A visit to my grandparent’s place is almost always a relaxing, peaceful, and calming experience. Just three days ago, I had the privilege of visiting my grandmother’s place for the first time since her husband had parted company from her & this world.
My journey took me to a small town named Haldwani, which is ever so close to the tourist-famous town of Nainital. Nainital is nestled among the Kumaon Hills, where my father spent over 25 years of his life, including his entire childhood. The town of Haldwani had changed so much visually since I had set foot in it 6 years ago – still, there was something strikingly familiar in its essence. The town hadn’t lost its way amidst the advent of modernity – it was still a small town in stature, humble both in terms of architecture and lifestyle of its inhabitants. It was almost as if the town itself was down to earth and knew that it was merely a small town on the path to bigger and better hill stations and cities.
This visit, however, wasn’t just a quick trip to my grandparent’s place and back home. The three days that I spent there felt more meaningful than that. This was probably because I was away from my laptop and wi-fi internet, and had to rely solely on the stumbling signal of a 2G network, which ultimately I gave up on, since it put my patience to the test.
Unique to the usual trips to my grandparents’ house was the fact that here, my grandma wasn’t the eldest member of the house. I had the rare chance to see my grandmother as a child. Strange as it was to see grandma as a daughter – her mother, my father’s grandmother, graced us with her presence. Yes, my grandmother’s mother was there at the age of 92, alive, full of life and more energetic than many of us. To give a fair estimate of how old she really is, she saw India during the British Rule long enough to tell me stories about it. She hails from a time where women were not “supposed ” to read, write, or get educated, let alone get jobs. She’s had 7 kids, one of whom is already dead, and she has lived long enough to see her daughter lose her spouse. This, she says, is the curse which comes with a long life. Another estimate of how well she has kept herself is – she needs no help to walk, has a 6/6 vision, and can carry out long-distance travels without too much hassle. For me, getting out of the bed in the morning is a major impediment!
My conversations with anyone I have come across, however familiar or otherwise, always tends to involve a lot of points, counterpoints, and arguments from my side. The conversation with my great-grandma, however, went in the complete opposite direction: for once, I was quiet and that too, completely by choice. This conversation led to the conveyance of some spell-bounding stories, ideas, and ideals, which were enough to make a learned man sit quietly and listen. If you look at it this way, she is just an ‘uneducated’ old lady, who just learned how to read from her mother, but my college degree looked feeble and petty in-front of this ‘uneducated’ lady, who had never seen the inside of a classroom – such was the depth of her knowledge.
For selfish reasons, I choose not to disclose too much of what she told me, but in a nutshell, what she said was:
ALL OF US hear, understand, and perceive what kind of lives we should lead, but we never follow it truly to the fullest extent. We always tend to go loose on some principles or some self-made values, and that’s what costs us. Now, that is what helps attain a happy life, following our own principles to death. When inquired about her longevity, and on having an infinite reserve of energy, she just replied: “Satvik Bhojan aur Saatvik Aacharan”, which roughly translates to Virtuous Food and Virtuous Character. She also remarked: “Tum logo ko aaj kal har chiz masala maarke chahiyey” (You people. today. need everything spicy!). Another interesting remark she made was: “Krodh zeher ka kaam karta hai” (Anger is like poison for the body). “Ucch Vichaar”(Good thoughts), she says is of utmost importance, as if it were that easy – still, she somehow managed to do it for over 90 years!
That’s it, that’s how she lived for 92 years, happily, and continues to live on. Maybe, that’s what it is all about, doing simple things diligently & unwaveringly. I do not know, how in the modern world, we always find a way to complicate things. Maybe we do not like to do things in a simple and straight-forward way anymore. I would love to know how the world will look like 80 years from now, when I’ll be 100, and will be telling some young kid:
“Hey, listen up, you tiny human, let me tell you about life.” This way, the things my great-grandmother told me, will continue to live on through my existence.
Well, the rest, is rust and stardust.
Invincible! A word which describes what Hardik seeks to be in life. The power that he seeks, however, to make people happy! Nothing gives Hardik more pleasure than to comfort people and spread happiness. This innate need is the reason why he is interested in their stories, in what they have to say, and how they perceive life and this universe we’re in.