Yesterday Once More!

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Some years ago, at a community dance, I happened to watch a 19 year old boy dancing the waltz with his 80 year old maternal grandmother. As they moved gracefully across the dance floor, people stopped, watched and spontaneously cheered.  It was obvious to all, that here was a grandmother and grandson who despite the yawning gap in their ages had found something they both loved to do.

Not all grandparents and grandchildren have the luxury of unlimited bonding.  Some may be separated by miles, some oceans and some over distant time zones. Yet despite all the odds there exists a special bond between them that has always been unbreakable.  Some may meet each other every day, others once or twice a year and still others over a period of many years.  Yet they manage to construct a line of communication so strong that their hearts remain linked forever.  Perhaps this is why whenever life brings them face to face they are instantly in each others arms.  This particular love has always been unconditional and will always remain so. 

What is it that bonds these two far-flung generations?  Do grandparents see in their grandchildren a long-lost childhood? An extension of their own life that will remain when they are gone? And do grandchildren instinctively see in their grandparents an inevitable future that is going to be their inheritance one day?  Perhaps when they totally accept each other so unreservedly, they are actually accepting their future and coming to terms with their past?      

Whether grandparents are involved in the upbringing of their grandchildren or not, at times they may feel a sense of inadequacy too.  Being fathers and mothers of an older generation they may suddenly feel awe that their own children are now parents. Then comes the grandchildren?s turn to grow up and a sense of de’ja’vu sets in.  Every step taken, every word spoken is carefully absorbed and great pride is taken in their achievements. The newborn baby on the other hand is fascinated with grandpa?s glasses?maybe even at that age he/she recognizes the tolerant twinkle there.  Grandma?s arms seem like a safe haven too and both lifelong relationships are cemented then and there, never to be broken.

And then much too soon, the grandchild turns into a teenager.  That unique phase of life when it?s quite common to find the youngsters at odds with their own parents.  Which mother has not heard ? “Grandma is thousand times better than you” or “Loosen up dad. Grandpa is so much more cooler.”  Or when they meet how many times have you overheard your youngster slyly enquire of their unsuspecting grandparents ? “So what did Dad or Mom do when they were in college???” 

Many parents look with disbelief at their own fathers and mothers spoiling their grandchildren and letting them get away with anything.  Could this be the same man who refused to allow you to go for the late night show? How come he’s manning a play-station with your ten year old son way past midnight? Or could this be the same woman who said you couldn?t wear lipstick until you were twenty?  For God?s sake, she’s helping your sixteen year old select maroon shades to go with her outfit!  Don’t you get the distinct feeling you napped during the interval and when you woke up the movie was over?  It?s no wonder then that someone famous remarked ? “The reason grandchildren and grandparents get along so well is because they have a common enemy.” No two guesses to figure out who?s the enemy here.  Somewhat confirmed by a wise Jewish proverb that goes something like this – “One of life’s greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn’t good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world.”

At a more pragmatic level, one can easily determine that a grandparent-grandchild relationship is exclusive and uncomplicated.  It determines instant security and gratification as it continues through adulthood.  It?s like an attachment that comes minus any kind of virus.  An attachment that is loaded with warm memories, favourite dishes cooked lovingly, medicine applied gently on scraped knees and stories told of a bygone generation. Of little prayers said for each others safety, long distance calls that end up in tears, feel-good hugs that last a long time and lots of laughter echoing over the rustle of old photographs.

All the exquisite nuances of this unbreakable bond are interlinked with the realization that youth one day passes into old age and tomorrow inevitably transforms into yesterday once more.  An honest ?inside? look at this treasured and established relationship has been attempted in this article and helping us to do this are our enthusiastic grandparent-grandchildren duos – 

Dr. J.S.V. Saldanha (77 yrs) and Darryl Tauro (13 yrs)

Mrs. Lillian Pinto (71 yrs) and Deborah Pinto (17 yrs)

Mrs. Zena Monteiro (82yrs) and Roitt Aguiar (12 yrs)

Happy reading folks!  Like me, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that grandparents today quite like hip hop music 🙂

According to you, what?s that ONE big difference between – your parent and grandparent? your child and grandchild? (Both)

Dr. Saldanha: The one big difference between the two was the time they started articulating. While my daughter Melanie started talking when she became a year old, we had to wait for a full two years to get any sensible word out of Darryl! But once he started articulation, words simply began to flow out of his mouth as though he was wanting to make up for the lost time!! Even now he is a fast speaker.
Darryl Tauro: The biggest difference is that my Abba is bald and my dad isn?t. At least not yet.  But on a more serious note, I would say that my grandparents are a lot more patient and unlike my parents do not lose their temper easily.

