A few years back I finally took retirement after 45 years in the workforce. After my retirement, people suggested various things that I should do. But there is only one thing that I most look forward to. My yearly trips to my daughter’s house to be with my grandchildren. My granddaughter is a very good friend of mine and I get to spend a lot of time with my friend. She calls me Dadu. With her I become a child again and we do a lot of fun and mischievous things together. We have to do all of this without letting my granddaughter’s mom know about it. My granddaughter’s mom is my own daughter who happens to be quite a strict mother. We have to do a lot of things secretly and this makes it more fun. Trying to keep secrets from my own daughter and being afraid that she would reprimand sounds amusing. But once you have grandchildren they become more important.
On one such trip to meet my granddaughter, we went for a day trip to Carmel Beach in California. It was a sudden plan and such plans have a different charm. Carmel is a beautiful city by the beach with a lot of art galleries near the beach. After seeing some of the galleries we went to the beach. The way towards the beach had a downward slope. My granddaughter was running and pulling me along. I ran like a child behind her. My daughter kept scolding both of us. She was worried that we would fall. My granddaughter on the other hand kept saying “Run Dadu. Run. Don’t listen to Mom.”. I listened to my granddaughter.
When we reached the beach, everyone became busy with their own things. My son in law with his photography, my daughter with her infant son and we were enjoying the beach. Suddenly we noticed that my granddaughter was missing. I started looking for her and calling her name. We found her perched on the branch of a tree. We were astonished. I asked her, “How did you climb there?” She smiled at me. Her dad came and took a picture of this act. When it was time to get down, she said “Dadu, help me get down.” I told her I am too old for that. I needed to call someone.
My son in law had again got busy with photography so I had to call my daughter. My daughter came and helped to get my granddaughter down from the tree. But it was followed with lot of questions and interrogations. “Why did you climb on the tree? Who allowed you? What if you fell down”. My granddaughter and I did not say a word. She rolled her eyes and looked at me. As soon her mother left, she said “Dadu, I am angry with you. Why did you call mom ? Have you forgotten our secret agreement?”
Whatever happens outside the house, never tell mom. This is our special agreement.
Because I broke the promise, she piggybacked on me from the beach to the car. The slope was steep and upwards now. I had to do this without my daughter noticing it. We kept ourselves at a distance from her, chatted and joked all the way. Whenever my daughter would look back, we hid behind a tree. It became a hide and seek game between us.
Roles have reversed. My daughter is the parent now. I have retired from the role. I am enjoying being a kid along with my grandchildren.
Story and Photo Credit : Ashoke Mukherjee