How do children here in the USA, keep in touch with their grand parents in India? Each of these generations.., them, their parents, their grandparents..have come to belong to a different culture, out of sync with each other. The parents are totally confused between their western home and an eastern upbringing. The grandparents feel displaced when they come to the western home and their grand kids are caught up in the middle with the love for their grandparents totally intact, but, no way to express.
My home is a concoction of languages and the kids have taken to English and only English. They understand Hindi, Telugu and the sounds of Marathi and Kannada seem familiar too, but, don’t expect them to mouth any words from any of these languages…so what, if they have been going to Hindi Class since 3-4 years or that Mom had talked to them in Hindi until they started pre-school and changed her!
( How can I forget the Spanish connection from School?!! )
Hubby dear calls his old parents every morning, checking on them. Grandma Palle feels the call incomplete without hearing her grand daughter, R’s voice. Now, how do 2 people with different background, different languages, accents and hearing difficulties, converse with each other?!
Well, They have found a way! The conversation hasn’t changed in years…since R was 3 years old. It’s the same set of words they speak with each other every single day. This way each of them understands what the other is mouthing on the other side of the line. In those limited set of words…they have found a way to say
“I love you dear!!”
“I love you grandma!!”
Here is their conversation…
“Pata padanaa?!” (Shall I sing to you a song?!)
“Paadu Talli!” (Sing My Dear!!)
“Sa sings the sunflower,
Re rings out the red roses,
Ga giggles the gulmohar
Ma murmurs the marigold,
Pa pops the pretty poppies
Dha dance the Dhalia,
Ni not the Neem flower,
Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa…
Sa Ni Dha Pa Ma Ga Re Sa.”
Then R continues with a Hindustani Classical Song that she has started to sing from a year and a half back..having gotten fed up with the Twinkle Twinkle number she used to do since she was 3 years old.
Some memories are meant to be held for ever…and this is one of them.