Grandmas are special

Grandmas are special

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A few days back I was telling the twins about my grandmoms. That brought on a wave of nostalgia. We had two of them, amma my dad’s mother and chachi his aunt, who was just chachi to the whole world. They were inseparable yet squabbled all the time. My dad teasingly christened them Gulabo-Sitabo.

We had the best of both worlds – a strict mom who disciplined us all the time and the two doting grandmoms who more than balanced her out. Though it’s over a decade since they left us, somedays seemingly inconsequential occurrences bring their memories flooding back.

When I’m pushing the kids to have their milk I think of amma who was hopelessly fond of it. Whether she was ill or tired or not hungry at all – offer her a bowl of milk and she wouldn’t say no. It stood her in good stead when well into her 80s, she had a fall and even the doctor couldn’t believe that she had come away without broken bones.

She was a snorer – a loud and consistent one. She would be snoring loud and clear, yet if one of us asked ‘Amma are you asleep?’ she’d wake up with a start, “Of course not,” she would say indignantly. That turned into such a family joke.

She spoke chaste Awadhi (that’s a Hindi dialect), one of the sweetest tongues to me. And whatever she said was peppered with the richest collection of age old proverbs and sayings. She had the perfect one for every situation.

While amma was the religious one doing puja twice a day, Chachi was a young girl trapped in an old woman’s body. The high point of her routine was TV time. She had a fixed corner which she’d take right from the time transmission started. Those were the pre cable days yet she’d watch everything the television dished out – from programmes on agriculture and industry to the single weekly Bollywood film. She loved Bollywood.

She was the one who mended our clothes when the seams came off. She was the one who trawled markets looking for the perfect colour of yarn then figure out the ‘latest designs’ and knit sweaters for us even while pretending to complain about ‘these new fashions’. She would much rather chat up our friends than women her own age.

She’d haggle shamelessly with the man who came around to buy off old newspapers. Whatever she made by fleecing off the poor man came to us. Back when pocketmoney was unheard of, those few rupees were quite a treasure. She had the best stories to tell. A bit of mythology and a bit of legend with enough twists and turns and drama to satisfy the most demanding listener.

And she loved my sister – beyond the rest of us. Of course she’d never ever admit it even while blatantly favouring her. My sister was a complete potatorian, she loved potatoes to the exclusion of most other vegetables. Chachi would avoid mom’s eagle eye and dish up her favourite for her while the rest of us ploughed through the greens. If mum asked my sister to cook something, there was Chachi quietly and efficiently doing it for her and handing her the tray to go out and take the credit.

Of course it was completely another matter that our mum was a regular Hercule Poirot. She just knew everything. A royal battle would ensue but it didn’t stop her from doing it again.

How I miss them. With due apologies to my kids’ grandmoms, they just don’t make them like the old ones these days.

Come now, it’s your turn. What’s your favourite grandmom story?

Linking to ABC Wednesday for the letter G. Do drop by to see other G posts.

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15 Replies to “Grandmas are special”

  1. I want my grandma now 🙁 My maternal one is still around, in Chennai and I hope to go see her next month. She is over 80 already and I feel not enough time is spent with them. I try to ensure Gy gets enough and more pampering with both grandmas and it never feels enough, even though we are in the same city. Sigh… am in a maudlin mood these days.

  2. Oh mine was such a gem..I never met my father's mom because she passed away much before my parents were married…But my naani, I loved her so much and still do..It's been 3 years since she left this world but I still know she is near me…Whenever I visited her, I would be glued to her and tail her everywhere…I remember her making laddus and achar for me…She was one who loved reading and I think I got it from her..and she was so open minded, much more than my mother sometimes really… Oh Tulika you brought back memories!

    1. Nanis are the best. Laddus and achar.. yum. Your comment makes me want to be grandmom Naba. I think I'd like it way more than being a mum. Imagine no homework worries, just plain pampering. Such fun. It's a long long way off though – at least two decades.

  3. Awesome share! Grandmoms are always special. When my grandpa passed away, I couldn't visit owing to my board exams, she sent a note, asking me to take good care of myself for now it is I, who is her greatest strength, not forgetting to tuck two 100 Re note inside the envelope, the usual practice of her. I miss her, a lot.

  4. Love grandmoms…they are such sweethearts…both my grand moms spoilt me silly with stories, awesome food and just pampering…you are right they Dont make people like them…

    1. Glad you agree Gowri. I think the new gen grandmoms are much too sensible to allow for that mindless pampering which made you feel sooo good. 🙂

  5. Thank you for this tribute to the grandmas.! I am a grandma myself and I enjoy being an oma, as the grandchildren call me. They live far away in Australia and I hope to see them this summer again.
    Happy weekend!
    Wil, ABCW.

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