Day before yesterday I and grandma went to Trichy to meet her friend of 4 decades, Lakshmi, 84 years old. I shall come back to this later.
We have seen/heard a lot of people making fun about elder people. You speak a lot, you’re a paati (grandma in Tamil). Especially, when you start like “andha naal la laam….” (in those(my) days…) Once you hear these words from elders, ears automatically close and whatever the other person says, falls into deaf ears!
How much do we know about our grandparents? of how their life was? What hurdles did they face? Why do we do certain things/ strictly follows certain rules though they seem to be meaningless? Like the concepts of “echal, patthu”, tying nombu charadu around neck and hand and I used to ask “why should I tie when I don’t have a husband?” and other things that are familiar in a Brahmin household.
I lived with my grandparents. Grandpa is no more and I continue to live with grandma. I know how wonderful times spent with grandparents are. You get to learn a lot with their presence around. I learnt to play long-dead-games like pallanguzhi, dhaayakattai (game played in Mahabharatha. Paati hates and thatha’s favourite :-D). Their simple stories and songs put me to sleep, been carried over shoulders for long, heard them tell same stories over and over again (grandma still does it), celebrate every festival with them. I’m indeed a blessed soul. My days. Older days. Happier days.
So, grandma introduced me to Lakshmi paati. Apparently she is the one who helped my grandma get a home for rent when she shifted base to my native. Later she went on to buy the same home and we live there. My grandma was hellbent on taking me to meet her so that I’ll get to know her history and past life from the horse’s mouth! What difficulties she faced when she came to a new place and how she struggled to come up in life. Lakshmi paati, being the witness of all! It was a learning experience for me. She talked about so many things. Right from her wedding, stories from my father’s childhood days, her job in the education department, events in which my grandma took part, her gift- a Krishna statue from Guruvayoor (he continues to pose and smile in our hall). Non-stop talking as if the past was running as a film in front of her eyes! My grandma has told me many stories over and over but hasn’t said much about her own life. By meeting Lakshmi paati, I learnt that as well. Left wondering if I were in their shoes, would I have survived? I don’t know. I returned home with heavy weighing skull!! So much information has been grasped in a day!
I decided to write about this because I know many of current generation kids who miss the opportunity of living with their grandparents, listening to their stories. Even if it is so, most times elders feel youngsters don’t like listening to them and youngsters think they don’t have just enough time for them. Wisdom, knowledge, fun are lost. I hear elders say we don’t have patience/ inclination/ time to take to our parents, let alone grandparents.
I only wish the present generation children be blessed to stay with grandparents, taught to respect, value and cherish the times they spend with them, get to know them, earn their wishes and prayers – the greatest protection one could ever have!
PS: I didn’t proof read, check if this post has a flow. Went on typing as thoughts hit me. Read somewhere that it is better to write as if there is no one reading 😉