MORE CONFESSIONS OF A GRANDMOTHER! (Dedicated to my darling granddaughter Javeria Elahi)

 I traced my index finger tenderly down the delicate features of my granddaughter; she seemed so vulnerable as looked at me with a timid look on her little face. I exclaimed to my daughter who was sitting propped up in pillows in her hospital bed, “She is so pretty, but I will have to admit that I would never be able to love her as much as your first born”. As if instinctively, my daughter nearly grabbed her three days old daughter away from me. Holding her closer to her bosom she enquired in an indignant tone, “Why do you say that Ammi, isnt she my daughter just like Sadia is?” I laughed at her reaction (although I felt a bit surprised), “Relax darling, of course I love her too, but the bond with a first grand child is different, but maybe you will understand my feelings when you yourself will become a grandma!” I was adamant in my confession as I took the little one back from her arms and busied myself in changing her nappy.

Javeria (as she was named later) was a loveable child and although I carried on with delight the duty Grandmas usually perform when their daughters are convalescing after childbirth, some how I could not feel the same rush of ecstatic happiness I had felt more than three years back when her elder sister was born!

Days passed into weeks and weeks into months. My grand daughter was growing up, she seemed to bubble with life, was more demanding than her sister and definitely possessed the qualities which endear a child to everyone around him/her.

Snuggling closer to me whenever I took her in my arms, she seemed to look at me with questioning eyes. “Why should I be loved less if I was born a second child” she seemed to challenge me! I often felt that she remembered the discourse between me and her mother on that day in the hospital! Or maybe my inner guilt was playing games with me!

Even before I realized it, I found myself deeply in love with my second grand daughter. I would call my daughter just to hear her cooings on the phone and whenever she came to visit with her mother, I just couldn’t put the darling child down, carrying her in my arms the maximum possible time.

Yes, I had to admit to myself that she was making inroads into my heart. I was confused. My first grand daughter was as dear to me as ever, but somehow her little sister was sharing the same amount of love. After her first birthday passed and Javeria started to speak a few words, the loving way she called me Naneemee (Her way of saying Nani Ammi), her sticky kisses when I took her in my arms and the way her pretty face lit up with a happy smile when she saw me, I slowly realized that I was fighting a losing battle.

On her second birthday I had to make the confession! On her card I wrote, “My darling Javeria, this is the best day to admit that YOU are second to NONE! And I accept my defeat with pride. Because having a granddaughter as loving and caring as you, is no little honor for me!

Forever yours,

Naneemee.

          After Javeria, although I have been blessed with more grandchildren, I never made the mistake of making any above mentioned claim again. I realized that each grandchild holds a special place and brings with him/her a new fountain of love which erupts from the depths of a Grandma’s heart.

          My grandchildren have taught me that love defies all rules of Mathematics! It multiplies when it is divided, has no option of subtraction and keeps on adding up with time, until it reaches infinity!

          (Yesterday was Javeria’s twelfth birthday and in moments of nostalgia, I went down memories lane! And I found myself smiling at my folly as I remembered my hurried claim when she was just three days old!)

 

Reminiscence: Rain, rain come again (http://archives.dawn.com/archives/69397)

26-8-12…The long awaited rains have finally arrived in Karachi. Its been raining on and off since yesterday.My grand children’s excitement again reminds me of my childhood days, when I myself was a careless (and naughty) little girl, and the way I and my siblings would enjoy the rain in the same manner, having a good time at the swings with my sisters or playing on the terrace with my brothers.
Rain always brings a strange potpourri of emotions for me. I am happy and sad at the same time as I enjoy seeing my grand children having a great time, but a sense of nostalgia also grips my heart as memories of the long past rainy days when my children were growing up and had to be pulled inside after they had been thoroughly drenched in the downpour, (because I worried like my mother that they would catch a cold or fever).

This article was published in The Review(Dawn) a few years back.

RAIN, RAIN, COME AGAIN!

It is a beautiful rainy day. Peals of happy laughter come floating through my window as I watch my grandchildren playing in the rain. My five-year-old grandson calls out to me “Please Amma, come outside, we are having so much fun,” he pleads in his little voice. Rain always holds a strange charm over me. Born and brought up in former East Pakistan, where it rains daily for more than half of the year, it always reminds me of my childhood days and of an era which now seems to belong to another world! I remember many nights waking up to the sound of the soft pattering of rain drops on the roof, or rushing to Ammi`s room for security when a thunder storm struck!

 

I walk out gingerly into the lawn and my grandson throws a ball at me, “Catch it, Amma,” he calls out too late. Always poor at sports, I miss the ball completely even though I make a brave dive. Thankful inwards that the wet ball did not hit my nose I scold my grandson laughingly, “You know that Amma is bad at catching balls”. We chase each other in the rain and are drenched thoroughly as my daughter-in-law comes out of the kitchen. “You will catch a cold Ammi. And children you have played enough in the rain, now come inside”. My grandson pleads for a few more minutes as I go back to my room to change into dry clothes.

 

As I sit in the warmth of my room sipping hot tea, my knees wrapped in a shawl, I am carried away to another rainy day a long time back.

 

It is raining hard and my children are having a great time in the backyard as they laugh and play in the heavy downpour. I glance out of the kitchen window worriedly as my eldest has a weak chest and catches cold easily.

 

Laying out hot pakoras on the table with a kettle of freshly brewed tea, covered snugly with an embroidered tea-cozy, I call out to my children “Now come inside all of you or you will be down with cold and fever”. “Please Ammi thori der aur,” they implore me and I give in reluctantly. After all, rain is not a frequent feature of life in Karachi and I want my children to enjoy every moment of it!

 

The torrent of memories sweeps me further downstream. It is a beautiful rainy day in Chittagong, a lush green hilly town, where my early childhood was spent. Like nearly every Sunday, Daddy takes us to Patenga, the lovely Chittagong beach, with its white sand (free from any pollution) and greenery along the beach. It starts raining as we reach the waves. Daddy perches me on his shoulders and walks into the water. Knowing instinctively that I am in safe hands I just fold my arms round his neck firmly and let out peals of delight as the blue water dances around us. The waves also seem to enjoy the rain as they race each other before crashing onto the shore. Ammi is calling out something but her voice is drowned by the sound of the rain and waves. The worried look on her face and her flailing arms tell us that she wants us back. “Thand lag jayeigi aap donon ko (you both will catch cold), let`s go back and change into dry clothes”.

 

My grandson`s voice pulls me back to the present. He is out again in the rain with his little sister. They plead with me to accompany them. “Ammi please do not forget your arthritis, you act like a child with the children”, my daughter-in-law protests but turning a deaf ear to her warnings I walk out into the rain again. I want this rainy day to be etched firmly in the memories of my grand children; a fond memory to cherish lovingly when they reach my age!