It wasn’t until I read Ashfaq Saheb’s ‘Zaviya’ that I realised one should preserve the stories of grandparents for they are the keepers of family stories, history and heritage. They are a living bridge between the past and the future of a family. Their profound connection with the generations before and after them gives them a remarkable knowledge, sensibility and outlook of generations. From this inspiration of mine, I have created my own version of Zaviya, not compiled in the form of book but a whole cabinet tagged as ‘archives’ which is filled with letters, voice tapes, diaries, clothes and documents belonging to my grandparents. Most of the states and institutes, allocate a certain space to their archives where they keep their cultural history and heritage making it accessible for the public. So is the idea of this family archive in which one can organise through tags and labels the true treasure of one’s family. Recently, I came across an article through which I got to know that we even have apps which help us in identifying our family tree, apps like: family tree app, ancestry mobile app, treeview, my heritage etc.There are people out there who are already emphasising on the need of preserving our heritage – our family, people like:Valerie Elkins, founder of Family Cherished shares her advice: “My best advice is for those who are grandparents now or who will be some day: The best thing you can leave your posterity is a bit about yourself and memories of your family. You are the bridge that will link the generations. What were your grandparents and great grandparents like? What were the visits like? How did you celebrate holidays, and what were the foods and games you played? Our memories and stories will knit our families together, to stay connected and help the younger generations to feel special about the people who are theirs.” Carol Rice, founder of Family Storytelling, “For those of us whose grandparents have passed, opportunities remain to preserve their legacies.”For Allison Kimball, founder of simple inspiration, it was the words of her dying grandfather that inspired her to look for ways to further preserve his legacy. Learn what she recommends others do to capture grandparents’ lives and enrich a family history. “I sat on the edge of my grandfather’s bed as we visited. He was more reflective in his speech, and he finally asked, “Have I done enough? Have I made a difference?” As I looked at my dying grandfather and thought of all people he had served and influenced, I was overwhelmed by his humble plea. I told him he had done all required of him and, in a tender embrace, I had to ask if I was doing all I needed to.” When we hear our family’s stories, we learn who we are and from where we came. Research has shown that children who know something of their roots and the history of their family have stronger self-esteemFor many families, distance can make getting together difficult. Tami Osmer Glatz, founder of Relatively Curious about Genealogy, says this doesn’t have to prevent families from getting grandparent stories. Look to letters, she recommends. “I truly value copies of family letters – some dating back to the early and mid-1800s – full of family details: who moved where; news of births, deaths, and marriages; and stories of everyday life – all written with the express purpose of sharing and preserving information, and all written very close to the time that the events occurred. Genealogy treasures for sure!”When we hear our family’s stories, we learn who we are and from where we came. “Research has shown that children who know something of their roots and the history of their family have stronger self-esteem. Through the family stories, children are given a sense of belonging and they develop a family pride. Stories about the family ancestors tend to build confidence in children and empower them.” Along with family pride, children get to connect with themselves in a better way and consequently are less prone to issues like: depression, identity crisis, absurdity of life. Indeed, you’re truly fortunate if you have your grandparents with you for they can help you in organising your archives in a better way.Here are some ways which can help you in making your very own archive: Compose and frame a collage of your family.Write a history of your family.Compile albums of your family memories.Use technology and make albums & recordings more organizedMake a family journal, in which you can add timeline of births, deaths, significant events.Select a day for a family meetup when you can sit around the table without any cell phone and just talk with the people around.Make videos and slideshowsFrame your ancestral pictures and create a gallery wall in your home.Take your grandchildren to visit the ancestral home.Create a family tree.Recover the stories – talk to other family members: cousins, aunts, uncles, parents to try to learn more of the family stories.Keep the stories alive by telling them to your children as bedtime storiesHere you go, and after you’re done with this archive section of yours, go and visit an ‘old home’ nearby to spend time with the living heritage, who are disowned by their very own roots.Published in Daily Times, December 23rd 2018.