A tribute to my dear grandmother…

My grandmother Vimlaben whom we also call Kaki Dadi out of sheer love and respect is not keeping up with her health and is in the hospital since today 2009/03/13 in Baroda, Gujarat, India. She has been the role model for every wife, mother and daughter to follow. Her age is almost 83 years, most of which were spent in providing support to the family, community and country as well as educating her children and grand children about values ranging from freedom to dignity to self respect, moral and ethical behavior and love and compassion towards everybody be it a human or an animal. The literal translation of Kaki Dadi means Aunty Grandmother. My grandfather Chandrakant Dada (Kaka Dada) had an elder brother Jayantilal Dada (Mota Dada) who married to Kumud Dadi (Moti Dadi). Mota Dada had children before Kaki Dadi and they used to call her Kaki (Aunty) and my grandfather Kaka (Uncle).

They used to be called that even from their own kids and their grandkids (us). My life’s most important moments have been with my grandfather and grandmother around as a companion and guide. Kaki Dadi is unlike any other wife. She is totally devoted to Kaka Dada. I still remember the days when Dada used to take us to our ancestorial native place in Vadnagar, Gujarat. We used to own a house (infact 4 houses) there. The last one of the house which was a favourite of my Dada was falling apart and was sold after his heavenely accession in 2002. But as far as I can remember, Dada used to take us to Vadnagar for around 2-3 months during our summer vacation in our childhood school going days. Dadi used to accompany my Dada wherever he went. Summer is the time for mangoes in Gujarat we all eat a lot of mangoes in various forms especially Mango Pulp also known as “Ras”.

It was as sweet as honey and full of love when Dadi used to make it for us. She would have been above 60 during that time, but still she was young and vibrant then her daughter in laws who also joined her for some weeks. I remember her making Ras out of 3-4 Kgs of mangoes. And we used to eat her Bepadi rotlis with Ras. It was nectar. Neh.. it was Amrit. Always by my Dada’s side, Dadi used to get up at around 6 in the morning and provide for tea and other morning necessities for Dadaji. Then after doing the daily poojas, she used to prepare the offerings for God. Her god was not only the one in the temple, but also her husband. Dadaji used to have his lunch at 10. Dadi prepared fresh hot food for him with all his favourites every day of the year. Infact Dadaji rarely used to eat food prepared by other people. He was very much devoted and in love with Dadiji.

The day used to go on. Every word my Dadaji said, was taken up as a command by her and fulfilled with pure heavenly love and devotion. Ofcourse when Dadaji was no more, it had left a big hole in Dadiji’s life which nobody was able to fill up. My Dadaji was a great achiever but it wouldn’t have been possible without Dadi and her support. They were the ideal couple who never ever had a difference of opinion. They were two bodies with one soul. And Dadaji’s passing away crippled dadi’s to an irrecoverable extent. She had a fall and broke her hip after which she was not able to walk by herself. This made my Dadaji sad and he left for the heavenly abode. After that, the only wish of Dadiji was to join Dadaji and be with him again.

As a mother, my Dadi brought up 7 kids and gave them values which are pretty hard to find. Today all her children are in good positions materially as well as spiritually. Their ethical and moral values far surpasses any other. I truly appreciate her patience and energy. I have a kid myself and me and my wife find it pretty hard to bring her up. With bringing up 7 kids, educating them, being a good wife and a respected community member, it still makes me wonder about her time management skills and hard work. As a community member, she was well respected in her circles. My Dadaji was a Judge and at times, people used to come to my Dadiji to get her knowledge and advice on pesonal/community issues.

My dadiji never had ever desired materialistic life. For her, spirituality and ethical and moral values were everything. She had a custom of making sure that nobody was hungry before she ate her food. She was the annapurna herself. Cows, Sadhus, beggars, etc. were all invited to our house and were given food during lunch times. It was another of her custom to never make a guest or visitor go hungry. She was the bliss and everything around her was exotic and beautiful with compassin and justice for all. It was like a Ram Rajya when she was running the household. She always has trust in God and humans alike.

After I started living abroad, I had the chance to meet her in Nov 2008. The only thing she told me was to return to my roots, to serve humanity and my country. She expalined her ratioale behind giving me that advice. Today her words are going over in my mind. I have little clue and no idea as to if I would follow her advice but I pray to God to guide me in the matter.

It is sad that I am not with her at this time. Only thing I can do is give her a tribute through this post. I know she is not going to read this, but one thing is for sure, even if she is no more physically present in this world, she and Dadaji are living in my heart, guiding and nurturing me to strive to live the same kind of humane and spiritual life that they have lived. My love and respect for them exceeds that of God. Indeed I pray to them as my God.