Lessons Learned from my Grandpa

LessonsLearned691 300x175 Lessons Learned from my Grandpa

Lessons Learned from my Grandpa

There is a naughty child hidden in every old man. My Dadu had one too. That naughty child would peek out every once in a while and make someone bear the fruits of his pranks. Me. But as with the case of every innocent – they teach you so much in every step they take. So did my Dadu. Why I am associating him with a child, I don’t know. For it was his fingers, which guided my first steps. Or is it due to the fact, that I remember bidding him adieu as his vacant, innocent eyes looked upon me with a tinge of sadness. Earliest memories of him taught me:

Love for Books: I remember he had a locked cupboard. My curiosity knew no bound as to what was in there. During those days, I would imagine all sorts of sweets and later as demands in my life introduced me to the green notes- I would think it was Ali Baba’s cave. It wasn’t. It was full of first editions of Bengali Literature, Works of Shakespeare and some very old Chinese Literature. The smell of old books, with those yellowed, papery delicate pages makes me still hold old books with such reverence.

Though I still have one question for him – why did he keep it locked? I mean, I was a young kid. He could hardly blame me if a few small fingerprints with great blops of mango pulp left some permanent marks. He was a possessive old man, I tell you. And on top of it, he left me those books and that same feeling of possessiveness – shattering all my dreams of Ali Baba’s treasure cave.

Entertainment need not be Expensive: In today’s gadget filled world, this is a rare commodity. I remember the time when a new club had opened in Ranchi. I think it was called Gymkhana. Can’t recollect. But, I do remember that the cost of membership was very high and I wanted it bad. Why? Not because I wanted to dance in the wee hours of the night but simply because Archana, my then best friend had it. I was furious when I was denied the privilege on the ground that it is a wastage of money. Archana’s parents got the award of being the best parents in the world while I declared, to my family, that I was born by mistake in this household where simple pleasures of life was denied. Like a warrior, I battled the whole family but could not even make a dent in their indulgent smile. Of all the times, they chose that moment to show solidarity!

Only Dadu understood how much I wanted that. He asked me why I wanted it so bad. I remember mumbling that it will clear my brain after a hard day’s work. I was in year 5. He did not laugh. Next day was Sunday. He took me to a grove.

Early morning, when the mist was just deserting the earth, the smell of oak touches your soul. A blanket of acorn covered the damp earth. Small squirrels scampered everywhere. The beauty intoxicated me and for a moment I forgot my resolution to stay angry. I ran about, squealing in delight, at the scampering squirrels. (Note to animal lovers: I thought they were playing hide and seek with me). I hugged Dadu and thanked him for bringing me here. He smiled at me and said, “well sweetie, since you are relaxed now ….”and took out a wretched Wren & Martin from the back seat of the car. I was duped !

About Rubina Ramesh

Rubina Lessons Learned from my Grandpa

Rubina Ramesh

Rubina Ramesh is a writer/ blogger at The Book Club. Her passion for books made her realize that there is world of book lovers out there. Her writing stint started with Indireads and now she is working on two manuscripts – a Romance and a mythological. She just hopes they see the light of the day soon.

Lessons Learned from my Mother-in-Law

Rubina Lessons Learned from my Mother in Law

Rubina Ramesh

At the age of 23, I stepped into a world totally alien to my upbringing. I still remember my relatives howling on my wedding day. Their main concern was – ‘How can she, being a Bengali, survive without fish and rice?’ Not one person cried, much to my dismay that I was going to leave home soon. I still remember the day before I was moving to Delhi with my newlywed husband, my mom and aunts made 22 different dishes of fishes, irrespective of the fact that I had a very small appetite due to my nervousness. My aunt told me at least a hundred times that I have made the biggest mistake in my life in marrying a Tamil Iyengar. But the deed was done and my fate was already sealed. Romance was slowly being touched by the tint of grey.

Lesson 1: Any Relationship needs time and effort.

My mother-in-law and I were loggerheads. Not the screaming and screeching kind. The silent kind. If silence could kill, this would be my rebirth. But strangely and unknowingly, we both had made one self rule. Men of the household will not interfere. Whatever problems we had we would solve it between us. Even if not amicably, at least in civil manner. Not once had she complained to her son regarding me and even when I was itching to do so, I refrained. After three months, she ordered me – ‘Lets go shopping.’

Lesson 2: United front

Relatives can be a boon or a bane. One such ‘Athai’ (aunt) who would frequent our house would not leave without commenting how the Bengali could not speak Tamil. Such a shame. In my defense, all I can say is that I am no linguist. I have passed Sanskrit examination in my school after mugging it to death. But that day, when that lady was enjoying herself at my expense, my mother-in-law stood up and politely asked her to leave. Her exact words were – ‘if my son cannot learn Bengali, why should my daughter-in-law learn Tamil?’

I almost fell down and stared at her. After Athai went away, I thanked my MIL. She told me abruptly that our personal problems should not go outside the walls of the house. My dreams of a Rajshree Production Household shattered.

Lesson 3: To bend is not to break

I strongly believe in women’s rights. Indian women during their mensuration days not only fight a hormonal battle but also social and religious ones. It was for the first time I realized that I could not even enter the kitchen in my house and eat from the utensils kept in the kitchen. There was a different set of utensils for that. The woman in me objected and I refused. Let’s say it was a world war III. Sadly, I ended up looking like Hitler. And as I had made the stupid rule, my hubby did not interfere. In my anger, I called my mom up – the antithesis of my MIL. But my mom only said one thing, ‘if you are living in her house, it is her rule. You’ve to follow it. When you come here, you can do what you want.’ I was deflated. The woman in me protested. And then when all the other relatives where screaming and shouting, my Mil came to my room and told me – ‘why are you angry with this rule? You should accept it happily.’ Reasoning? Three days of holiday. To do what I like, go out and not bother about the household work. For the first time, we both giggled like two kids. That is one moment I will cherish all my life.

It took me more than a year to accept her as my Mom and it took her more than a year to accept me as a daughter. What can I say? Some relationships take long to form, but when they do they are for life.

About Rubina

Rubina Ramesh is a writer/ blogger at The Book Club. Her passion for books made her realize that there is world of book lovers out there. Her writing stint started with Indireads and now she is working on two manuscripts – a Romance and a mythological. She just hopes they see the light of the day soon.