The bond between parents and children is further strengthened by the grandparents. Grandparents act as a bridge between parents and children. Children feel more secure and loved in the presence of grandparents so leave out the difference and let the children enjoy the company of their grandparents.
The bond between grandparent and grandchild is possibly one of the most pristine, pure and indelible relationships in the world. To illustrate, let me share my own experience. My father, who stayed with us at Rourkela for eleven years, left for a place called Puranpur, one hundred miles from Lucknow, in 2001, ostensibly to engage in litigation for ancestral property in Lucknow. The real reason however was a serious misunderstanding he had with me. Though he was loathe to part from his grandchildren, he left.
A few years later he won the case. The strain of completing the legal formalities proved too much for his frail, diabetic, seventy year old persona and he fell very seriously ill. My wife and I rushed to Puranpur and were shocked to see his condition. He could barely recognise us or even speak. I pleaded, begged for him to return but the only thing he kept asking was, "Where are the kids? Why haven't you got them? Will I be able to see them before I die?"
When he recovered slightly I made him talk to my kids - Ankita and Aniket. That seemed to engergise him a bit. Then I told him, "Babuji, you don't belong here. You belong in Rourkela with the kids. They are waiting for you; they are missing you every moment. Your place is by their side."
He began crying and wept like a child. "I too have been missing them. I can't live without them."
"Then let us go to Rourkela."
I finally managed to convince him and with my Uncle, a doctor, accompanying us, we travelled a distance of 1300 kilometres by train. All along the way IV was being administered. And more importantly every time the mobile signal was strong enough I made my father talk to his multivitamins his grandchildren. They kept telling him how they were counting each moment until they would be with him, how they were making preparations to welcome him and how much they had missed him all these years.
Finally when he reached Rourkela and his frail arms enveloped his grandchildren I knew medical science had lost out to the art of pure selfless love. A week ago he had been consigned to oblivion and here he was, after a gruelling journey of 1300 kilometres, talking excitedly like a child that has just found his favourite toy. As the tender scene of reunion, which will form a part of my most endearing and enduring memories, unfolded before my eyes, for the first time I had hope that he would survive.
And I was right. Today a month later his condition is a lot better. With his grandchildren around him he seems to be improving every day. I do not know how long he will last but I am sure every moment will be a fulfilling one.
I have shared with you this rather personal experience only to drive home the point that there is no relationship as loving, giving and caring that that between 'yesterday and tomorrow'. Unfortunately today the so-called 'pressures' of modern life and living have created a great divide between the grandparent and the grandchild.
Some of the most delightful memories of our childhood are those spent with our grandparents. The safe and secure lap of the grandpa, 'walking the talk and talking the walk with him', hiding behind his kurta when faced with an impending whack, the cajoling for ice cream, the coaxing for a toy. The mouth-watering pickles, the delicious delicacies of grandma, laced with the juiciest stories on long summer evening or cold winter nights...
Is it fair to deprive our children of this pleasure? Is it ethical to deny our parents this joy? Problems of logistics, clash of mindsets, even the profound factor of generation gap can all be solved. What we need is to think beyond ourselves. In the sunset of their lives our parents need the brightness of the morning sun and this glow can best be provided by our children. As they take their first steps forward our kids need the gentle guidance of hands that are feeble but hearts that are large, and this guidance can best be imparted by our parents.
Let today's generation, instead of being a chasm, become a bridge between yesterday and tomorrow. And believe me when you hear the giggles of your child and the laughter of your parent mingling - you will agree that this is one of the sweetest melodies you have chanced upon in a long, long time.