In 1960, when Amena Zaveri moved from Surat to Mumbai where her husband had been transferred, they had only his monthly salary of Rs 150 to bring up their two sons.
Today, after four children, seven grandchildren and a recent promotion to great-grand-motherhood, she cannot help being amazed at how life has changed.
“In those days, we lived peacefully and happily with the little we had. Today, inflation is shocking,” said Zaveri (79), who now lives with her eldest son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren in Andheri.
“In this computer age, most people have no time to care for the family as they rush around,” she noted.
Zaveri is glad, then that her family has proved different. While she proudly says that her children were very “co-operative and struggled to come up in life”, her family heaps praises on her with as much pride.
“Dadi has the most calm, composed and cool personality, always ready to understand and balance the viewpoints of different generations,” said Zaveri's granddaughter Mahera Kantawala (27), who is overjoyed that her new-born daughter, Sarah, is getting attentive and experienced care from people from so many generations.
For her mother, Yasmin Zaveri (51), grand-parenthood has brought back memories of her own days of being a new mother. “Right now, the whole family revolves around Sarah,” she said.
While Sarah may be too young to realise what it means to be the fourth generation in a family, 16-year-old Karishma Raghav is aware of how unique her family is.
“None of my friends can believe I have a great-grandmom! So I take them along me whenever I go to visit her,” said Prabhadevi resident Raghav, who often drops in to spend time with 86-year-old Perin Todiwala at her Mahim residence.
Raghav and her brother are Hindus from their father’s side, but the entire family is in constant touch with the Parsi culture on her mother’s side.
Armaity Daruwala (65), Raghav’s grandmother and “best buddy”, is proud of her liberal, joyful and close-knit family.
“We have family get-togethers at the drop of a hat — even the smallest excuse will do,” said the Andheri-based homemaker who fondly remembers the time she went with her mother, daughter and grand daughter for a holiday to Hong Kong.
Her daughter, Bina Raghav (48), confirms.
“We don’t need a separate day to meet and celebrate. For us, every day is Family Day.”