While I watch my child swim like a mermaid, a lady came and wished me. She shared, “I have attended a few parenting sessions of yours and we are fascinated to hear about your real-life incidents and the ease with which you bring on the shelf the issues pertaining to child development.” She continued with a slight grin and told, “We have many times tried to google your topics but the information you share is seldom on it!” I smiled and felt humble. I had no reply except to thank her for the encouraging compliment.
She went, leaving behind a stream of memories that crawled me back to a terrain that sinks deep inside, I seldom visit. My google is my grandmom, a fair and lovely lady whom I lost some 13 years back when she left the world blissfully at 82. When I entered my motherhood, I tried to replicate the way she brought me up, absolutely carbon copying her ways. She has been my guidance and reference book for upbringing my daughter and to help mothers’ like me to bring up theirs’ without any whims, fancies, and frills. Going back to the traditional way is the best. It’s rightly said for a leap you have to move a few steps backward.
I vividly remember my first career stint at New Delhi 16 years back from my holy city-Amritsar. Before that, except for a few college trips, I had hardly ventured alone away from home for so long. Hence, working in a new city was challenging. Every fortnight the homesickness would thump and my peon knew exactly when to book my home ticket. I was the only Punjabi in my office and somehow my colleagues had a fascination for Amritsar, its delicious food, mithai, and traditional phulkari and gota suits, not to miss the famous Punjabi juttis. I always received special treatment at the office and most of them looked forward to my Amritsar visit. I still remember, just before leaving, my workstation would have paste slips with orders written. A huge list of paparh, vadhiya, motichoor laddus, patisa, suits, and dupattas. Uff ! It was an endless list. I would carry a single bag and would return with 3 bags full. It was fun.
Shatabdi would mostly reach Amritsar an hour late. Dad was always waiting near my coach and we would drive back amidst the pin-drop silent Amritsar roads that would otherwise be bustling during the day. The tranquility of midnight was a respite from the Delhi madness. Everything would look so small against the gigantic capital. And the most delightful of all was entering our beautiful campus that had only 8 spacious homes. The fragrance of Madhu Malti and Raat ki rani would wipe away the tiredness of the journey. The road towards my lovely home would be filled with amaltus. In the night the yellow would emanate meditative energy and optimism. Our home was magnificent, the comfort and ease of living in government accommodation is unmatchable, even the luxurious, too perfect apartments of metros stand nowhere close to them. The royalty of having big lawns and verandahs was enchanting.
I distinctly remember our entrance gate was very small, probably in those days, people had open hearts and neighbours lived together like extended families. I would open the gate for dad to park the car in the adjacent driveway. Overlooking the lawn and the verandah was my grand mom’s room. Biji would always be awake till I reached home. For her waking up at this hour was too late. She would sneak outside from her window. I was welcomed with her charming smile. Her child-like excitement was indescribable when I would keep my luggage in her room and she would hug me. I would often argue with her for not sleeping on time as I would have met her in the morning. But her embrace said it all! I knew how desperately she waited for me. The next two days would be an amusement for both of us. I often felt sad to see her crippled movements and how small her space was, her room, and a few walks with a cane in the lawn. Winter afternoons and summer evenings, she would spend sitting in the verandah watching passers-by. Hence, I rejoiced to break her monotony. We would envelop into our car for what we called ‘our weekend gehris’. Mom dad while sipping their evening tea in our lush green lawn would laugh as they knew we are unstoppable when together.
Me and biji would wander around our famous Lawrence road and devour the famous gol gappas, chaat, and finally our favourite faluda kulfi. Finally, Sunday would rush away and Monday 5 AM was the time to be back to the pavilion. Biji would always insist me to sleep with her so that she could wake me up on time. Her pat on my forehead would never rest until I would fall asleep. She would hug me and send me away with her comforting smile. I used to give her fortnight pocket money. She would take it with utmost pride. Many years later, it was the same money that she gifted me back as my marriage gift!
Meanwhile, a splash of water brought me back to the poolside, where I sat waiting for my daughter to come out. That day, I travelled into my subconscious that I rarely visit. Today when I hold the mike, stand in front of a jubilant audience, the moment I speak, the words randomly keep coming from somewhere in the cosmos. No books, qualifications’ or technology can teach the best lessons of life. To sound interesting, you have to experience life in a subtle, delicate way. I strongly feel, she helps me with ideas so captivating that people can’t find them on google. I looked up in the sky, tearing apart the smoggy Gurgaon air, a cool breeze passes through me. I feel the same pat on my head.
While driving back to our cosmetic apartments, no verandahs, and lawns overlooking the entrance. No one peeps out of the window anymore. No wrinkled faces out there to wait. I carry my city in my heart and my grandma in my Sanskars, unfolding the plethora of knowledge she left for
me that I spill over wherever I can
- Shared by Meenu Chopra,
“Over 18 years of experience as a project director with the Ministry of Rural Development, CII, Naukri.Com.
Presently, as an entrepreneur, run a consulting firm viz Headway. Practicing since over 8 years now as a life & parent coach. Associated with Ms. Minal Bajaj for her women empowerment programs viz. Hamara Sapna, Amity International School as a panel judge, KIIT group of schools as a parent coach, Vibgyor schools-4 clusters for their student program “How to be happy thinkers”.
Author of 2 books viz. “Wake up Zindagi” & “The Healer Within”Toggle panel: Widget After Content