Tales from my Grandmother

My grandmother has seen life in all its facets and extremes. If she's seen the best, she has also unfortunately, seen the worst of times too. While she is always up to telling me lots of fascinating stories about her childhood, her marriage and times in between, she also never fails to educate me. One of the best tales she has told me was about a small well natural spring that is in my neighborhood in Mumbai. About a miles walk from our tall raised building in South Mumbai, lies an spiritual area filled with small temples, guru's and the Banganga or Bal Ganga. Honestly, I've visited this natural spring many a time, but never have I questioned its existence and always thought that it was man made. However, one evening as my grandmother and I took a walk, I asked her if she had been there recently to which she quickly replied, "Of course!" I smiled to myself and wondered why I had even asked that ridiculous question. This was my grandmother - whom I refer to as Mummy. She was the most religious being I knew. She then told me that the Bal Ganga had a beautiful story which has been virtually untold and unknown.

As the story goes, when Lord Ram, his wife Sita and brother Lakshman had stopped in this area for a break while his kingdom was being terrorized by the demon God Ravan. The trio were thirsty for water and when none was to be found, he shot an arrow into the ground which produced what is now known as the Bal Ganga. Attached to the ganga, is a small temple known as Walkeshwar Mandir. The mandir is said to be built of sand by Lakshman, hence the name. According to legend, Valuka Ishwar means Lord of the Sand. Every year, musical maestros and traditional dancers get together to dance on the banks of the Bal Ganga and give their offerings to Lord Ram.

It's amazing how we miss out on such amazing details in our own neighborhood. Granted, I've never lived in Mumbai but in my heart, I've always been a Bombaywala. After the story was over, I looked at my grandmother and was so thrilled that she had told me such an amazing story. It was one I knew I would pass down to my own children. It was then I had another realization. On a daily basis, I read of the youth wanting to help the country. They want to adopt children who are unfortunate, give them a great life and add to their list of good deeds. Additionally and hopefully, the one above may look at their wonderful act of service and decide to knock of a few bad karma points. But what really sucks, is that they don't realize that we are so bothered about tomorrow, that we forgot about yesterday; i.e. Senior Citizens. These are the very people who gained us our independence from the evil clutches of colonial rule, they have taught us lessons in life and once they become a tad bit old (I dislike the world senile), we toss 'em in an old age home. Honestly, old age homes should be banned not only in India but across the world. It's sad how we fail to realize their importance in our lives. I wish for every adopted child, people across the world would also adopt a senior citizen. Until then, I do hope that I can one day be of some use to these amazing people.

Lesson(s) Learnt: 1) My grandmom is a rock star, 2) Old folk tell the best stories, give the best hugs, and have the softest hands in the world. Because I may never get to do this, I love you Mummy!

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