Some things never change. Grandparents are always the centre of the universe for grandchildren, finds Neeti Sarkar. It’s a friendship that’s held on

If you were to go by picture storybooks that we’ve all been endeared to when we were kids, you would realise that while they perpetuate stereotypes, the images aren’t completely misleading. Remember seeing grandmothers in rocking chairs knitting away or in the kitchen, hands in a bowl of flour with aprons tied around their ample waists? And grandfathers potting plants or sawing wood in their workshops? All positioned in clouds of silver hair and warm smiles with their grandkids watching/helping them?

The times sure are changing and today’s grandparent and grandchild do more than what picture storybooks convey! On the eve of Grandparents’ Day, MetroPlus asks both parties what they’ve learnt from each other.

Sunayna Mishra, a young mother says: “If it wasn’t for my grandmother, I’d find it difficult being a mother today! She taught me everything I needed to run a family. From sewing and baking to teaching me not to sweat the small stuff, I have imbibed so many other life lessons from her.”

For software engineer Rishi Singh who lost both his parents in an accident when he was only five, his grandparents have been parents to him. “They raised me up, played with me, helped me with my homework, with college admissions and even made it possible for me to go abroad and pursue my degree. Playing two roles simultaneously may have not been easy especially when it came to having to discipline me yet wanting to spoil me, but they never made it look tough. The most important lesson they’ve taught me is how to be emotionally strong. I owe everything I am today to them,” he says.

Content writer Amita Nayak says: “My love for writing was instilled in me by my grandfather who would encourage me to write letters from the time I was a little girl. I even made pen pals because of him. Today, despite the fact that all my other communication takes place via email, between him and me, snail mail is in! We still write each other postcards.”

The beauty about a relationship like this is that grandparents too are constantly learning from their grandchildren and with the internet booming, we have a whole breed of silver surfers. “I share a very close relationship with my 24-year-old grandson and he was the one who taught me how to use the internet, chat online, Skype, and who even got me to join Facebook before he left to the US to pursue his Masters. He told me if I wanted to talk to him every day, this would be the easiest way. He wasn’t lying,” quips Annamma Joseph, a 79-year-old.

Vishnu Prathap, a retired army officer says: “Back in the day, we enjoyed doing crosswords, playing marbles, and of course gully cricket was the best part about Sunday afternoons. When my grandchildren were young, I taught them these games. Now, since I cannot go out, they have got me hooked to video games (I used to enjoy ‘Need for Speed’ a lot) and of course ‘Temple Run’, a popular game on smartphones. I find it difficult to focus my eyes but I still have fun playing.”

“I think I was a very strict parent but being a grandparent in this modern age, I have evolved! Initially, I would reprimand my daughter for allowing my granddaughters a late curfew and letting them go out to parties with friends. But the most important thing I’ve learnt from them is that if you want them to be your best friend you have to be theirs and that calls for moving with the times,” explains 83-year-old Jayanti Nagesh.

While American writer Alex Haley said: “Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children,” we’re quite sure it’s mutual and that it doesn’t quite stop at childhood!