Muse n' Motivation

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Celebrating Grandparents!

We all need something to celebrate.  So, after Gokulaashtami and Vinayaka Chathurthi, Grandparents’ Day was here. Of course, the day passed us by like any other day. What after all is another day for humanity? After Lord Krishna’s grace and Ganesh Chathurthi’s warmth, Grandparents’ Day ushered in a sense of  the frail nature of human beings.

For most people, being a grandparent is one thing and having a grandparent is another.  I fortunately or unfortunately have experienced none of these. I never got around seeing my grandparents as their time was due before I arrived. And, I am still too young to become a grandparent myself. But I wonder, what it means to be a grandparent in today’s world?

It is no easy task mind you! While in earlier times, it was a state wherein you lavished all attention on your grandchild and almost became one yourself, today the situation is highly different. Grandparenthood is no longer a state of respite from tension or a time when you are free from all responsibilities. With nuclear families and working parents, the grandparent today has added responsibility. He/She has to baby sit the grandchild, bear with all the tantrums, run after the grandchild in spite/despite weak limbs, diabetes, heart problems and what not.  A grandparent has to pick up grandchildren from school, buy vegetables, take the pet dog for a walk and so on and so forth.

I am not saying that all grandparents have these tasks entrusted on them. Many do these things with elan and with no grudges at all.  In fact, many find it a great way to stay busy and occupied! Unfortunately, the reaction of all children and grandchildren is not as positive as it should be for our elderly citizens. Now, don’t mistake this article to be a write-up about Old Age Homes or Citizens’ Day (although these could invariably be related). It is just about the fact that not many seem to enjoy their grandparent state and many don’t seem to understand the value of having grandparents.

Till this date, I regret the fact that I couldn’t bask in the unconditional love of my grandparents. I feel that I have missed out on the warmth that only a grandparent can show his/her grandchild and protect them from the scoldings and beatings of  a parent enabling a child (me!) to carry on with all my pranks! The closest I have come to perceiving and understanding a grandchild’s affection for a grandparent is what I see in my child when he reacts to my parents’ warmth. I did not know that my son loved my mother so very much until she passed away. For days after her demise, he would go to sleep with her housecoat and spectacles. Somehow, those inanimate possessions of my mother seemed to partly compensate her absence for my son!

We have come up with days like Grandparents’ Day but how much of happiness are we able to give back to our grandparents for what they do for us unconditionally, I do not know.

Some grandparents seem to re-live their lost dreams through their grandchildren, trying to see in them what they couldn’t see in their children.  No wonder, not all are happy now-a-days with the parents insisting that they know best being the parents while the grandparents insist that they know better because they have already been parents once and so are wiser.

I suppose, like in any other relationship that needs patience, true love and understanding, grandparents, parents and  (grand) children alike need to truly understand the value of grandparents.

Wishing grandparents all over the world happiness, peace and good health not just on Grandparents’ Day but every other day of the year.


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14 Comments

  1. sridhar

    A really sobering article, Shail. As usual. I am now tempted to designate you as our collective conscience keeper. I had the blessing of seeing my maternal grandparents. My grand father died when I was 14 and my grandmother, when I was 33. But I could not relate to my maternal grandmother very much, as after an age she lost her mind. My father’s mom lived with us and died when I was 11.
    And you are right about the role of modern day grandparents. When I went to the US in 2007 I wrote a special piece for Indian grandparents visiting the US. Grandparents having their children in the US belong to a special class.
    A moving article, Shail.
    love
    sridhar

  2. Well-written…
    My grandfather was the pillar in my life and continues to be so even after his demise 2 years back. I am blessed to have known him…and all of my grandparents…who have been absolute sweethearts. They have loved me unconditionally and taught me all I know today.

    I feel sad when I see grandparents being ill treated today. They are note servants to do menial jobs…they deserve respect, love and dignity, especially at such a stage in life.

    One day when u become a grandparents u will know the beauty of that relationship…

  3. Indrani Talukdar

    A sobering thought, no doubt. My gran’s 95 and she was supposed to visit us this summerbut she can’t travel because of the excruciating pain in her body. I wish she were here because I don’t know how long she’ll be around for. good article, Shail.

