I and didi were going to greet our grandfather at his cloth shop, on the way from tuition to home. I was in class four and didi in seven. In that narrow market street, a big bull became out of control. There was big chaos. Before we can understand anything, suddenly someone pushed us aside. We both fell down, on one side. And let the bull cross calmly. Slowly, we got up and picked up our bags. An elderly lady stood by our side and asked me, “Who are you?”I said, “Akbar di poti (Akbar’s granddaughter).” She said, “ oh, Akbar, do darwaje di hatti wala?”I nodded in ‘yes’. She went with us to our cloth shop and narrated the whole incident to my Dadaji (Baba Ji). My grandfather thanked her. She was greeted with tea and samosas. And we were consoled with coca-cola. That was my identity at that time AKBAR DI POTI, DO DARWAJE DI HATTI WALE(Akbar’s granddaughter who has a shop with two doors.)
DO DARWAJE DI HATTI: OLD MEMORIES
MY grandfather had a cloth shop with two doors. One door was opposite the main seat with ‘ ‘Galla’ (SAFE TO KEEP MONEY) where my grandfather used to sit and the other towards the right opposite the side small seat where his brother used to sit. Adjoining the main shop area, was the spacious stock area. It was our place of interest, where we used to play, roam about or sometimes complete our homework. On holidays, my cousin also used to join us to play hide n seek. But more than six were not allowed. And we six were very comfortable playing there, away from the scolding of ladies at home. Saying, NAMASTE while entering and leaving the shop was mandatory etiquette. We used to get Karachi(pocket money )while leaving the shop. He used to get us kulfi or chaat occasionally. On every alternate day, he used to order samosa-jalebi and tea for all the helping staff of our shop. Whenever we are playing in the stock area, they were not allowed to go there without his permission or he will come inside with them. Once a week, I and didi used to get many coins in a small cloth bag. Under my sister’s guidance in the supervision of my grandmother, we use to distribute that money to the poor near our home. In Punjabi, my elder cousin used to speak loudly,”’ Mundey, Kurio, paise le jao.” (Boys and girls, come and take money.) Kids of all age groups with poor resources used to come, group around us and take money(25paiseor50paise coins)one by one. In our shop, all kinds of customers used come. Mostly day time was for retail customers and evening time was for wholesale customers. There were many customers who couldn’t pay money in one go. But for their living, they have to buy materials to sell in villages on cycles. Baba Ji was very liberal with them and used to go out of his way to help them. Sometimes, he would give them extra suits without taking money. They would take their comfortable time to sell and once they got money, they will pay him. He could sense their financial problems. Many times, he used to pay them in advance.
AKBAR DI POTI
The question is why people used to call my grandfather AKBAR although he was a HINDU. Initially, these people were his customers belonging to the Muslim community with humble backgrounds. My native town’s more than 50percent population is Muslim. Due to his kind and generous nature, they used to call him AKBAR. And this is how others also started to him with this name. I and my other threes sisters also got this identity, Akbar di poti.
TAKEAWAY FROM THESE SWEET MEMORIES
At that time, I was just a kid. I was not able to view my grandfather‘s greatness at that time. But now I understand, how he was loved and respected by the people of that area. These memories were revived when a Young Muslim couple, from my place, approached me for some medical help. His father gave him my reference as Akbar di poti. what I learnt from these old memories…….
- Be the role model for your children, don’t preach the values. Live your life with those values.
- In your children, inculcate the habit of helping the people with lesser resources, in your unique way.
- Raise your kids in such a way that they are open-minded. They should understand to rise above the financial inequalities prevalent in our society.
- Show respect to the people of all religions.
- Love, pamper and take care of your children and grandchildren so that they feel secure and protected.
This post is a little token of gratitude to my grandfather. I hope this will help somehow to generate more respect and love for elders.
THANKS AND REGARDS.