Sometimes he might even listen to me!!
This time during my India trip, when the whole family had gone to Ibiza resort, my dad and I had a rather interesting debate about something. The topic was of money. He is always worried about spending money himself because he wants to leave that money for his grandchildren. I tried my level best to make a case that it is a totally futile exercise.
From his point of view, given his upbringing, he will forego a lot of things if it meant that would buy financial stability for his kids and grandkids. My argument was that there is no objective definition of “stability”. By many people’s definition, he has comfortably pushed his three kids and their families past that line. Now they need to maintain and improve from there.
After a long pause, he asked me if I will make sure my brother and sister and their families are looked after, after he and mom pass away. I did not answer such a silly question directly – but told him that there is no way I can give them something that only he has the ability to give.
Confused, he asked “What do I have that you do not have?”.
“Your time”, I had said.
And that is when I tried to impress upon him that my brother, sister, myself – we can all work hard and make sure we are all taken care of. We can earn more money, worldly stuff etc etc. for our kids. But as much as we jump and down, we can never give them a grandfather’s time that only he can give.
I had encouraged him to think about spending a little money and hire a car to go visit my brother’s family in Kolkata. It is an hour and half trip – two hours at most. Over a weekend the time the two grandkids would get are what memories will be made of for them long after he is gone.
Not sure how we ended up the whole discussion. In fact, I had forgotten about it completely. Then the other day – about a month after that discussion – I got a call from my brother that mom has a new physical issue and she needed to visit a doctor in Kolkata. He was going to get her checked and drop her back. Well, that was the plan. Till dad said – he would go too and spend a couple of days with my brother’s family. “Bachchu boley gechhilo”. (I guess he remembered our discussions).
For the next couple of days, I kept getting incessant IMO calls (that is a free app used for video calls – popular outside US I think) from my nephews with all sorts of stories. Once they had called up just to let me know that “Dadu Google ke Googly bolechhe” (I guess my dad pronounced Google as ‘Googly’).
I asked them to send some snapshots of them with my dad. And this is what I got.
Looks like the last India trip is a gift that is still giving.