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“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” 

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Every summer, my family gathers on the front lawn of our Islamabad home to set up a rope swing—a practice my grandfather began with his children to celebrate the season’s spirit of adventure. I remember gazing, mesmerized, at my grandfather drilling wooden planks, at my uncles and cousins effortlessly tying secure knots, at my mother and aunts rushing to be the first to ride it. It was a kind of magic that I loved being a part of. 

At six, handing my grandfather his tools and learning to loop a running bowline, gave me the “grown-up” feeling that comes with accomplishing a seemingly difficult task. As I grew older, I found that through these hours of togetherness, I better understood my surroundings. 

I learned that our inner child never truly fades. This is the time where we can be who we were, who we are, and who we want to be—where our meandering thoughts are unfettered by responsibilities.

I learned about the inextricable link between the past and present. My grandfather left us four years ago. However, regardless of time and circumstance, year after year we find ourselves in that very garden, putting our swing together. My family’s perennial excitement about this practice has immortalized my grandfather’s playfulness.

I learned that this tradition ignited a fire, a freedom that I could take with me everywhere I went, and I hope that I can bring it to Colgate.  


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