Monday, April 25, 2016

A Little Angel

I thought I'd feel older when I became a grandfather. I could not have been more off the mark. My granddaughter was pretty much a stranger to me during the initial months, as breastfeeding and nappy changing are not my forte'.  But now that she is almost two, I can only describe her and our relationship as - Bliss! She epitomizes what family bonds mean. Her innocence is something to admire, having lost mine in so many ways. Her speech is pure and sweet as the nightingale's. Watching her toddle around is to marvel at the innate balance we have. Let me now restrain myself before I break out into poetry. I do wish I could kick a ball around with her, but her interest in football has not emerged yet. I do dream of a time when she can play for the Nepali or the US national women's team, presuming she will have dual nationality by then. The other sport I can play, tennis, will have to wait maybe two more years before I can take her out to the courts. This time, I will dispose her in the hands of a professional coach; I tried teaching my daughter, her mother, with unexpected results! Perhaps some day she will play tennis with the grace of a Sharapova, minus the grunts, the power of a Serena and the internal strength of a Hingis.

Wishing her Good Morning makes my day. She comes with me to blow out the candle I have burning most of the time, a personal oddity. I help her blow out the flame and then she's good to go for the day, meeting uncles and aunts next-doors and frolicking in the garden. Her outdoorsyness more than balances my generally reclusive indoor life. After her oil massage and bath she comes in her dress, already chosen by herself, with a black mascara 'Tika' on her forehead. The Tika looks good, though its main purpose as per local urban legend is to ward off the 'evil eye'. I can hear her talking and shouting, very rarely crying, through the day as she keeps the house lively while I lead my quiet retired life.

I was with her, in the third floor of the house, on that fateful day last year when the earthquake visited. Huddled together with her nanny, she screaming all the while, we rode out the shaking and the humming until it was safe to run down the stairs. It was a blessing that she bore no trauma, maybe because she was only ten months old and too young.

My mention above of "family bond" is not light. A premature retirement from the UN meant returning home; I had never given a thought to retiring anywhere else though there were choices. The extended family and old friends drew me, without hesitation, to Nepal. Eight years later, despite disappointments when one idealizes too much, I have no regrets. My daughter and son-in-law joining us three years ago, to pursue their career interests here, was simply icing on the cake. The nuclear family, if one can call it that, is complete - the little angel at its head, not me. 

9 comments:

Subodh Rana said...

Great essay - what a poignant reminder of the frailness of human life and hope eternal that springs from the heart in the life and beauty of your grand-daughter! We could be world beaters if we combine your essay writing skills with my story-telling skills!

Birat Simha said...

Let's go beat the world, Subodh dai!

Mana Ranjan Josse said...

I relished your latest blog; in a way, it reflects my experience with time spent with my granddaughter now 25 months old and picking up new Nepali words and phrases every day like a magnet does iron filings. I and my wife will miss her ebullient company when we leave Maryland for NYC in about two weeks' time.

"And a Psychiatrist too" said...

Very well expressed again Mr. Simha.
Rightly she is the 'Head', not you now.
My grand kids 15 and 12, just adopted a new Dog who seems to have taken that position instead of my daughter in law who seemed more that, earlier than my son.
Veena

Akash Bhairab said...

Great, very evocative writing. May the bliss continue forever.

Birat Simha said...

Thank you Drs. Veena and Akash Bhairab. Most encouraging to receive feed-back from medical doctors.

Birat Simha said...

MRJji,
Best wishes to your granddaughter. I was hoping to get valuable feedback, like yours, from more grandparents. Thank you.

Govind Pokhrel said...

Very well written and also timely as I too am about to become a grandfather this August .But unfortunately Srijana and family will be in US and I will miss my grandson's milestones. But whatever, modern technology should be of some help. I can understand your feelings.May your dreams for her come true.

Birat Simha said...

Thank you, Govind; and hearty congratulations on your impending grand fatherhood.