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LauraGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 18-Aug-17 15:28:00

Stories that stand by me

Nothing quite beats the bond between grandparent and grandchild, something that author and blogger Anneeka Ludhra knows all too well. Through shared experiences, language and, above all, storytelling, she talks about why her grandmother is her all-time favourite companion.

Anneeka Ludhra

Stories that stand by me

Posted on: Fri 18-Aug-17 15:28:00


Lead photo

How have you bonded with your grandchildren?

This is dedicated to my dear dadima (grandmother) and details the top five reasons why I love her company. I’ve been going through a challenging time recently, and I don’t think my dadima realises just how much she has helped me as a grandmother, by just being there for me.

1. She tells stories - they put my problems into perspective

My dadima has experienced hardships in life and, luckily for her grandchildren, she has been gifted with the art of storytelling. It’s often over a mug of masala chai that the magic unfolds. “My child, do you know how many times I felt helpless and down? I came to the UK from India as a young mother and raised my six children with nobody to help me. All my family were in India. Your dadaji (grandfather) was working all day, every day, to provide for us and I was alone with the children in a small rented space. I had to be resourceful and make ends meet. When my child had an accident, I was so torn up with grief that I was hospitalised shortly after. But do you think I gave up? I stayed strong and kept going for the sake of my children”.

2. We converse in Punjabi – the mother tongue connects us

Being British born and bred with Indian ancestry, I’m keen to remember my Indian roots. Having spent my early childhood years living in the extended family, I was raised as a bilingual child, and my grandparents have always taught me the importance of learning my mother tongue. Speaking in Punjabi means that I can bond with my dadima fully – understanding each cultural nuance, Indian joke and anecdote, not to mention Bollywood movies and dramas.

My dadima has experienced hardships in life and, luckily for her grandchildren, she has been gifted with the art of storytelling. It's often over a mug of masala chai that the magic unfolds.

3. I see Mother Nature and mindfulness in my dadima

When she was younger, dadima would run around like
Superwoman getting things done. Her health has now slowed her down substantially, but that doesn’t stop her from pottering about and giving each and every task her all. Whether it’s washing her vegetables, or scrubbing a saucepan until its as shiny as a mirror, it’s a ritual. Cooking for her children and grandchildren, she’ll often say: “This is going to give my children strength and good health. If one doesn’t eat good food, how can one function in today’s busy life?”

4. Her simple life values make sense to me

“There are certain things in life which we cannot control, so don’t waste energy on them. We are on this Earth to live life to the fullest. Do your best, think good thoughts, and most of all, be kind to others. Leave the rest to God" (she is a God-fearing person). “Worrying will only ruin your body and mind. Prepare your food with love, eat well, and happiness will shine”.

5. She teaches me her DIY, Ayurvedic beauty and wellness remedies

Dadima has raised me on simple, inexpensive health tips which are rooted in Ayurveda. In and among all of the expensive beauty products thrown at us, often inspired by the East, it’s refreshing when my dadima recommends the ‘real’, earthy stuff. Dadima makes me a simple gram flour face mask for glowing skin, a mug of haldi doodh (turmeric milk) if I have a cold, tells me to oil my hair before washing, to always to drink warm water, and to eat five almonds, soaked and peeled, for brain food. Whilst I still use my products, nothing beats the old school remedies when I want something natural, tried and tested.

At so many points in my life, it’s the stories of my dadima which stand by me. And I’m sure I’m not the only grandchild. So if you’re a storytelling grandmother, here’s to you!

Anneeka is a Berkshire-based author, blogger and founder of dadima’s – a brand which aims to connect generations and share wisdom. Anneeka recently launched a campaign called Grandactions, which encourages young people to spend quality time with their grandparents over home cooking. She announced the campaign on BBC Radio Berkshire encouraging parents to download an activity pack for children to interview their grandparents. Anneeka is planning various events in Berkshire, including a Grandactions walk in Windsor, and an exclusive dinner experience with Elements Kitchens.

By Anneeka Ludhra

Twitter: @_dadimas

CarolineA Wed 23-Aug-17 09:48:47

What a lovely article. Grandparents have so much to offer - after all, our age group has the advantage of having been young and therefore understand much of what the young think and feel. We also have more time than many parents, so we can use that time to play, listen to and support the next generation. My Nana was good fun to be with and I remember her fondly. I hope my grandsons see me in the same light as they grow up. Currently I play with them, write letters, silly poems and short stories for them and see them as much as possible. Hopefully they see me in the same affectionate light as I saw my grandmother.

dahlia08 Wed 23-Aug-17 11:56:38

I am a dadima too. I love the story. I have two grandsons. Iwould love them to be closed snd affectionate like the story I have just read. See them once a week. Love to a have a bond. Time will tell . X

nannienet Wed 23-Aug-17 13:20:42

I was at the birth of my first DGC,a very special moment. To see the very hard work my DD went through to give birth was very humbling. I'm like a third parent to her even though she is now 6yrs old. Caring for her in school holidays,picking her up from school 3days a week,while caring for her younger sister 3days a week too.

Absgran Wed 23-Aug-17 19:51:38

I'm jealous of the other 'granny'. My extended family make sure she's ok all the time. They don't seem to do this with me. Are they just proud of me for being independent or can't they be really bothered? I'm really feeling neglected and uncared for.

Absgran Wed 23-Aug-17 20:18:30

So this was to be a post! Not necessarily on here. Not sure how to do this as new on this site!

Portsmouth Tue 13-Feb-18 12:32:44

What a lovely post! You should write a book.