Tag Archives: grandparents

Extreme love

My children have just started their summer vacation. We are on day two of the holidays; still finding it difficult to make the transition from packed days to days where there are no deadlines to meet or targets to pursue. Time flows, like a lazy river, stopping here and there to rejuvenate, picking up speed at times but largely content with flowing along without any purpose.

In a week, we will pack up and travel to visit my mom and my husband’s parents. The children will spend many more lazy days talking, reading, eating, playing and sleeping.

Something transforms in the children and their grandparents when they meet. There is a syndrome both sides exhibit, which I choose to call ‘Extreme Love’. 

Picture courtesy – ClipartAll

Where the grandparents can’t love enough and the children can’t have enough of this love. Where the grandmoms cook all the kids’ favourite dishes, ever-smiling. Where every question asked by the children is patiently answered. Where the children are allowed to experiment with flour and batter and make a mess and leave the mess without cleaning up. Where they are not nagged, where they receive hugs that sustain for many minutes, where they can be sure that whatever they say will be heard with unwavering attention. 

Where each achievement of theirs is dwelt upon and appreciated. Where holding the grandfather’s hand to walk down the road for an evening walk is a great treat, as they come back loaded with goodies.  Where they are tucked in to bed with many stories, repeated stories. Where they spend time teaching their grandparents to use new technology and smartphones. Where they are loved ‘extremely’, an all empowering love that can boost a child’s self-esteem, that can teach a child about unconditional love and acceptance. 

This love between our children and their grandparents is to be cherished. There is no other love like this.

I was lucky to have received such love from my grandma and am happy that my kids are receiving the same from their grandparents.

Love thy neighbour – A short story

Vini’s mobile vibrated on the coffee table. She ran to pick it up. It was her friend Savita, who told her that she was sending her son, with the registration form for a summer camp for their daughters. Savita had picked it up earlier that day. Vini told her that she was at home and that Savita’s son could come to drop it off.

After waiting for nearly two hours, Vini had to step out. So she called Savita to ask when her son would drop off the form.

Savita sounded puzzled and said, “He dropped it off right after we spoke Vini. Wait let me ask him.”

Finally they discovered that instead of knocking on Door No :1600, her son had knocked on Door No: 1606, Vini’s neighbour’s house. Since nobody had opened the door, he had slid it under the door.

Vini laughed and hung up, but the real challenge was now. Next door to her, in 1606, there lived a disgruntled man in his late sixties.

He lived alone and had rebuffed Vini each time she had smiled or tried to strike up a conversation. He kept to himself mostly. He ticked off her kids if they talked loudly in the lobby.

She would have let the form go, but for the fact that Savita had paid $50 for it.

The old man lived by the clock and usually left home at 5 p.m. for his evening walk.

She hadn’t seen him in a while though and wondered what would happen.

At 4.45 p.m. she kept her door slightly open so she could hear him. She waited and waited, with no luck.

She could not meet him that whole week, and with just three days left to submit the form she was getting desperate.

Two evenings before the form was due, she heard his door opening. She dashed like a bolt of lightning, to claim the form, not caring if Mr.Grump would snub her again.

But coming out of his door was a little girl of about 6. Her cute pigtails bobbed up and down, as she smiled at Vini and called out, “Grampa are you coming? The lift’s here.”

Vini almost gasped when she saw the old man. His frowning face was smiling, he was humming a tune and there was a spring in his step.

He saw Vini and said, “Hello there. This is my granddaughter Tanya. My daughter’s visiting me after ten years.”

He shook his head in disbelief and smiled.

Vini smiled at this change. She asked him about the envelope.

“Oh that? Sorry..I thought it was one of those marketing mailers that keep showing up, so I trashed it. There was no name on the envelope, if I remember. Sorry, once again. Got to be off now. See you around,” said the man as he walked into the elevator with his granddaughter.

Vini stared at the closed door and didn’t know what to think.

Another $50 would have to go. She sighed but her heart felt good that the old man had found some happiness. Maybe that’s all he had wanted – some love and some family time. Maybe he had been terribly lonely.

The lost $50 was definitely worth it!

Grandparents

The kids have their summer vacation, and are spending a couple of weeks with their paternal grandparents, in their ancestral home.

We do this every summer. They love all the nooks and crannies in this house. The car garage, which is now used for storage,  is their play space as they play hopscotch or practice ‘rangoli’ (artistic designs that are drawn outside the home every morning).

My daughter has been given the entire garage to draw these rangolis. Dropping rice flour gradually on the floor, with uniformity, is an art, and with each passing day, she gets better.

My son finds great pleasure in playing with clothes pegs (the plastic ones which come in vibrant colours), and the measuring tape, which has spring action. He measures all kinds of things in the house.

Living in an apartment as we do, they are thrilled with the concept of an independent house with a yard and a garden, and a nice big terrace.

They run up to the terrace to dry clothes or red chillies and other things that need to be aired or sun-dried.

They read old-yellowed books that formed my husband’s childhood reading.

They sniff appreciatively when they smell their grandma’s cooking. Their grandparents spoil them, and some. They eat almonds and pistachios. They are treated to honey cakes and butter biscuits. They binge on yummy golden yellow mangoes and jackfruit.

They are very excited each time they hear street hawkers shouting out what they are selling.  In a few days, they know which vendor comes when. They watch as their grandmother picks and chooses vegetables and greens, fruits and flowers. They watch how the hawker pushes his mobile cart down the street and how he weighs the vegetables using a simple balance.

They go around the yard and see the old washing stone, used to wash clothes. They watch clothes fluttering on the clothesline and play hide and seek there.

They see the yard filled with dried leaves and fallen flowers every morning and participate enthusiastically in sweeping the yard.

They watch as the ‘Isthriwallah’ (the iron man), brings back neatly arranged piles of fresh, ironed clothes. They bury their noses to feel the warmth.

They seem to have expandable stomachs and are able to eat through the day. They accompany their grandparents on small walks to the local shops to buy odds and ends, and come back with treats.

It is nice to see them unwind and enjoy the simple joys and pure love that they can only get at their grandparents’!

My Nephew and The Grim-Looking Musicians

My two and a half-year old nephew had come to stay with us last year during the holidays, with his parents.

He took time to adjust to his new environs. We allowed him to explore our home at his own pace. Left to himself, he walked around, curious, touching this, feeling that.

I wondered what my home looked like from his height. He spent a lot of time getting on and off the small step between the living room and the kitchen. When he caught us staring, he would laugh and run away to find his mom.

However, there was one thing that puzzled me about his morning sojourns in the living room.

We have a set of rather grim-looking musician dolls made of wood, from India, in our living room.

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The Grim Musicians

Almost every day that he was in our home, my nephew went to these dolls, touched one of them in particular, for a while. His lips then trembled; and his eyes blinked rapidly and filled with tears.

He would then walk away trying to compose himself, and was soon distracted by other things.

We wondered if the grim-musicians with their big eyes and dark mustaches where scaring our little boy. But we reasoned that if he was afraid he wouldn’t keep going to touch them everyday. The same routine continued everyday and our puzzle remained unsolved.

Just two days before he left, he was back with the grim-musicians on his morning beat, and looked up at us with eyes brimming with tears.

When my sister asked him why he was sad, we finally had an answer. In his baby voice he replied, “Grampa is singing…Grampa is singing.”

He burst into tears. We then realized that his paternal grandfather has a mustache, and also sings to him everyday.

In one of those grim-faced musicians, he saw his grampa and probably pined for him everyday.

We gathered him for a collective bear-hug, and then connected him on Skype to his grampa.