Maybe it was something that popped up in a conversation recently or something I read, but today I feel like writing about my Grandparents. Four days before my eighth birthday, my grandparents passed away after a carbon monoxide leak in their home. Grandparents are unique in that we love them dearly because they treat us and are more lenient than mum and dad, yet they are still an extension of our parental authority so we also respect them a lot. In our culture, we call granddad ‘Nana’ and grandma ‘Nani.’ Allow me to share a few things about them.
I remember how every Saturday, we would drive down to their house where we would all gather for lunch. The cousins, the aunts, the uncles and then there would be Nana warming up his plate in front of the gas heater. He always liked it to be hot so that his food wouldn’t get cold too quickly. As well as hot food, he loved his spice and chillies which is something that was definitely not passed down to me. Whenever it was time to eat, I would occupy the special tall stool which could only be reached by crawling under the table. There was something special about those weekends, there was so much love in the air and everything seemed perfect. We would spend a lot of time running around the house or in the garden, although when my uncle set up a computer, we did end up playing games on it quite a bit!
There was one time my mum had warned my brother and I not to go on the computer as we were banned from it for misbehaving. It was only us and Nana that day so he decided to take us to a local transport museum that he had heard about. When we arrived, we saw that it was basically a large field with different types of buses and train carriages-still good fun for 6-8 year old kids but there was one problem. It was a huge rip off! So off we went back to Nana’s house where we saw our parents pulling up in their car. My brother had left the computer on because obviously he had not listened to mum’s warning so he attempted to run in the house and quickly shut it off. He failed. He got caught. He cried.
When my youngest brother was born, my brothers and I were staying over at Nana and Nani’s. I can remember clearly the sound of Nani’s voice waking us up to tell us that we now have a new brother. Nani was a calm and soft person with a youthful face but being kids, we would still tease her whenever she spoke English in a funny way. ‘Come on boyys’ was her favourite line whenever she wanted us to stop being annoying little slow coaches. However, we always laugh at how one of our cousins was afraid of Nani because she would tell him off for messing around in the bath when he was a baby. It’s hard to imagine anyone being afraid of Nani because she was such a sweet old thing.
Nana was different. He had a temper and it came into use one day when a kid was bullying my brother and I at the local community centre. After we told Nana, he went up to the boy and told him: ‘don’t you dare touch my grandsons ever again, do you understand?’ He may have said something even cooler but the main thing I remember from that was the kid never annoyed us again. Superhero Nana.
Nana was remarkably fit and he would often take us to the park to play football or cricket but rather than simply spectate, he would join in wholeheartedly. We would also run races and most of the time, he would win against my elder brothers which is something we always find amazing. Poor Nana, we would make him sound so old! “Oh my God! EVEN Nana beat you!” One time on the way to the mosque, it was only me and him so I said “let’s race.” Off we went, speeding down the road when suddenly I was stopped by a large grey wheelie bin. The side of my forehead had canonned into it and the race came to an abrupt stop as tears began to spout out of my eyes. We headed back home immediately but Nana’s sisters were also there so we decided to keep the cause of the accident a secret else Nana would have got a telling off. “Oh I just bumped into a bin because I wasn’t looking where I was going.” It wouldn’t be the last time a bin attacked me because six years later, one would make my bicycle swerve into a tree, thus breaking my arm.
My Number One Grandson. That was Nana’s nickname for me. He knew how to make everyone feel special and as I was the youngest – until my little brother came along – I would always crow about this awesome and unique status. At the same time, whenever it was Eid, he would secretly give my eldest brother a little more money, telling him that he has more responsibility and that he should look after his younger brothers. The cheeky little bugger probably spent it all on sweets but it was a way of teaching him which I think, worked.
It was an accepted fact that the cupboard at Nana and Nani’s was always more well stocked than ours at home. Probably because we spent most of our free time there. We would always demolish packs of Pink Panther biscuits and sometimes when feeling peckish, we would pour a bit of cereal in our hands before going off to play again. An important feature of the house was the sweets cupboard which was maintained by our aunt. We would call it the sweet shop, despite there being an amazing one across the road but I guess that is where my aunt got all her stock from. Strawberry Bon-Bons, sugary melons, laces and much more. One at a time please!
Another important feature of the house was the cellar. It was the ultimate deterrent to bad behaviour, especially at dinner times. We had all heard the tale of how one day a snake had been found under the stairs after escaping from the Vivarium down the road. There were also the stories of our uncle being sent down in the cellar as a child after refusing to finish his food. So it was a nice threat to have for the more mischievous of us kids – obviously not me! However, it worked both ways because whenever our parents would do something that we did not like, we would immediately phone Nana. “Dont’ worry, when you come to my house, we will put mum in the cellar.” So we would gleefully claim victory over mum and warn her of the danger she will be walking into this weekend. Of course, nobody ever went in the cellar for punishment but it was good deterrent nonetheless. Funnily enough, I would follow Nana into the cellar whenever he went to get something as I was fascinated by the mass of things to be found. He was a bit of a handyman so I would stare at all the tools he had, which is probably what continues to pique my interest in the subject till today.
Now I could go on but I’m beginning to get the sense that this post is becoming quite lengthy so I will end it here. Grandparents are amazing, so treasure them whilst they are still in your life. Some may have odd ways of doing things or require help which can be tiring but when they are gone, you will miss them terribly.
Until Next Time
A Worried Student (aka Number One Grandson :P)