That’s my grandfather holding me in his arms. My grandfather, my dada, MY DADU… My most favorite person in the world. To whom I owe my happiest memories, my world view, my inner light. I was lucky enough to have him around till I was about 13 years old. And those 13 years, each moment spent with him, have gone on to hold me in good stead, even today. Every time I am down, I just have to think about him, and I feel better. Why? Certainly not because of the gifts he showered me with (he hardly did, he was a man of extremely modest means). Not because he gave in to my whims and fancies. Not because he indulged my wants and desires.
Simply because he was THERE. In spades. He spent ALL his time with me. I remember he’d tell my grandmother he was going to the office and promptly make a u-turn and drive to our place instead, spend the office-intended 9-5 with me, and return home, updating his wife that he’d put in a solid day’s work! He wasn’t lying 🙂
Why am I sharing all this? Because I think today, as young parents, we have replaced some of that vital TIME with gifts, money and maids. A child has little or no concept of money. When my grandfather made me boats out of the ‘jibbi’ that one uses to floss one’s tongue, and ran them in a small tub using ‘kapoor’ to propel them; or when he put back any toy I had broken with the enthusiasm of a child; or when he took me to Ram Mandir and sneakily bought me a silly little orange bar, then washing my tongue frantically before entering the house to erase the orange-evidence of sin – I was in seventh heaven. He’d made my day. He’d made many of my days. He’d made 13 years of my life, unforgettable!
I just took my daughter to my maternal grandparents’ home in Calcutta. My own childhood at that home, with that set of grandparents, brings back similarly ecstatic childhood memories. And to see my 7 month old daughter Krisha with her 91 year old Great-Grand-Father…. Just priceless….
Anuja and I are trying our best to give Krisha a lifetime full of Happy Memories. With us, with family, with friends. An unending suitcase of nostalgia where the only excess is LOVE…. Here’s to creating beautiful, human, happy, fond memories!