My mom knows a lot, but my grandmother knows everything!
There are countless lessons one can learn from this golden generation whose population is getting lesser and lesser as days pass by. Here’s a list of 5 important principles or lessons one can learn from my grandma’s way of living. Her name is Umayaparvathi and we fondly call her Uma Aachi. I’ll refer her so in this article as well.
5. Never say no to guests
In India, there’s this beautiful saying on how to treat the guests who visit our land – “Atithi Devo Bhava” which means “Guests are like God!”. We even had exclusive chapters about this topic in Civic Science and Tamil text books during our high school days. It’s one of the cultural values that runs in the blood of every elderly person in our society. Uma Aachi is not an exception. Well, she doesn’t literally treat the guests like God by offering them fresh floral garlands or incense sticks, I honestly confess. But she whole-heartedly treats them no less than the way she’d treat a God in case He decides to knock the door. She offers her guests the best food she prepares for the day – a leaf full of countryside cuisine along with a clay bowl of buttermilk is usually the lunch menu. Her kitchen is a concrete version of akshaya pathiram, that magically supplies more food until the guests happily let out a big burp that is loud enough for Annapoorani in the upper skies to hear. Most of Uma Aachi’s guests happen to be my thaatha’s friends or close-knit relatives. They don’t live too far and when thaatha walks back home for lunch (Thaatha owned a textile shop back then), he habitually brings along another starving person home and treats him with Aachi’s homemade gastronomic delights. There have been times when Uma Aachi’s akshaya pathiram lost its magical charm of churning chunks of food when the guests over-indulged beyond her anticipation. In such cases, she never hesitated to happily offer her own share of food inorder to please and honor the guests.
No matter how strenuous it gets, she never says no to guests. Once I asked her the reason and this is what she said,
“The more you serve your guests, the greater the blessings your children will receive in return”.
4. Be brave and confident
“You don’t have to look like a lion to have a brave heart.”
Uma Aachi says this often, when I seek her opinion on courage and confidence. “You have the moxie, you have everything”, she says in her own unapologetic tone.
“Blend it with a humble attitude, that’s all it takes to fight against any real-world problems. Works for family scuffles too “, she adds with a kind smile.
This lady I’m talking about is a real badass when it comes to dealing with the rugged phase of life. Uma Aachi is now 80 years old and hasn’t retired from any of her parental duties yet. In some way or the other, she still supports her children. She doesn’t brood over it, though. When it comes to preserving the nature, she never gives her two cents in social media, but simply goes out of the house, plants a hundred saplings and waters the trees. Should she be ashamed of herself for not making the most out of these efforts in social media? I doubt that.
I’m a 20 something woman rearing just a toddler and I already feel like my world is falling apart every now and then. I’ve a google memory, I responsibly plant trees in virtual games and proudly post about it on my facebook page too. Trust me, I would like to become a real environmentalist some day. But not today because I have too much on my plate already. So are my nature-loving friends.
No matter how much we have technologically advanced in life, I personally feel that we lack the basic, humane characteristics that the previous generation generously had in them.
Our confidence now heavily relies on social media acknowledgements. The word ‘Bravery‘ has lost its actual meaning in the contemporary dictionary. We are declared brave if we post or forward a status on the political and societal flaws. You color your cover picture green and BAM! you are an environmentalist in a minute’s time.
3. Work hard for your daily bread
“Divya, wake up, clean the thinnai, put kolam and drink your tea”
“Aswini, sweep the house, dust the window panes and then drink your coffee.”
When we visit her during the summer vacation, Uma Aachi assigns each one of us, an early morning household chore before she lets us have our morning breakfast (even tea). One can neither escape nor protest because she herself does an hour long chores at home before sitting down for breakfast. When we drowsily work on what has been assigned to us, she briskly begins to cook, with ammi kolavi as her noble assistant.
Uma Aachi knows how to get things done even from brass-bound brats like us. Now that we have outgrown our childish nature, we couldn’t be more thankful for her stringent supervision during our childhood days. It’s not that our lives are perfect just like she would have imagined, but I can say for sure that her way of living has definitely taught us more values than we have ever read in our big, bundled moral books.
2. Love without limitations
Uma Aachi is an epitome of empathy, when it comes to putting others needs before her own. I’ve never seen her setting milestones or expectations on any of her seven children. She works her everything off to let her family enjoy a sophisticated livelihood. Aachi never hesitates to work hard and go on an extra mile if it makes her loved ones extra comfy.
While her comtemporary family members and neighbors weigh caste and creed over everything else, Uma Aachi stands apart from them with her immeasurable moral qualities. She doesn’t give away disagreeable looks or shut the door when an unwelcomed person comes for food. She is never partial in showering love and kindness to the needy. She doesn’t act conservative when she is asked for help, but would offer anything and everything she has in store, expecting absolutely nothing in return.
If I can live a life half as good as my grandma’s, my motto of this era will be marked done.
1. You are never too old to learn
Well, Uma Aachi never says this explicitly because she never advises anyone when it comes to education. She is just a fifth standard graduate with not a single accolade to brag about to her grandchildren. But she is way too talented, most of which are only under-explored.
She is an active listener who quickly learns and understands English words just with their contextual application during a casual conversation. Now that her children and grand children are all educated, she effortlessly enjoys speaking broken Technical English with absolute confidence. None of us made an attempt to teach her with a Wren&Martin book or sign her up for a spoken English class, it is just her passion for learning the language that has made things happen. Her most-loved words are symposium, conference call, dosa batter, skype call, net banking, project, onsite and whatsapp. After few interactions with Dr.H, she has now got a great hold on the words consultation, prescription and palpitation too.
Does this post remind you of your grandma? Share with us, the life lessons she had taught you :):):)