Monday, February 26, 2018

The Centenarian amongst us!

I always remind Abhay of how lucky he is to be living close to both his  paternal and maternal grandparents. Not everyone gets to be indulged by paternal grandparents on a day-to-day basis and enjoy the 24/7 on-call homework help from his maternal grandparents like Abhay does!  (Touchwood!) In fact, our household has four generations living under the same roof.....with the oldest and the youngest almost a century apart in age!  It not only makes up for a stimulating home environment for growing kids but also enables them to understand family relationships and empathize with different levels of co-existence (at least I hope so!)

Of course, today's grandparents do make it a point to spend time and pamper their grandchildren, but how many kids get to spend time with their great-grandparents? I said in one of my earlier posts, Abhay has been more than blessed on that count and as his  great grandmother celebrates her hundredth birthday today, he can still count on her to rush to his rescue when being disciplined by his parents! Though she has been wheelchair-bound for the last nine years, and barring a few age related issues,....Abhay's "Doddajji" is active as ever. So much so, that she can even double up as another one of Abhay's nosy siblings, always trying to obstruct his defense-cricket play at home......leading to cross-generational-fights forcing Abhay's grandmother to intervene and diffuse the high decibel situation! Not to be left behind, my little one too reserves her performances exclusively for "Doddajji" only!  Much to Abhay's chagrin, his dodda-ajji also dons the role of a peacemaker during the fights between him and sister over sharing of toys or chocolates, etc!

While it is her indefatigable spirit and unparalleled zest for life that has Abhay's Dodda-ajji achieve the centenarian status, the credit greatly goes to her primary care-providers, my in-laws, particularly my mother-in-law who has had to cut back on a lot of her freedoms to take care of Doddajji!

No celebration in our household is complete without a book and I had to drive all the way to the author's place to pick up this signed copy!  Well, special occasions demand special effort and I am extremely grateful to Ms Roopa Pai, the author, who quickly responded to my urgent request and was kind enough to readily offer one of the last copies of her book! "How old is MUTTAJJI?",  a Pratham publication authored by Roopa Pai and illustrated by Kaveri Gopalakrishnan, is a perfect book for this memorable occasion and did rounds in the entire family circle!

Putti and Putta are excited to travel to Mysore to visit their mother's mother who takes care of their mother's mother's mother  on the latter's birthday! :-) As they try to figure out their great-grandmother's age, they are led into a matho-historical adventure of calculating her age on the basis of certain historic milestones that their Muttajji connects to her very own personal milestones! As they try to ferret out information on the "Grand-Maharaja-Maharani's party"  or the "Clean Trains" or "The Dam that tamed the river Kaveri" at the  local library with the help of grandpa  (and not Google......mind you!) and do the necessary math, they finally arrive at a figure which is exactly the same as our Doddajji! A wonderful story that has so many different elements packed into one - from history to maths, from local flavor and culture to family traditions, from adventure to subtle and relatable humour, aided by lively and delectable illustrations - this book is a treat in itself....and to be reading it to our own "Muttajji"  on her hundredth birthday, makes it all the more endearing!!  And thanks to this book, we too went from "old people don't have birthday cakes" to getting a big cake with pineapple icing and roses on the top!!!

On a side note, the math element in the book reminds us of Abhay's maths-professor grandmother who's birthday it is tomorrow. Not everyone has a hundred year old great-grandmother living with them and not everyone has a mathematician happy birthday to Abhay's "Doddajji" and advance wishes to Abhay's "Sannajji"!!! :-)

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