Tofiq Köçərli
The Highest Peaks

"Remember her. She is my granddaughter, and one day she will reach the highest peaks." – said my grandfather to his friends after I came up to them to say hello on my cousin's wedding party. A year later he passed away. I still have his face pictured in my mind and I still hear his voice talking to me in my head. I'm writing this essay and looking at his picture which is hung right in front of me, on the bookshelf.

We used to call him Baba, which means "grandpa" in Azerbaijani. Baba used to always gather us, his 13 grandchildren, together and tell how important education in one’s life was. "A book has to be your best friend" – he used to say to us. He would ask us to call him on the phone every day and tell about our success in school. He never forced us to read; instead, he tried to implant in us an interest reading, and every time I looked for a book in his library he would watch me proudly with a smile on his face.

Of all his grandchildren my grandfather always preferred me. Among my cousins I always had the highest grades, and I read a lot. He was always proud of me; I could see this from his eyes and his smile. We used to be very close. I loved spending time with him, discussing books, politics or listening to the stories of his life. Baba was a famous person in Azerbaijan. He was a Doctor of Historical Sciences and Academician of the National Academy of Sciences, had many scientific publications, was chief of chair in Azerbaijani higher educational institutions and used to say to everyone: "Ulkar will be my 'follower'. I can see my future in her". However, I could never grasp the responsibility that I had until he left me. The day when they told me he was gone, I changed a lot. I grew up.

Now that my grandfather is gone I have a goal: I have to "reach the highest peaks". I have to make a contribution to my country or even to the world, and there’s no other way. I have to be the pride of my family, of my friends and of my country.

I will fulfill all your dreams and hopes, Baba, this is my duty.

Ulker Guliyeva, granddaughter