I dedicate this post to all inspiring grandparents.
January 2nd is an unforgettable date. Not because it is the day after the New Year ruckus, when we get back to normalcy. But because it was on that day, three years ago, that I lost one of the most special and influential people in my life.
When I was younger, I had always thought what it was like to lose someone you cherish to the grips of death. I tried to imagine the pain of it, but was not successful in the venture. The first time I would actually experience that inexplicable ache in my life would be through the death of my maternal Grandmother, or ‘Ammoomma’.
If I am to describe her with a single word, then that word would be ‘Selflessness’. She was an epitome of altruism. It was one of the greatest lessons that she imparted onto my mother, who in turn taught me the same. Many incidents in my Ammoomma’s life exemplify the godliness in selflessness. In fact, we often attribute much of the fortune in her children’s lives to her simple, humble and divine nature.
Ammoomma was a woman of essence, adorned with several virtues. Blessed with immense intelligence, she was a very creative and philosophical person. She had an exceptional role in my early upbringing and character tuning. I was lucky to find a lovely storyteller in her. My early familiarity with traditional folklore, epics and mythology, which helped to build my foundation in spirituality and Indian culture, was mainly due to the bedtime stories that she whispered to me. I’m much obliged to say that whatever literary abilities I have are the gifts I received from her through my mother.
One of my fondest memories of her revolve around the deep philosophical discussions at home. My father often enjoyed having a ‘large cot conference’ (as I would call it) with her, with Achamma (paternal Grandmother) and I as an ardent audience. Both of them would have long engaging conversations, mostly about the transience of human life and the idiocies and idiosyncrasies of man. Love of God was also a common topic of discussion. In my memories, Ammoomma had always been a saintly figure, close to the Lord due to her pure, innocent nature.I also enjoyed those moments when both my grandmothers had the typical ‘elderly buddies’ conversation, when they would recount incidents from their memory lanes.
I have a lovely mother. She is one of the most virtuous of women I know. And I’m blessed with an extraordinarily noble man for a father. I must thank both of my grandmothers from the depths of my heart, for it were they who brought up such amazing people even in the absence of their fathers (Unfortunately, I’ve never experienced the love of a Grandfather..my maternal Grandpa passed away while my mother was barely 2 years old, and my paternal Grandpa passed away when my Achamma was eight months pregnant with my father). Both my grandmothers have taught me lessons on will power and inner strength, built on faith in God.
My Ammoomma and I shared a special bond, a bond that often seemed to transcend our worldly relationship as grandmother and granddaughter. Even today, after three years and one day since that worldly bond was seemingly ‘broken’ by Death, I could still feel her loving presence…almost like that of a Guardian Angel. I personally believe in reincarnation. My Ammomma’s soul could have reincarnated somewhere…or it might have become one with the Universal spirit (she was a harmless, kindly person, afterall..I don’t think she has ever committed any sin purposely in her life).. Whatever might be the case, I can still feel her watching over me affectionately. She might have gone from this materialistic world, but she remains in my memories forever. Occasionally, she blesses me with her presence in my dreams, when I get the opportunity to lie with my head on her tender lap, with her wrinkled, fragile and soft fingers stroking and patting me to sleep, and her mellow voice whispering age-old wisdom for my soul.
For all the parents who read this, I have a request. Kindly bless your child with the affectionate presence of his or her grandparent(s), if possible. The quality time spent with them can go a long way in shaping you child’s personality, instilling several valuable lessons. I’m ever grateful to my parents for having given my brother and I with this grace. Also, I request all the young readers to ensure that you do spend quality time with your grandparents, making it a point to express your gratitude through your care. Grandparents are living books of wisdom. We need their love, their bedtime stories, and their life lessons.