Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Flipping through the pages of an old family album, my son stopped at a picture . It was the photo of my mother-in-law when she was young and quite pretty. She sat petitely before the Taj Mahal with a soulful look in her eyes.

"Who's this, ma?" he asked.

"It's your dida". ( In hindi 'dida' becomes ' dadi' ). I replied as casually as he had asked me.

"You sure are kidding, mom. This cannot be dida. She looks so pretty here."

He sure was correct. For , my mother-in-law indeed looked beautiful in those honeymooning days. Far from her betel- chewn-red-stained remnants of three pairs of teeth, her smile was nothing short of the Colgate girl ,with a flashy smile.

"And see, she's carrying a vanity-bag too !" he exclaimed with plenty of skepticism in his big-lashed-questioning eyes.

He simply wouldn't take the once-a-pretty-woman-now-a- grandmother- theory , hands down.

This started me thinking. We find it difficult to accept certain things about our grandmas and grandpas.
Like, they ever had black hair or uncreased or unfurrowed skin .
They were born wise. They can never be wrong. This compliment perhaps makes it so much the easier for those septuagenarians and octogenarians who might have failed in school !
They never enjoyed full 16 pairs of dental arrangement.
Grandparents never knew about sex and cheap things like that !
We look at our elderly generation with a certain veneration, which is absolutely fine.

But have we ever thought that in doing so we also bind them in a holy halo which at some times may be actually throttling to them. By granting them a saintly stature, are we not denying them some of their needs?
It's true that after a certain period they may naturally lose the zeal of certain things but what if they don't ? What if they actually enjoy an adult romantic thriller as much as we do but are too embarrassed to acknowledge it?
In fact , whenever I watch a movie with my grandparents and an unwarranted scene comes up , I am so much flustered by discomfiture that I either start talking too much (about different incoherent things like the weather !) or try to divert their attention : much to their chagrin ! So it is I NOT THEY who am truly embarrassed !
Coming back to where I started, My son had almost finished and had reached the end of the album.

Now his fingers rested on the photograph of his infant father who was a toddler, being given a bath by his mother !


tania sen said...

Nice topic to write on!! yet expectations are much higher from you.

Anonymous said...

Old people enjoy the camouflage of being aged, escaping many a just treatment. In my opinion, India has long obeyed and venerated the elder, but isn`t it time we turned the tables on them, and run this country our way, for just once?Think, before this comment has you rushing for the`Reply` button, to shoot off an incensed reply to me......

Neeru said...

Well youth and age are always at dagger's end,but both sides are equally potent and demand equal weightage.We do require young zeal and enthu enveloped in layers of wisdom and experience.We want confidence and responsibilty but not childish bashfullness.We do want eagerness to learn and ado our mistakes but not sky-high arrogance.Therin we require youth walking hand in hand with age. After all youth and age are two faces of the same coin! Age has its own wonderful experiences, and thus the clashes between the two are always interesting and at times funny,in the ways you've mentioned.good job!

Rajeev said...

You've encaged a very pleasing and heart warming event in your life with choice words direct from the heart. I loved it as it was touching,in its own simple gentle ways.

nabanita said...

You sound very much like my mum.She is a minute observer and remembers the finest details of life which are the essence of it.Vey homely,very pleasing.