“Daadoo…….!”, comes an excited yell from across the house. It is early morning yet. I have just picked up my newspaper and am savoring my first cup of tea – a tissue restorative with which I prefer to start my day. With nimble feet, my 18 month old grand-daughter runs up to me. She catches hold of both my hands and, demonstrating athletic skills which could put a professional to shame, climbs up my not too sturdy a frame and promptly maneuvers herself on my lap. The English daily attracts her attention, and she joins me in an impatient browsing of its contents. “Vroom… vroom!”, she says, putting her dainty finger on one of the car advertisements. This is the start of a typical day in the life of our household.
The love and affection one feels for one’s grand-children is not easily captured in words. One never realized when and how one’s own kids grew up! Tied up then with responsibilities, chasing career ambitions, juggling the diverse roles one has to play in the society when in that age group, seldom did one have the luxury of spending quality time with one’s kids. But with grand-children, the scenario is quite different. Responsibilities have taken a back seat, and there is ample quality time available to be spent with the little angels.
Their simplicity and innocence is remarkable. Their million dollar smiles are priceless. The pranks that they play keep one amused. The clarity in their sharp eyes is such that one can peep into their souls. No prejudices and no biases – theirs is a pure soul. The soul is blemish free, yet to gather fresh impressions of a new life time.
They live in a world of their own. To them, life is possibly a garden, of which the lawns are covered with the soft morning dew. The sky is a brighter blue and the grass of a greener hue. Dawns and dusks are more fragrant. The days are carefree. See them doing a pantomime when playing a nursery rhyme like “Twinkle, twinkle, little star……” and you would see what I mean! Put them in a bath tub with a couple of toy ducks, and see how much they enjoy themselves!
The speed at which they learn from us and from the environment around them is simply amazing. Quite often, one realizes that their acts are merely a mirror image of what one does in their presence. Wordsworth, while expressing his love for nature, said that “The Child is father of the Man”. He was surely not off the mark. Grandchildren teach us how to experience unalloyed joy and love! They keep the family united and spread love amongst all the members.
The way we handle situations, our little angels quickly learn the same. When we feed the poor, they get a message. When our children show empathy and concern towards our welfare, their kids end up imbibing the same spirit towards their parents! When compared to a unit family system, the joint family system provides a healthier environment for the next generation to grow. The joint family system ends up creating an ecosystem which enables continuity in our cultural values and social beliefs. The same get passed on to subsequent generations.
On the flip side, children surely know how to wrap you around their tiny little fingers and get the result that they want – be it nourishment, entertainment or a simple toy which would lit up their face with an inner joy. If “management” is about getting things done, children are effective managers. Ask any marketing wizard, and he/she would vouch for the efficacy with which kids today determine the contours of a company’s advertising budget.
Their tiny egos surface the moment they feel neglected. They need undivided attention. Their demands brook no delay in execution. Tantrums come easy to them. Tears are one of the several weapons in their arsenal which they use with deadly precision to get what they want.
When one lives with one’s grand-children, one gets a unique opportunity to rewind one’s life back to the days of childhood. Each moment reminds one of one’s own childhood. Life itself is nothing short of a miracle; to see it reinventing itself, making a fresh start, and getting prepared for a new future is a blessing indeed.
“Allo, allo, allo…….ayye jutoo malo…”, she says. I find that my grand-daughter has started prattling on my cell phone. She has a very serious and intent look on her face. In her universe, a more serious telephonic conversation perhaps never took place! Soon, she hands over the phone to me, expecting me to continue talking to an imaginary person at the other end. I do her bidding, since I know she would expect me to chat endlessly for a few minutes. Meanwhile, her attention would waver and shift to some other object or activity. I can then possibly get back to the steaming cup of my morning restorative!