Mrs. Lillian Pinto:  My children have been brought up in a very different environment as compared to what the present generation lives in and then the children had responsibilities and knew how to handle them, but nowadays kids are weak and don?t want to take up their responsibility.
Deborah Pinto:  My father has certain principles which he strictly abides by.  Even though my Grandmum has her own morals, she is willing to sit and listen to new ideas even though they are different from those of her own.

Mrs. Zena Monteiro:  My child is now an adult and independent, while my grandchild comes to me with some questions and looks to me for my opinion .
Roitt Aguiar: My parents are strict, my grandmother is more easy-going and is more of a friend than a disciplinarian.

What are some of the qualities you admire in your grandparent/grandchild? (Both)

Dr. Saldanha: He is very loving and affectionate towards everyone. It looks to me he is conscious of his position in his class and is keen to improve it and is working really hard towards that end. I feel as the monitor of his class he has acquired qualities of leadership and initiative. I have observed him to be quite determined to do anything to achieve his aim.
Darryl Tauro: As I said earlier my Abba is very patient and kind, so I find it very easy to share things or talk to him.  I also know for sure he will not shout or get angry with me.

Mrs. Lillian Pinto:  My grandchild has had instilled in her a number of qualities, some of which are her lovable nature and socializing attitude. She is a caring and sharing person.
Deborah Pinto:  My grandmum is very sweet and a role model whom I look up to. She is a living example of the past, the present and my future. She has seen it all!

Mrs. Zena Monteiro: I admire my grandson for being loving, considerate and always ready to run errands for me
Roitt Aguiar: I admire my grandmother for her selflessness and her ability to stay calm and never get angry.

Your most favorite memory of your grandchild as a baby? (Grandparent)

Dr. Saldanha: Though there are several happy memories with my grandchild, the sweetest one is my very first glance on my just born first grandson.

Mrs. Lillian Pinto:  The fact that my granddaughter was born on the holy feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is one of the most memorable moments in my life.

Mrs. Zena Monteiro: I remember when my grandson hadn?t started speaking, he would tug at my skirt and point to what he wanted.

One warm memory that always comes to your mind when you think of your grandparent. (Grandchild) 

Darryl Tauro: I always enjoy the time spent with my Abba right from the rides down to the beach on his scooter, to helping him water his beautiful garden, to eating the fresh juicy mangoes that he specially plucks for me and of course, when it comes to relaxing, we both love to sit and watch Tom & Jerry in action.

Deborah Pinto:  My grand mum by nature is a very mischievous lady. Two years ago when I had gone to visit her, I used to persuade her to take long walks with me in the mornings and then tactfully she would suggest we have ice-cream. In the pretence of letting me order, she would then herself ask for the same flavor.

Roitt Aguiar: I remember whenever we go to Mumbai, my grandmother is always waiting for us in the verandah and then I remember the tight hug when she opens the door for us.

If you are witness to an argument between your child and grandchild, what stance do you normally take? (Grandparent)

Dr. Saldanha: Without taking sides with either, I’d advise restraint on the elder one and at the same time analyze the problem and pacify the younger one so as to work out a compromise.

Mrs. Lillian Pinto:  I take my grandchild?s side as I love them more and even take part of the blame.

Mrs.  Zena Monteiro:  I usually take my grandchild?s side and try and calm my child down and make her see his point of view.

What are your general views on your grandparents/grandchild?s generation? (Both)

Dr. Saldanha:  My grandchild’s generation is quite forward in relation to my times and well informed too, thanks to the influence of TV and the magazines. The technical knowledge that is available can inspire any talented young man to do great things if he is well supported by money and good guidance.
Darryl Tauro: I feel life was a lot simpler during my Abba?s childhood days.  Fewer distractions, less pressure form both parents and teachers and I?m sure a lot less to study too. I would call them lucky kids. Technology-wise they were not advanced at all, but in spite of that my Abba went on to get a doctorate at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, one of the most reputed institutions in India.  Our generation enjoys the best of everything from technology to easy comforts. Can?t imagine what life would be for me without the computer, TV, DVD and my favourite PS2.
Mrs. Lily Pinto:  The present generation moves so fast and is so active especially in the field of studies and sports.  I feel the present generation is an eye-opener to people of my generation as we have learnt so much more.
Deborah Pinto:  I believe life was comparatively simpler, less competitive and corrupt than the present generation. The only thing one feared then was God.

