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Unlikely buddy

Grandparents are not just an extension of your family, they can be a support system too, notes Preeti Khilnani.
Hindustan Times | By Preeti Khilnani, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAY 27, 2008 12:16 PM IST

Playing with their grandkids, doting over them and trying to fulfill every single wish of theirs.. this is what makes grandparents so special. The bedtime stories, the long walks, the gifts and the ladoos - these are memories which are etched forever in every one's life.

But not every child is fortunate enough to receive such unconditional love. Nowadays most families are nuclear families and in such cases, the grandparents' position is taken over by baby sitters or crèches.

Value system
Couples now prefer to live on their own without realising the importance of grandparents' in their child's life. Besides all the love and care they show er, grandparents also inculcate values and prepare the child for future life.

Ratna Goradia, a 21-year-old, says that her grandfather is the most important person in her life. "My grandpa believes in Gandhian ideals and it is he who has taught me the importance of forgiveness, tolerance and truthfulness," she says.

However, it's not just the child who learns all the time. Nowadays it's the young one who acts as a direct link between the grandparent and the changing world.

The kid introduces them to the Internet, electronic gadgets, computer games as well as the latest social trends.

"My granddaughter is my best friend. It is through her that I keep in touch with all that's happening in the world," says Sushma Bami.

Generation gap
It's smooth sailing so long the kids are young. But as they grow older, they might take their grandparents' concern as a hindrance to their independence. Any kind of advice or suggestion will be taken as interference.

The constant tug-of war between ageold values and peer pressure widens the generation gap between the two. And in all likelihood, the young one chooses to ignore his once best buddy.

Riya Vaidya, a teacher admits to going through such a stage when she failed to understand her grandfather's concern for her. "The teenage years were rough but my grandpa was my strongest anchor.. and I have realised it only now. It's only because of him that I didn't drift in the wrong direction," she says.

Vaidya also feels that a lot depends on the parents. "If your parents respect them and treat them well even you tend to unconsciously emulate it," she adds.

Grandparents are an essential part of every person's life but we realise it when it's already too late. Kausha Shah, a 28-year-old architect, still misses her grandmother who passed away a few years ago.

"She lived in the village and on every vacation I would go to meet her but with time I got busy. Now when she's no more, I feel I should have given her more time," she rues.

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