Over the Years
There are bonds that become weak with time and there are those who heal.
“Mummy ji, please don’t protect him when he is wrong. He is just 3 years old. If we don’t instill in him the difference of good and bad from this age, it will pose big problems when he grows up.”
“He is my grandchild, after all. How can I let you punish him at such a tender age? He is the first child in the family after your father-in-law’s death. Let me shower my love on my sweet, little kid.”
“Please try to understand Mummy ji. We are not asking you to cut off on your love. We are just asking you to be rational. If we stay mum in his growing years about where he went wrong, I’m afraid there’s not much we’ll be able to do when he grows up and gets out of hand.”
“Fine then. You think my love will spoil my grandson? Then do whatever you want. Also, keep in mind that I will not even dare look at the face of your next child, be it dead or alive. You young people think we are just there to spoil the generation.”
“Congratulations! It’s a girl!” said the doctor while shaking hands with the happily teary-eyed father.
“Mashaallah, it’s a girl! We have decided to name her Inaayah, meaning, a blessing!” announced the father to all his relatives.
All his prayers before the Almighty to bless the family with a girl, had worked their magic and had gifted the baby girl to the family of people who needed a thread to tie back their scattered pieces.
“Bahu! Your daughter is crying, please see to her.”
“Mummy ji please look after her for a while. I will take her once I’m done with the cooking.”
When she leaned over to look at the baby, she found tiny palms wrapped around her fingers. She smiled instantly, and for the next one hour, there was not a single cry to be heard. All that resounded within the walls of that house were the muffled giggles of the baby and the peek-a-boo sounds of her grandmother.
An hour later when the mother came, she hurriedly sat upright, saying “Make sure you make her sleep before starting your cooking. I don’t want to spoil another kid of yours.”
“Dadi, you know they made us do such difficult math problems at school today! But I solved six out of ten problems!”
“Hmm. Go tell this and all your other stories to your mom, she’ll be more happy to know about it. Let me sit and cut the vegetables for lunch.”
“No, but I want to tell my Dadi about everything that happened at school today!” exclaimed the little girl, hugging the old lady from behind.
She went on and on about anything and everything she did and learned at school. A chatter box – that is what everyone in the house named her after hearing her speak non stop about all the topics that used to come to her little mind.
“I want to go with mumma! Please let me go!” the little girl screamed through the uncontrollable tears flowing from her little eyes.
“Son, you take Bahu to the hospital immediately. I will take care of Inaayah.” said the grandmother to her son.
Her mother had met with an accident while bringing back the kids from school.
Her Dadi was the one to console, feed, and take care of her for a week till her mother came back home from the hospital.
“Dadi! Look at all the dance steps I learnt at school! They teach us dance for a good half an hour, every alternate day!” she exclaimed joyfully while repeating the dance routine step by step.
“What good will dance do? Look at your brother, participating in the science fair. It will do him some good, to say the least. Put your mind towards the brainy activities like your brother, rather than jumping around the house.” said the grandmother, caressing her grandson’s hair, her eyes still stuck on her dancing granddaughter.
“My school has annual function today, Dadi! Look at the glittery dress I’m going to wear for my dance tonight! Do you want me to show you my routine?” asked Inaayah, excited.
“What is it with you and dance? Pay some attention towards your academics as well! Look at your brother, he is a genius in computers. Do something useful like him.” replied the old lady.
“Offo Dadi, who will dance if I start focusing entirely on my academics? Also, bhai says I’m better off dancing because if I start with the technical stuff, Lord can only save it.” she replied, giggling.
“God, this girl! Go prepare your bag or you’ll miss your bus!” the grandmother replied, pointing towards the clock.
After Inaayah left, the grandmother received a call from her eldest daughter.
“You know, it is Inaayah’s annual function today and she’s going to dance in the front row! She’ll be wearing a shimmery dress, how pretty it looks!” she informed her daughter.
The grandson left town to join a job in a metro city.
“Bhaiya has moved out, now it is just me you’re stuck with for a long time to come, Dadi.” the granddaughter said, grinning.
“Yes yes. I know that now you’re going to eat my head off with all your chatter and silly questions. Lord help me!” exclaimed the grandmother.
In the summer of 2015, the grandmother suffered from a stroke which left her shaken. For a couple of days after the stroke, she could not recognize people clearly except for her daughter and her granddaughter. Her daughter and son were the ones taking care of all her medical requirements and her granddaughter was the one sitting on a chair beside her bed, holding her hand, praying silently for her good health.
“You are such a darling daughter!” said the grandmother in her feeble voice. “You’re taking my care like my own daughter! May God bless you with all the happiness and success in life and may you never have to face any grave difficulties in life. Thank god for sending you to me!” she showered the blessings on her granddaughter, hugging her tight.
There are bonds that become weak with time and there are those who heal. There are times when even the hardest of rocks crack because of the weather and tiny life sprouts from in between those cracks. All it needs is a little hope.
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