My grandmother (dadi) passed away on March 1, 2012. It has been six years and I still find it difficult to talk about her death since I was extremely close to her. We lived together till I got married and I used to sleep in her room. There are many things I learnt from her and she stays relevant in my life as I think of her almost everyday. Sharing seven big lessons I learnt from my grandmother.
Seven Lessons I Learnt From My Grandmother
1. Resilience and Adaptability
My dadi immigrated to Pakistan from India at the age of 21, seven months pregnant with my phupo, her first child. She was the pampered daughter of her landlord father in Sonipat village in India (near Delhi) but was married to a simple school teacher because her father valued education over wealth. All her life she adapted and showed resilience in the face of life's challenges. She shared her stories with me of how she was quite the princess before and then moved into a two-room house when she got married. How they immigrated to Pakistan in the midst of riots and barely made it to Rawalpindi on train. How they were allocated a small house that belonged to a Sikh family, who had moved to India, and how she always wondered about them. How she made friends after knowing almost no one in the new city and found her roots. Her stories helped me a lot as I moved to Canada myself after getting married and I applied her lessons as I built my life.
2. Making My bed Every Morning
My dadi would insist that I make my bed every morning saying that it was the only way to start the day right! This has now become a habit that I can't shake off. Research supports my dadi's lesson and making the bed in the morning is correlated with better productivity and wellness.
3. The Power OF Prayers
My dadi taught me how to say my namaz. She also taught me the importance of prayers and duas. She was regular with her namaz and her duas were long and detailed. If you were sitting close to her while she prayed you could hear all her duas as she would say them out aloud. I was always amazed at how she included everyone in her prayers.
4. Keeping Family Together
For my dadi family was everything and she strived to keep everyone together. Nothing made her happier than a family get together. If there were any misunderstandings amongst family members she would mediate and spent all her time and effort in gluing the family together. One of her morning rituals was calling all her children, nieces, cousins, grandchildren and other relatives for a quick call to find out if everything was OK.
5. The Importance of Friends
While family was everything, my dadi always made time for friends. She modeled the importance of deep friendships for me. She had friends everywhere and loved to socialize. My dadi and nani (maternal grandmother) were friends before they got their children (my parents) married off. They always stayed firm friends and would joke that they will prove the cliches about inlaws wrong.
6. A Simple Rule of BUying
My dadi had a treasure trove of urdu phrases that she would use at the appropriate occasion and one of my favorite ones was "mehenga roay eik bar, sasta roay bar bar". I'm reminded of this golden lesson many times when I make important purchasing decision for the house such as a new appliance and always invest in quality.
7. Being Present and Connecting with Those Around You
My dadi quite detested screens. She would tell us back in the 80s and the 90s that don't watch TV before sleeping and now research supports the link between screens and lack of sleep. She loved a one-to-one gupshup without the distraction of TV and smart phones. I still have to work more on this one.
As I write these lessons I learnt from my grandmother, I realize how much of an impact my dadi has had on my life and continues to this day. Please say a prayer for her. Are you close to your grandparents? What lessons have you learnt from them?