Wednesday, February 26, 2014

For my grandparents - on their 64th anniversary!

64 years!! With a mere 14 years of marriage behind me - 64 years seems like forever and then some more!! And yet, here they are - my grandparents, bearing eloquent testimony to the fact that nothing is impossible with a little bit of understanding, compassion and compromise! Yes, compromise - somehow, this word has gathered itself quite an unsavory reputation these days, and most people are under the impression that to compromise is to give in! However, probably the most important thing I have learned from my grandparents, it is that a little compromise can sometimes go a long way towards happiness and peace of mind, an angry retort bitten back can end a quarrel like nothing else can!!

My grandparents - way back then!

25th Feb, 2014 - the 64th anniversary

 Aaji and Aaba (as I call my grandparents) were married at a time when phrases like 'personal space' and 'my time' simply did not exist. The family - a huge sprawling joint family, of course - always came first! My grandfather being the oldest son, was expected to shoulder a lion's share of the household responsibility - and he did so admirably, to the extent of forgoing a college education so he could start earning! And my grandmother was the very engine which powered the entire household - a hundred activities, from dawn to dusk, day in and day out! To hear them talk about those days, is to learn another valuable lesson - a smile on the face of a beloved family member is always priceless, no matter the cost to yourself! It is no wonder that everything my grandparents have ever touched has turned to gold, the more they gave of themselves - the more they received!

Of course, it hasn't been all rosy and shiny - my grandparents have weathered their share of disappointments and misfortune and hard times! And I think their greatest strength has been to face all adversity head-on, to never play the blame-game, and most important - to never give up! Remembering their cheery optimism has helped me get through some of my problems - their pragmatic approach is something I try to emulate every day! And then the good times - what a dazzling bouquet of joyous moments! All their children well-settled and flourishing (how strange it must be to have kids who are grandparents themselves!), grandchildren all married and forging ahead with their lives, and what probably is the greatest gift of all - great-grandchildren to carry their legacy forward! I wonder, when they were starting out, did they ever expect their hard work and sacrifice to yield such a rich dividend? Take a look - the pictures speak volumes!

My mom with her siblings, my uncle and my aunt! The photo is a bit faded, but I love the simple joy of childhood captured forever!

Here they are, all of them grandparents now! Although, I'm sure their parents still see them as the mischievous kids they once were!

And yet more branches of this verdant family tree - my cousins, my sister and I - the grand kids!

And the precious great-grandchildren - the pride and joy of the entire family!

Blessed be the ties that bind generations!

I don't think this is said enough - and I take the liberty of speaking on behalf of the whole family here - we are incredibly proud and fortunate to have Aaji and Aaba standing tall in our lives. If I can manage to live my life with just a little bit of the grace and dignity that my grandparents have always shown, I'll count that among my greatest achievements! I think they are the coolest people ever - sure, given half a chance they'll talk your ear off - but hidden in their stories are the secrets to their contentment - their ability to find happiness in the most unlikely places, their willingness to forgive and forget. After 64 years, they still squabble and argue about the mundane - but their dependence on each other is clear for everyone to see. What an impossibly high bar - and yet, what an inspiring example!

So, Happy Anniversary, Aaji and Aaba, and wishing you many, many more - with love from your grand-daughter!!

1 comment:

  1. 64 years of togetherness - so hard to comprehend! Such a beautiful couple. Belated wishes to Aaji and Abba from me. They were ahead of their times then and still are. I have wonderful memories of gandhinagar. Even then, as a teenager, I thought they were very cool :) Enjoyed the pics especially the B&W ones ..