Mrs. Zena Monteiro:  I think in my grandchild?s generation, children are used to getting what they want, they have many more demands, they are aware of a lot more and have an opinion of their own.  I also feel this generation argues a lot.
Roitt Aguiar: I think my grandmother?s generation didn?t have much freedom. They worked harder than us for most things, like walking to school, no electricity.  They also had fewer material things, for eg. no TV.

Some things which have not changed at all over the generations? (Both)

Dr. Saldanha:  Though outwardly many things have changed, fundamental values like family ties, support to the needy, sympathy for the afflicted and encouragement of talent have not changed at all. The greetings seen in your SUBHASHAI and CONDOLENCE sections are ample proof.
Darryl Tauro:  Most of the things have changed, but one thing I feel that will never change is the love and affection grandparents have for their grandchildren and the joy that grandchildren bring into the lives of their grandparents.

Mrs. Lillian Pinto:  The love and affection which was shown to us by our parents is still present in nowadays generation.
Deborah Pinto: Simple family traditions and old moral values have been preserved in my family over the generations.

Mrs. Zena Monteiro:  Family values are the same.  Love between parents and children and parents responsibility to give their children a good education and settle them in life remains the same.
Roitt Aguiar: I agree with the above.

How do you manage to keep in touch with each other or spend time with each other? (Both)

Dr. Saldanha:  My grandson keeps in touch with me on the phone from Muscat at least once every month and does not forget to greet me on special occasions, like birthdays or feast days. When he is in town here, he spends time with me at Surathkal by playing in my garden or riding to the beach on my 2-wheeler to spend some time there.
Darryl Tauro: I go down to Mangalore once a year and when I am there I spend a lot of time with my Abba. But when I?m in Muscat it is only the phone that keeps us connected.

Mrs. Lillian Pinto:  By telephone calls.
Deborah Pinto:  We keep in touch either by yearly visits or by phone calls.

Mrs. Zena Monteiro:  We talk on the phone and when we are together on vacation we watch TV and  movies together.
Roitt Aguiar:  Same as above.

Do you willingly give advice to your grandchild? (Grandparent)

Dr. Saldanha:  He is free with me in asking questions about current things and I do advise him whenever he asks for any.

Mrs. Lily Pinto:  Yes, I do.

Mrs. Zena Monteiro:  If I think it is required, yes definitely.

How much value do you place on your grandparents advice? Would you take this advice seriously when it came to choosing a career or a life-partner? (Grandchild)

Darryl Tauro:  Abba?s sweet advice to me always has been ?study well Darryl and be a good boy? which I think is the right advice for a naughty and distracted teenager like me. It is a little too early for me to speak about my career or life-partner. But I know that when the time is right I will turn to him for advice.

Deborah Pinto:  My grandma has seen and knows much more than I and I trust her experiences because they have a lot of value. When it comes to choosing a career or a life partner I would surely consider her advice but in the end my happiness counts.

Roitt Aguiar:  I value my grandmother?s advice because she has experienced a lot in her life and I have great regard and respect for her.  I also know that my grandmother always has my best interests at heart.  Yes I would take her advice on choosing a life partner, but right now I hate girls and don?t want to get married !!!!!!!!!

Do you find it easy to pass on language, culture and traditions to the present generation? (Grandparent)

Dr. Saldanha:  It is not easy to pass on to the present generation things like culture, tradition and so on. Main difficulty is that my grandchild is away from Mangalore for most of the year. In addition is the language difficulty since Konkani, of which he knows little, is essential for passing on tradition and culture to the next generation. Still, thanks to the encouragement of his parents, he shows interest in these things.

Mrs. Lily Pinto:  Yes, I do and I even pick up some of their present chit chat.

Mrs. Zena Monteiro: No, it is not easy because the children are so busy, but when we are sitting together at mealtimes I share my views with my grandchild.  I believe the best way to pass on culture and tradition is when they learn it from our example.

