Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Great Grand Legacy #LoveJatao

As kids around the world make plans to celebrate the Grandparents Day today, I for one will have to enjoy only through a video chat perhaps. But I would take this moment to reminisce and share the memory of those calm times way back when we would visit our grandparents every vacation. 

There was a time when I used to think that the month of May was one of the festivals in India. Because as soon as the vacation time approached families with kids all around would be geared to visit their grandparents. You can't blame my child brain thinking this was an event. Going to my grandparents meant leisure time in the green and pristine suburbs of Pune, away from the crowded noisy suburbs of Mumbai. 

Those breezy summer afternoons meant eating a good lunch made by my grandmother, and eating a lot of mangoes or aamras. And there is the priceless memory of my grandmother saving up the creamiest of malai for me and a dollop of it in my morning tea. My tea has never tasted that yummy ever after. If we were not having a playful banter with our uncles we would be busy exploring my aunt's purse which was always filled up with the most interesting accessories and knicknacks. Mostly she would be gracious enough to lend them to us. 

Aside from the food and the great memories, the other thing that greatly shaped me as a person was the stories I grew up listening to. I have been blessed by storytellers all around me. Over the years my father and uncles and aunts have described my paternal grandparents, whom I never saw, in such vivid details that if I ever time-traveled back to their childhood place, I would spot my grandparents in a matter of seconds. On my maternal side, both my grandmother and grandfather were storytellers with very different stories to tell.

My grandmother's stories were rooted in reality. As her dexterous hands moved dutifully around the chores of the household, she would tell us about her childhood and I would know that those hands that were trained with mortar & pestle were not slowed down by the fast domestic devices that surrounded her now. She would tell us stories about how women would gauge the goodness of the grains or pulses by touching them and identify the desi ones from the high yield breeds that had entered the market. This is "organic food" talk at least half a century before it became the trend!

As the dusk arrived, it would be time for my grandfather's stories about Indian history or from the epics of India. It was not a superficial love either, for he had served dutifully in the Civil Force all his life. If I have developed love for history, it is not from the pedagogy of classroom teaching but through these extempore talks with my grandfather.

The place where I live now, the shade of orange never leaves the sky even at night reflecting back the glaring lights of the city. But back then, this is a couple of decades ago, when we would sit on the verandah of my grandparents' bungalow and watch the starry skies and learn stories about how people used the sky to navigate the world it would transport us to a different time. I remember my surprise when my grandfather had told me that the word navigate had a Sanskrit origin, (it is a compound word form adding nava and gati, loosely translated as "the direction of the sail"). As weird as it sounded then it has since then cemented my interest in language and its flow.

As the vacation came to a close we would with a heavy heart return to our routine, back to the hustle-bustle of school time. But I can say this much with certainty that what I have learnt from my family and friends I have hardly learnt anything of that value in the classrooms. Now I look forward to facetime my grandmother and thank her for the invaluable time we spent under her care.

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I look forward to hear from you how would you celebrate Grandparents Day. Do share a selfie with your grandparents on Sept. 10, 2017 on Twitter or Facebook with #LoveJatao & tag @blogadda to win a goodie from Parachute Advansed.

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