The qualities of kindness I learned from my granny
By the time I was born, both my grandfathers were already dead. But fortunately both my grandmothers were alive. But alas! when I was three my paternal grandmother also died and I don’t have any memory of her. So what it boils down to is that, among grandparents the only person who had a substantial influence on my personality was my maternal grandmother.
She died when I was eighteen years old, but since she was alive during my formative years, she left a very deep impression on my character. Despite the fact that she was a member of a generation which was deeply orthodox and was steeped in casteism, this bigotry of hers would disappear the minute it came to dealing with young children. Be it children of any caste or religion she would be kind and generous to them. In fact, I believe that it is this aspect of her character that made me such a staunch supporter of equality towards all people.
Another aspect of her character was her habit of feeding the poor, especially children. This has instilled in me the habit of doing something similar though not exactly the same. She used to cook food by herself and visited the Somanatha swami temple in Manamadurai where she lived, and feed the children crowding there in huge numbers. I on the other hand donate money to the child health foundation and other similar charities.
My granny used to tell me a lot of mythical tales everytime we cousins used to visit her. Stories of Lord Krishna and Kuchela, the great epics of India like Ramayana and Mahabharatha and several other stories she told us come to the mind. I have narrated several of these stories to my daughter and other children.
Another thing my granny used to tell us cousins was that one should never refuse food or water to anyone. I remember several instances when a poor beggar or a couple would come around to her house asking for something to eat. Regardless of her strong casteism she would never turn away such people from her doors on an empty stomach. All these qualities of my grandmother have instilled a strong sense of kindness and generosity in all of us cousins. I remember the time when my daughter asked for a donation of books to her school which were meant for children of very poor people. We donated as many as forty or fifty of my daughter’s books. We have also donated several books to the Cooperative Library near our house.
A couple of times my daughter came back from school and said she needed one rupee to donate to the poor on behalf of the school. It sounded ridiculous donating one rupee to anyone. So my wife and I handed her fifty rupees each.
All this makes it sound like I am some kind of dhan veer constantly out to serve the poor and needy. I assure you that is not the case and I have my share of not very likeable qualities 😀. These are just some of the habits that were instilled in me by my granny. When my granny died I didn’t cry immediately but slowly a pall of gloom settled on me which took quite a bit of effort on my part to shake off.
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