  4. sridhar :
    A really sobering article, Shail. As usual. I am now tempted to designate you as our collective conscience keeper. I had the blessing of seeing my maternal grandparents. My grand father died when I was 14 and my grandmother, when I was 33. But I could not relate to my maternal grandmother very much, as after an age she lost her mind. My father’s mom lived with us and died when I was 11.
    And you are right about the role of modern day grandparents. When I went to the US in 2007 I wrote a special piece for Indian grandparents visiting the US. Grandparents having their children in the US belong to a special class.
    A moving article, Shail.
    love
    sridhar

    Dear Sridhar,

    Thanks. Nice that you liked the article. ‘Our collective conscience keeper’! Wow! that’s too big a compliment for an ordinary mortal like me.
    But I really bad for grandparents when things go wrong inspite of their best efforts.

    Thanks again Sridhar. Your comments are always a delight.

  5. Ashwathy :
    Well-written…
    My grandfather was the pillar in my life and continues to be so even after his demise 2 years back. I am blessed to have known him…and all of my grandparents…who have been absolute sweethearts. They have loved me unconditionally and taught me all I know today.
    I feel sad when I see grandparents being ill treated today. They are note servants to do menial jobs…they deserve respect, love and dignity, especially at such a stage in life.
    One day when u become a grandparents u will know the beauty of that relationship…

    Dear Ashwathy,

    True, one needs to become a grandparent to understand the true joy and value of such a state. Though I did not get to enjoy the warmth of a grandparent I do feel it when I see other grandchildren and my son too.

    Thanks Ashwathy.

  6. Indrani Talukdar :
    A sobering thought, no doubt. My gran’s 95 and she was supposed to visit us this summerbut she can’t travel because of the excruciating pain in her body. I wish she were here because I don’t know how long she’ll be around for. good article, Shail.

    Dear Indra,

    When my son misses my mother I truly understand what a grandchild feels. When my father itches for my son’s presence when we are away for long (vacation, etc) I can understand what a grandparent feels.
    Do visit your grandmother more often. Give her and yourself happy memories.

  7. Bhargavi

    Shail,
    I had the pleasure to be in the warmth of my maternal grandparents.
    I talked to my grandma yesterday, which I frequently do ( if I had known that today is the Grandparents Day, I would have wished her).
    My children too like her a lot and wish her on her birthdays.

    My paternal grandma, I didn’t see her, but my paternal grandpa was there, when I was born..but he passed away after some years, when I was little.
    Very sad to say, I have no memories of him and my grandma.

    Modern grandparent’s role is different than the previous generation grandparents.
    I accept your point 100%

  8. Dear Bhargavi,

    Nice that you liked the article and shared your memories of your grandparents. If only we took some time out for our grandparents then, every other day would be a grandparent day!

  9. Shernaz

    Hi Shail, didn’t know there was a grandparents’ day too…neither does my little grandson
    You have made some very valid and thoughtful points in your write-up as usual. It was very touching to read about your son’s reaction after your mother’s demise. Hope he has got over it now.

    It is sad that you have not had grandparents to spoil you. Never mind. When it is your turn be one and spoil your grandchild all you want. Well in my case, much as want to it becomes a bit difficult because I don’t like brats and don’t want him to become one. What an irony!

  10. Dear Shernaz,

    Yes, my son has got over my mother’s demise. Thankfully. It was difficult to make him understand when I myself was grieving.

    I know Shernaz, sometimes as grandparents, we re-live another parenthood and all the mistakes we did then we try not to do now so we either become too strict or too lenient!!

  11. No doubt grandparents role in bringing up their grand children is something no one can forget.

  12. Thanks Shri Ayyangar for expressing your view. There just cannot be anyone else like our grandparents!

  13. Thanks Shail for this interesting article.

    I have lot of good memories of my grand father. Both of us were great fans of cricket. We used to rock the house while watching cricket on TV. Many children have great liking for their grandpas. This happens as parents are spending less time with their children.

  14. A.Hari :
    Thanks Shail for this interesting article.
    I have lot of good memories of my grand father. Both of us were great fans of cricket. We used to rock the house while watching cricket on TV. Many children have great liking for their grandpas. This happens as parents are spending less time with their children.

    Hi Hari,
    Nice that you have lovely memories of your grandfather! Life is after all a treasure chest of memories and if all the memories stored are happy ones, then, great. Grandparents are the treasures of any family. Unfortunately, as you rightly mentioned, parents don’t seem to be too appreciative of this fact.

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