In loving memory of my Grandparents

By Ashima Aneja

My relationship with my grandparents was of love, trust, and respect. They imparted important values that helped me in my human revolution to lead a happy and balanced life. They pampered me, bought me my favorite ice -creams, chocolates, and toys and secretly gave me pocket money on various occasions. These gifts were sometimes to reward and reinforce my good behavior, for instance, when I accompanied them to fetch the weekly groceries from the market or scored well in my exams. Occasionally, I also received gifts without any reason, just because they wanted to see me smile. My grandparents fulfilled all my wishes without me reminding them of it. But this does not mean that they groomed me into a spoilt brat. They were strict, and I had to work hard to earn their appreciation.

My grandmother passed away when I was eleven years old. After that, my grandfather and I continued to make our lovely memories. He was a disciplined man. He would get upset when I woke up late during the summer holidays and would scold me. But, the next day, he would wake me up with a personal touch, gently hold my hands and take me for a walk to the park. On our way, back he would treat me a drink and tell me in his subtle ways what I missed if I slept till late in the morning. I later grew up to be a morning person.

I always played pranks on my mother to avoid eating vegetables. My grandfather encouraged my mother to use her creativity and helped me develop a taste for vegetables through delicious sandwiches, noodles, and stuffed sweets. I learned two important lessons in my life. My first lesson was to have a never give up attitude. The situation will certainly change if we are determined to find a solution to the problems. The second lesson was the art and science of cooking a healthy and nutritious meal, from the bouquet of seasonal vegetables around us.

My grandfather always ensured that we, as a family had our dinner together. Occasionally, when I arrived home late after work, I found them waiting for me at the dinner table so that all of us could eat the meal together.  I would ask my grandfather, “Why did you starve yourself till late?” He would say, “It’s very important for the family to eat at least one meal together. I don’t want my family to lead their life in their special cocoons.” From him, I learned to prioritize family time.

When I grew up, I started to pamper him in my little ways to make him feel special. I would stroke his head, hug him, cook his favorite delicacies, and buy him gifts from my salary. On a rainy day or a cold winter morning, I would prepare his favorite ginger tea and snacks.  As he grew older and found it difficult to walk, I created a mini botanical garden on the front lawn of our home and kept a small earthen pot in it, where birds could feed themselves. My grandfather would derive immense pleasure sitting outside in the lawn, reading his newspaper, sipping a hot cup of herbal tea, hearing the wind chime, and admiring the beauty of nature around him.

When he became very old, he felt lazy to come out of bed and start his day. I knew it was my payback time. I would wear my colorful overcoat, walk into his bedroom, wish him and say, “I am leaving for work, and will see you in the evening”.  Listening to my voice and seeing me well dressed, my grandfather would abandon his quilt and quickly get ready to embrace the new day.

My grandparents were one of the finest gifts from God to me. Although today we are physically apart, we remain connected emotionally and spiritually. Whenever I want something from God, I look at my grandparent’s photograph and echo in their ear. In return, they make a strong recommendation to Almighty in heaven.

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