Grand & gorgeous

Anjali Jhangiani
Sunday, 23 July 2017

On Gorgeous Grandma Day today, Anjali Jhangiani finds out which values grandmothers want to pass on to their grandkids

Who is the wisest person you know? Your grandmother. The person you run to when you can’t go to your parents for advice, the one who will encourage you in all your escapades, but also give you sound advice on how to do it cautiously, because they have ‘been there and done that.’ With it being Gorgeous Grandma Day today, we catch up with a few grandmothers who have led their lives so gorgeously and continue to do so, to inspire their grandchildren to become better human beings. Read all about their motto in life and how they teach it to everyone around them. 

‘Work is worship’
When Mandakini Ekkeli enters a room, she fills it with her energetic vibes. Ever so enthusiastic, she runs an online business of health foods called Aaji cha Batwa. But always has time to spend with her grandchildren. “I have always been a busy bee. I have worked all my life.

After retiring from 32 years of service at Kirloskar Oil Engines, I used to participate in flea markets and put up my stall of healthy snacks and foods so that I can be self dependent and earn my own money,” says Ekkeli, who suffered a terrible road accident about four years ago.

She had to take things slow as she was recovering from the accident, but after two years, she decided she’d had enough of rest and wanted to get back on her feet and work. With a little help from her granddaughter, to set up a Facebook page for her business, she started this online venture and it has been flourishing over the last one year. 

“Once time goes by, you cannot bring it back. This is what I tell my grandchildren. They must make the most of the time they have at hand, make the most of their youth, make the most of every opportunity they get in life. By observing the way I have lived my life, they will learn that work is worship. It is important to do some work or the other, and not sit idle and waste time. If one door is closed, another one opens, you just have to keep knocking and not sit and sulk about disappointments,” says Ekkeli, who has a rather infectious never-say-die attitude. 


‘Pick a sport’
Manju Gadiya owns a saree studio in Salisbury Park. But when she’s not handling her business, she’s playing a sport with her grandkids. Her interest in sports goes back to her school days, when she used to represent the state in Kho kho. She’s a tough-to-beat chess player and is equally good at tennis too. Sports, she says, is essential for youngsters to participate in. “You will not realise it now, but once you’re in your 40s or 50s, you will see the benefits of having played a sport in your younger days,” says the gorgeous grandmother. “Pick anything you want, but it must be an outdoor sport. Kids these days play everything on video game indoors, and it’s depriving them of the real life experience. Parents must understand that playing a sport on your screen is not the same as playing it in real life. Kids must go out and play, run about, swim, exercise their bodies,”? she insists. She takes her grandchildren swimming and to play other outdoor games.

But it isn’t just the skill for the sport that she wants to inculcate in her grandkids, but also the spirit of sportsmanship. She claims that sportsmanship is an important lesson one should learn and imply it in the way they live their life. Winning and losing is a part and parcel of the game, just like success and failure in one’s endeavours. But it is vital to put in their hundred per cent in whatever they do and enjoy it,” she says.


‘Come what may, be brave’
With her husband and son, army officers posted in Uri, Manju Rathore was left all by herself to take care of her pregnant daughter-in-law last year. “I have had my share of scary first-time experiences being the wife of an army officer. I was ready for a situation like this. I never thought of it as something I was being brave for. I’ve been wired that way, I believe.

My husband has been on posting for many years, so I have learnt how to handle situations by myself,” says Rathore, who is a gorgeous grandmother to a nine-month-old baby girl named Ruhi. 

Manju is a feminist, and she has influenced her daughter-in-law to be one too. She is of the opinion that before fighting society for her rights and her place, a woman must fight her own fears. She must stop doubting herself and take charge of situations head-on. “Once that is done, she is unstoppable. When Ruhi was born, I felt like I was blessed to have a granddaughter. We will make sure she is fearless and ready to face anything that comes her way. She will face situations without hesitation. Come what may, she will be brave,” says Rathore, who believes that women should support women. “I had a tough time when I got married because I was left here alone, though we know what we are signing up for when we marry an army person. I did not want my daughter-in-law to feel alone during her pregnancy when my son had a posting. We helped each other out, I would say. Women should help women, that’s how it works,” she says. 

‘Always keep your spark of creativity alive’
When you speak to Mridula Ghodke, you can’t help thinking about where you’ve heard her voice before. Your curiosity is fed when you know she is a recording artist. She also informs that she is a trained Indian classical dancer. Her grandson Aarav seems to have inherited her creative genes too. “Specially when he’s making excuses not to share his ice-cream. He’s at an age when children can get fussy, cranky, and, naughty and rather unreasonably nasty at times. But if you scold them, it’s not going to do any good. You have to find a way to make them understand what the right kind of behaviour is, get creative. We participate in a role-playing game, I tell him stories, act them out for him to understand morals. Even when he is studying, and finds it difficult to remember, I make it a game for him to remember easily,” says Ghodke. 

She believes that creativity is fundamental to living a fulfilling life, and wants her grandson to inculcate the spirit of creativity in her grandson. “You are creative, you have a better comprehension of the world. You can handle things in a better way. If you are creative, you will never feel stagnated. It makes you versatile,” says this gorgeous grandmother, adding that it is not necessary to pick a career that demands creativity to be a creative person, but one can and should practise creativity in their daily life too.

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