It is said that grandparents shower double the love of our parents. Lucky are those grandchildren that have received this love from their grandparents. When I reflect back on the life spent with my grandparents, all I can see is a child, scared and unloved, longing to win the approval of both sets of her grandparents.
Not all children get to live with their parents after marriage, which means their kids get to see less of their grandparents. Our father was an Army officer and we had to live in different cities every two years depending on his postings. Our paternal grandparents used to take turns living with all four of their children, which meant that we got to see them once every 5 years. Their arrival always stirred up mixed feelings as we were yet to develop that bond between us.
The other cousins met them more frequently and had their bonds spelled out clearly. Our paternal grandmother was a dominant lady that would dictate terms to all. My Late brother and I could not find ourselves spending more than 10 minutes in her company as she would draw comparisons and quick conclusions. Added to that was her cold attitude towards us. Now, I realize that grandparents can bond with the grandkids only when the daughter in law is on good terms with them. By good terms I mean to say, she should be selfless and highly tolerant. Can grandchildren be blamed for this lack of warmth between the elders?
Our paternal grandfather, an advocate, was a quiet person. He never spoke much to anyone as he was quite spiritual by nature. However, one activity we cherished with him was playing cards in the nights, after dinner. He would ask all of to assemble in his bedroom and we would play card games such as 5 4 3 late into the night on weekends.
Coming to our maternal set of grandparents, our grandmother was the daughter of the Diwan of Mysore Palace and our grandfather was a dentist. Our mother is one among the seven children born to them. Due to our Army postings, they could not get to stay with us as they were terrified of living in the north. Our mother made sure that we spent our summer holidays with them every year, come what may.
Each time we met our grandparents, we went back unloved and broken. Our hearts grew heavier as time passed and soon we turned into teenagers. We found that we could somehow deal with this lack. After all, not everyone was blessed with loving grandparents.
In my 12th grade, our father was posted to a Non-Army station, which meant that there were no central schools there. I was enrolled in a central school in the city where my maternal grandmother lived. This was a testing time for me as I did not know how to go about the ordeal. As the exams were fast approaching and I had planned to top my school, I began to study for 18 hours a day ( My plight needed an outlet too).
To my surprise, I found my grandmother waking me up at 4 am every morning with a glass of bournvita. Now, I disliked milk but she was adamant that I had to have it to get the energy required to put in the long hours of study. I began to like the early mornings even more ever since she sat up with me as I studied. On some days when I found that my uniform was not ironed, she would go across the street to get them ironed for me. This was new to me and I basked in it. I went on to top my school and city in my chosen stream and she had an important role to play in my success.
Years flew by and I got married to my best friend. When my grandmother heard that I was expecting my first baby, she came to our place ( we lived in different cities) to give me strength and instill courage. On the days when the morning sickness was more, I would be fretting and fuming. She would sit beside me and say “I gave birth to seven children. You have to be strong and you can go through the pregnancy peacefully.” That meant a lot to me and I was grateful to her.
After my elder son was born she came to visit us and stayed for the cradle ceremony. It felt so nice to have her around. She passed away last year and though I miss her, I still find the bond incomplete. I guess the childhood years form the base and a mistrust at that age creates a void that cannot be filled.
As I write this piece, many questions arise in my mind. Children cannot be treated like neighbours if the elders fail to carve a smooth relationship amongst themselves. I long for the stories that I barely heard in my childhood. The walks in the park that we never took. I long for the hugs that passed us by, our share of love that never found its way. I long to rest my head in their laps and experience the peace.
The time that goes by can never be turned back. Those that have crossed over never return. But peace can prevail when you know that at least some love has been shared.
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.
Watch this video to feel the emotions fully.