBron is the future since they have no draft picks after trading for Anthony Davis. He also later debunks the statement made about Cleveland saying “I never said I’d see myself playing in a Cavaliers uniform”, but instead that he’d pick up a one day contract to retire there. Personally, I think LeBron is teasing that he will test free agency when his contract is up so teams will have him on their radars for the future, although I disagree when it comes to him joining Cleveland because I don’t think they’d have enough money to pay him for the amount of work he’ll have to do since Cleveland lacks starpower.
After doing some research, LeBron’s NBA contract with LA is a 2 year deal after he signed an extension in 2020 to remain with the Lakers until the 2023 off-season. This means something because I highly doubt the Lakers are going to trade LeBron, yes the Lakers are struggling, but this is LeBron James were talking about, which teams you you honestly believe is going to trade equally for a 37 year old LeBron, the Bucks aren’t giving up Giannis, Clippers aren’t trading Kawhi or PG, there aren’t any teams I see that can come up with a fair trade for LeBron and would benefit both sides, but that’s just my opinion.
Moving on, the biggest reason to me that LeBron would be leaving the Lakers is because of an on-going topic in the NBA for a long time… the goat debate. Now you might be wondering what the goat is, it stands for Greatest Of All Time. So far about 75% of NBA fans believe the Greatest is Michael Jordan, about 20% believe it’s LeBron, and the last 5% is just a few other players like Kobe and Wilt. Anyways, LeBron has admitted to “chasing the ghost in Chicago” referring to, of course… Michael Jordan, pretty much hinting at the fact that he’s trying to become the greatest player ever. Another piece of Evidence I have is his interview when he won the 2016 NBA Championship with Cleveland, coming back from 3-1 he said “I think that one right there made me the greatest of all time”. Now me and my brother like to have this debate all the time, although sometimes I’m biased towards LeBron because I never really watched basketball when Jordan was playing so, LeBron is to me what Jordan is to older NBA fans. We debate both sides whether we think LeBron has a case or not but I’ve come to the conclusion that Michael Jordan is the GOAT. Just comparing careers Michael did so much more in such a short time that it’s hard for LeBron to compete with that but LeBron’s longevity and consistency to play so great for so long has to be accounted for as well. This is why I say Jordan is the GOAT, but LeBron is still on his way, could he surpass MJ, you really never know.
Those facts now bring me back to my original point, LeBron might leave LA to further his name in the GOAT talk. Almost every week on ESPN they talk about if LeBron has a chance… I mean if you’re still talking about it I’m sure that means something. It always comes down to, Jordan has 6 Rings, LeBron has 4, and Jordan Is 6-0 in the Finals and LeBron is 4-6. How can LeBron really further his Legacy? He’s 37 and leading the NBA in scoring but the Lakers might miss out on a chance to compete in the playoffs this year. In my opinion he has a few options, first he can choose to ride it out and continue to play with Anthony Davis and Russel Westbrook which is unlikely because Russ said he wants out next season, or second he can leave LA and put himself in a better position to compete before it’s too late.
Now the first choice is unlikely because I don’t see them riding it out after this season’s disappointment and with LeBron’s age rising every year, I think he’s in a “win now” mentality. The second option now that I’ve given you so much insight and evidence, is much more believable because we’ve heard him on occasion talking about leaving, also LeBron loves to toy with the media and cause headlines. Not only that but just adding the fact that this season didn’t work out, Anthony Davis’s injury issues, and Westbrook’s decline and public statement that he wants to leave in the offseason shows not only does Wetbrook not believe in their team anymore but that looks bad towards a guy like LeBron who’s trying to further his Legacy before it’s time to retire. After doing different types of research, reading articles, watching interviews, and looking at statistics, I believe LeBron leaving LA is best for his future and I think that there is a very high chance at it happening in the 2023 offseason.
UNIT 3 – Multimodal + Artists Statement
This semester, similarly to my first semester in college, I’ve learned a significant amount of new ways to write. I’ve learned different ways to improve my experience as a researcher and have become much better at not only citing my evidence but explaining my reasons for my research in my own words. I’ve also found better ways to improve my writing skills aside from just research like using words to replace words like “alot” and things related to that. In the beginning of the semester I think my work was great but not there yet. I’ve improved my skills not only as a writer but as a researcher and I want to use my skills in my future classes as well. So far my favorite assignment was the portrait of a word assignment, my reason is because of the fact that I did an assignment on my grandmother who passed away and now I’ll always have that to look back at and remember her. My least favorite would have to be the Unit 2 project. I loved picking “my beat” and the whole concept of the assignment but unit 3 was a much better way of doing the assignment and helped to bring photos and videos into it which was much better in my opinion.
So far there are a few things that have stuck with me from these assignments but most importantly it would have to be the Unit 1 assignment and the way it helped with my research. Not only was I able to tell my part of the story but also talk about the true meaning behind the word and where it derived from. I loved that because I learned a significant amount just by doing research on the word and things I never even knew. I always loved to write since I was in middle school but in high school and college I think I improved the most because I learned better ways to express myself while making sure I got my point across without just rambling. As the genres for each assignment changed, my writing changed as well because while my interest level grew in the assignment I had more to say and more knowledge to base my writing off.
In each assignment we had to make decisions about the content and design aspects, for me it was fairly easy because I picked topics I love and that I knew I’d have a significant amount of different things to say and topics to go across. At the start of college I really believed my writing was as good as it could be. After learning new research tricks and ways to not only cite but include your own opinion I truly believe my writing has evolved, I can now say I believe I can write an essay about anything. Later on down the semester we began to overlook and revise our essays which was great because we got to look at some of the places where our writing could’ve been improved and fix it and especially for the UNIT 1 assignment, I found many ways to improve it by adding descriptions of places and memories to the point where you can actually picture in your head what i’m saying, kind of like a written movie.
I haven’t taken too much time looking at my peer reviews but for the ones that I have seen, the feedback has been fairly positive. Especially from the professor who really loved my Unit 1 essay and I truly believed she could feel the passion I had when I was writing it. Later on down the semester we began doing online writing which was easy for me to adapt too. I personally do better when I’m writing online because it’s just me and the keyboard and I express myself exactly the way I want too. This semester the hardest thing had to be for the Unit 3 Essay and finding the right group to target my assignment towards but once I was able to pick my topic the ideas came flowing easily. My way of overcoming this was just focusing on my topic and thinking who might want to listen to this while also thinking about what I might want to teach them when they are reading.
Overall, this semester has been a ride to remember. It’s been probably the hardest year for me, from losing my grandmother, to finding out my brother has schizophrenia, to then starting to work and go to school at the same time and pursuing both my goals. My first goal is graduating college and second would be getting my car and both of those goals would not only be my hardest goals I accomplish but my biggest milestones and I want to make sure I do it with a smile on my face and making my grandmother proud. Work and school has been a really tough thing to get adjusted to especially doing night shifts and I honestly just need a break but I’m not going to let up because I’m getting exactly where I want to be in life and there isn’t any time to let up. I want to continue on this journey as a writer and see how far I can go, I truly see that I have a passion when It comes to writing and I see myself using this to express myself and keeping myself motivated while remembering where it all started. If I had to single out one thing I loved during this semester, it would have to be the multimodal assignment. I truly love doing things where I do research, find images, videos and put them all together with some text of my own. In a way, you’re improving on all the different skills when it comes to writing when doing a multimodal and I can see why college chooses to use that type of assignment because it really does cover all different aspects of research and analytical writing.