Adventures with grandpa

Grandpa loved to spoil them and granted them unlimited play time unlike grandma.

My daughters had the good fortune of growing up with grandparents in a joint family. The wholehearted support extended by my in-laws in raising my two daughters, who were born in quick succession, came as a boon.

My mother-in-law had her pack of interesting stories to keep them engaged, while my father-in-law was for action — taking them on his scooter for long rides until they were tired and sleepy! Grandma chose to discipline them, but the adventure-loving grandpa loved to pamper and spoil them! 

Once they started going to school, there was more demand for grandpa, asking him to drop them to school at times, or there would be a long list of requirements — like an urgent need to buy something for the school, to buy gifts for friends’ birthdays and so on. Grandpa was ever ready to take them to the shop however late it was.

He would repair their bicycles and every year before school started, he would cover all their new books with brown wrapper and stick labels on them. He would support their demand for purchase of a new school bag, pencil box, lunch box etc every year, much against our wishes. He would grant them unlimited play time unlike grandma who was after them to finish the homework. 

The girls used to say “Thatha is very jolly.” The three of them, on his two-wheeler, could be sighted at Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, or Super Bazar during the weekends. They would eat pani puris, ice cream and popcorn.

At the start of their vacations, he would say, “Come, let us make plans for the holidays,” and take them to his room. As they pestered him about the plans, to tease them, he would announce, “I will give you Rs 1 each, you can buy whatever you want” and watch them scream, “No Thatha, not fair. It is not enough!” After a long discussion, the threesome would finally arrive at some agreement and go out on their expedition and return with a lot of junk stuff!

When they became independent as adolescents, they found “his interference” irksome. But when they had to go somewhere urgently, they would plead with him to drop them. Pretending to be busy, he would watch them get angry. Then, he would smilingly come and drop them to wherever they wanted.

My daughters had been away from home after their marriage. When they recently visited us, they were anguished to see grandpa aged and weak. His restricted movements had forced him to depend on others for his daily activities. He slept for most part of the day. Reconciling to the fact that his old-age problems were irretrievable, they were discussing ways to entertain him. 

That is when he woke up and appeared from his room, to their utter surprise and joy, neatly dressed with a walking stick in hand, ready for his evening stroll! Though he walked at a snail’s pace that day, my daughters were relieved to see his spirits still high and alive!

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