Grandparents are precious. I have some very close to heart memories of my thakuma (paternal grandmother), dida (maternal grandmother) and my dadubhai (maternal grandfather). My thakurdada (paternal grandfather) passed away when I was too small and I don't have any memory I can recall, sadly. I have only been told how he was very loving and stayed with us at Ranchi when I was about a year old.
Last few days, I have been thinking of my grandparents and a chat with Amma (Ira's Ajji) brought back these memories flooding.
My Thakuma and Dida are the most beautiful women I have ever known. Conventional bengali beauties. As a child, I always wondered why that part of the gene I missed, mostly the impeccable nose :)
My memories of them are about food or play, the ways they expressed their love. I vividly remember my Thakuma playing bat and ball with me at the veranda of the house in Mysore. She was to return to Batanagar that day by train with Baba. She passed away some days after that and I hold on to that picture of hers. I was about 7 years old and Joy was on the way then. So, he hasn't met our paternal grandparents. But he walks and his posture is like our thakurdada.
My dida was as loving and protective as she could be. But I also always felt having 6 daughters, she had a weakness for grandsons. That didn't mean she loved her granddaughters any less. My biggest memories of her are when she always took my side, each time I fought with my choto mashi ; the maach paaturi with alu or begun (fish in mustard paste with potato or brinjal) she made. No paaturi I have ever eaten comes close to that and my Ma does make a kickass paaturi. Dida was a brave woman who fought cancer, who embraced pain with great dignity. We lost her to the terminal illness and lost her young. Joy was named by her, symbolizing her happiness at his birth.
My dadubhai was as cool as cucumber. A fabulous dad and a loving grandfather. My best memories of him are his letters to me in impeccable English and my letters to him in Bangla written in an inland letter or postcard. When I was in college, he came to Bangalore to stay with us. While the weather didn't suit him and aggravated his asthma, the fact remains that he never complained. We shared some favorite dishes like soaking the hot phulka in Masoor dal and also bhindi bhaate with shorshe tel (boiled ladysfinger with mustard oil). We enjoyed the paan flavored Polo too. He taught me patience with cards. He was a pro at bridge but I could never get a hand of that. He stood by me during some difficult emotional times during my teens and he was there with no judgement. I want to grow up to be a grandparent like that, whose silent support is strong, as strong as the tight hug and the loud support-slogan screams.
Also, I want Ira to build such memories about her Dadu-Dida and her Ajji. And also her Mesho-dadu and Mashi-dida who are a part of her growing years as closely as it can be. I want her to have memories of food, of love, of play, of conversations. Memories are not about the gifts she gets, they are about the fact that she plays pictionary with Ajji and learns Kannada; shares a cream bun with her dadu when he picks her up and tells him stories about her school friends; tells her dida how the banana stem is yummy and sings the ghumi ghumi song that dida sings; about how the karela dish is made by her mashi dida and playing with all her kitchen vessels; and about convincing her Mesho-dadu how kanakpura is pronounced and sharing her toys stories.
I hope she makes a memory box for her grandparents, when I give her the idea- a box that will unravel her most precious memories of them in their own little way.
As she builds on her experiences and her memories, I look with pride and immense happiness because grandparents are precious and she is lucky to have them in her life.
So, this note is from one grandchild to another, with love.
#gratitude #grandparentsareprecious #Dadubhai&Dida #Thakurdada&Thakuma #Dadu&Dida #Ajji #Meshodadu&Mashidida #Memorybox