Do you find it easy to imbibe language, culture and traditions passed on by your grandparents generation? What do you feel when you are normally exposed to their way of life? (Grandchild)

Darryl Tauro:  I cannot speak Konkani, so I find it a little difficult in understanding when people speak the language. But since all know to speak English, I have never felt that was a disadvantage.  I think my sister and I are in tune with our culture and traditions, because our parents have taught us exactly the same things that they learnt from their parents.

Deborah Pinto: Usually it is easy to imbibe language, culture and traditions. Mostly I feel at ease as it is similar to my own perspectives.

Roitt Aguiar:  No, I don?t find it is easy, but I try because it makes my parents and grandmother happy.  I feel during their time everyone was much more polite, no bad language.  I think they were all well mannered and considerate to the other person.

Weird haircuts, bizarre fashions, an overdose of technology ? the world is changing at an incredible pace.  From the changes in your child?s generation to that of your grandchild?s generation ? what are your feelings about these changes? (Grandparent)

Dr. Saldanha:  Weird haircuts, bizarre fashions etc are, I think, to be overlooked without giving them undue importance. My feeling is they are just an aberration indicating that young people are looking for new ways of distraction or diversion without meaning anything. I have seen these things coming in different forms for the last five decades. But a dose or overdose of technology is to be welcomed. This being the age of science and technology, our young people should not be left behind. As I had mentioned above, an intelligent young person with proper guidance and monetary support will definitely make a mark if he gets this dose at the proper time.

Mrs. Lillian Pinto:  I believe we cannot stick to all the old traditions but must keep in mind our roots. One must be broad minded about today?s fashion and only then will there be a smooth flow between my generation and that of my grandchild?s.

Mrs. Zena Monteiro:  I feel the children today are exposed to too much in the TV and they know much more than they should for their age.  Their parents are more affluent than we were and they have much more than our children had.  It also seems to me that this generation is never satisfied with whatever they have and make a lot of demands on their parents.

Music has been known to form bridges between continents and cultures, yet between generations it has seemed to widen the gap more than ever.  Do you know anything at all about the music of each others generation?  How would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10? (Both)

Dr. Saldanha:  I cannot be a judge on music. It is quite entertaining and absorbing, true. Generations may get widened only if the elder one is too old fashioned and the younger one too noisy. I am unable to rate.
Darryl Tauro:  The only music I have heard my grandparents listen to is the Konkani hymns. So I would say I am not familiar with their kind of music. But if it is anything like the mushy music mum likes I?d rate it ?just to make my mum happy? an okish 5.  I love to listen to Rap which my Abba has not yet heard. But the day he does I’m sure like mum, he too will rate it a sad 2, or like my dad he would say add a ‘C’ to it!

Mrs. Lillian Pinto:  Well I have heard quite a number of songs of the present generation n enjoy them. It is more upbeat and catchy. I would rate my knowledge as at least 7 on a scale of 1 to 10.
Deborah Pinto:  I don?t agree with this statement as music still brings people closer and bridges gaps. Yes, I do know some music from my grandmum?s generation and on a scale of 1 to 10, I would rank it as a 7.

Mrs. Zena Monteiro:  I do like the music of my grandchild?s generation. I know their music from Hindi movies and the music they play at home. I think it?s happy upbeat music.  I would rate it a 8.
Roitt Aguiar:  The music of my grandmother?s generation is nice.  It?s different but more soothing. The folk music they play at weddings is also nice ?..I would rate it a 7.

Describe each other in one short sentence. (Both)

Dr. Saldanha:  Darryl is a well meaning, intelligent and hardworking young man with a bright future.
Darryl Tauro: Abba is fun loving, kind, a very good orator and a Mathematical genius.

Mrs. Lillian Pinto: My granddaughter is like a blast from the past as she resembles the ‘younger me’ in many ways.
Deborah Pinto:  My grandma is a second mother to me-respectable, understanding and most of all my partner in crime!
Mrs. Zena Montriro:  I would describe my grandson as a kind, loving, considerate boy
Roitt Aguiar: I would describe my grandmother as a warm, caring, patient, loving, happy lady. thanks Dr. Saldanha,  Mrs. Lillian Pinto, Mrs. Zena Monteiro and Darryl Tauro, Deborah Pinto, Roitt Aguiar for their valuable input and co-operation.

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Author: Shaly Pereira- Oman

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