Staying true to one and all - my grandfather, my mentor
By Pashmina Binwani

“As you all see, the world is a dangerous place, my children, you all should be very careful wherever you go!” as exclaimed by my prudent grandfather. His presence awed every child as he stood there in the living room revealing enchanting stories that fused into words of wisdom. The art of weaving words to sync his spectacular line of expressions could lead a cavalcade of children to even forget their cartoon caricatures at one go. His eyes constantly sparkled in amazement as he admired the inquisitive nature of children to probe on questions that he never took notice of during his generation. Without a hint of exasperation on his face, my grandfather would seamlessly explain to them in creative terms that I for one could not accomplish as yet.

In-built superman
Born in 1929, my 80-year-old grandfather is a man that lives a dazzling life surrounded by children and even grown-ups who adores him with every passing second. Strong and courageous, my grandfather does not resemble a man who is in his 80’s. His brooding muscular shoulders may have shrunken in size but his vast knowledge of current affairs can challenge any news correspondent. Waking up as early as four in the morning, my grandfather will switch on the television and continue doing his rigorous work-out sessions in the muted surroundings. He would huff and puff away and perspire profusely as he watches his movements carefully through the flashes of television lights. “What do you think you are doing? It is so dark!” yelled my grandmother. Angry and frustrated, my grandmother would wake up early in the morning to barge in and find every excuse to roar at him due to my grandfather’s daily cost-reduction habits. After much heated debated sessions with my grandmother, his innate values were never stamped out. Last year, my grandfather was having his usual working-out sessions in the darkness and he tripped and fell over a glass table that injured his entire leg. Tough and warrior-like, my grandfather concealed his injuries with his faded brown trousers and kept quiet until we spotted blood trickling down his pants after an hour. We were appalled by his calmness or worse still, the pretentious manner he carried off at the height of such unusual torment. After much exhaustive persuasions, he reluctantly agreed to go to the clinic. Many thought he will learn his lesson and never exercise in the dark, but my grandfather, the combatant just got rid of all glass furnishings from the living room and feigned ignorance.

Lady-charmer
It never did strike to me that my grandfather, the one and only could actually be a sweet-talker until recently. He is one such grandfather who has the knack to talk his way through to achieve things that is usually initiated through humble conversations. Grandpa does not find any trouble in wooing women to help him out on day-to-day tasks as he exudes such ember and confidence in his desires. Every few months he will have dentist appointments at the University Hospital and he being the independent man will travel on his own by informing everyone that he is using the public transport. But my grandfather, being the smart and puckish man will find his way to reach his destination with minimal hassle and his aim – to get a free ride. Undoubtedly his target would be to lure woman into his vulnerabilities. Grandpa would bend down to lay his palms on his knees under the scorching hot sun and would then stop a car with a female driver and mutter in the sweetest way, “Darling, if you don’t mind, can I get a lift to the University Hospital? It is not too far away.” Women would succumb into his gentle nature and offer him a lift right away without having any second thoughts. His big brown eyes displayed no traces of irreverence that allowed women to take great pleasure and pride in knowing a wonderful man like my grandfather. Nevertheless, his cajoling and flirtatious remarks would never end there. Breezing through the hospital’s front entrance, my grandfather would mesmerize all the female staff on duty through his sagacious knowledge.

Carrefour-holic
One of my grandfather’s incredible past times is to indulge in marketing and research activities. Not just any ordinary activity but instead an interest that mystifies most people as my grandfather spends hours and hours lurking around superstores like Carrefour and Jusco to get hold of the cheapest selling brand to set it as his best bargain or bet of the day. His shopping list ranges from household to food items that are written in the tiniest possible manner in order to squeeze in listings for the rest of the week in one piece of paper. It would require a person to look through a magnifying glass to decipher his meticulous written materials. Two, three and even four hours would go by as my grandfather educates himself on the economical products which enter the market. “Where do you think you’re going?” protested my grandmother. “I am going to study the environment, to see what is happening in the market!” explained my grandfather diligently.  “Not again!” responded my grandmother rather unconvincingly. In my grandmother’s point of view, unnecessary loitering is a waste of time and when her husband chooses to take part in such vigorous research; her concerns for him are mighty albeit the fact that he is in the pink of his health. Grandfather as it is will go around the supermarket searching for food staples that round off to the lowest cent and he will return back home like a superhero transporting groceries. Neighbours and casual observers will usually be astounded as to what kind of family values we possess allowing us to let our grandfather do the simple house-wife chores. But little do they realise that my lovable grandfather refuses to let one of us intrude on to his daily doings as he has the zeal to save every penny of his earnings for our future.

This year my grandfather shocked us, he was lying down on the hospital bed looking as frail as ever, unable to utter a single word. His dark bony hands appeared dry and weak and his skin creased as he budged his way through to a comforting position just to catch a glimpse of his friends and relatives. It struck me that my strong, bold and healthy grandfather had suffered a heart attack. That courageous man, my grandfather would be willing to cross the rough seas and tides for us to give us a better life and here I am with him in the hospital praying for a miracle. But I knew at this moment that luck was definitely on his side as he was released with a clean bill of health. I realised that grandpa has the courage to live through thick and thin and he values everyone irrespective of their gender and continues to say “I love you all very much”.

 

"Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself". Lois McMaster Bujold