I need to talk business with Nani

The Skype call came spot on at 6 am. The husband picked it up as usual and the little chap came on the screen. But this morning there was no usual banter with the grandpa. What I hears was : I need to talk business with Nani! So Nani promptly placed her face in front of the camera wondering what business had to be discussed. I was sure that it would be something related to his birthday, perhaps an extra toy or book in the parcel ready to leave as he celebrates his sixth on the 21st. Well I got it partly right as it was about his birthday, but totally wrong after that. What he said next totally floored me: Nani, I am not getting any toys for my birthday this year, and am sending all the money to Project Why children. Wow! Was I zapped. It transpired that this year all his friends' parents were told not to buy him any toys but to make a donation to project why.

I cannot begin to describe all the emotions that filled me in that short instant. I was overwhelmed with love, gratitude, pride and above all respect and admiration for my daughter and son-in-law who have been able to teach my lovely grandson the art of seeing with your heart.

Agastya knows project why well. When he was just 8 months or so, we had a play group that use to come and play with him at home every day. It was a small bunch of our creche children with one teacher. A few months later he was 'enrolled' in the project why creche and attended it each and every time he was in Delhi. His first pals were project why kids. And today it is with them that he wants to share his birthday, even though he is 12415 kilometres away. True he will have a party with a birthday cake and birthday games, but there will be no presents but the joy of sharing this day with children who have less than him is priceless. I saw that in his little face this morning. Needless to say the parcel grandma sends will have a few more toys then initially planned.

More than the little fellow, it his parents who need to be applauded. We all wonder why today's youth is not compassionate and sensitive, particularly in India. The answer is simple. They are/were never taught to be so. And yet that is the biggest lesson you can give your child. But the only way to give it walk the talk.

Blissfully there are some rare parents who do so. We have a little girl who is 13 now, who has been celebrating her birthday every year with our special section children. This of course is because her mom decided to do so when she was 1, and has never stopped. Every year in February, the special section is taken to Dilli Haat and fed a scrumptious lunch of their choice before cutting a nice creamy cake. Games are organised amidst laughter and fun and each child gets a lovely return gift. I wish more parents did the same. It is not the fact of donating something as some do, but of spending time together that makes all the difference. The children my grandson is sending 'gifts' to, are children he has played and bonded with.

Today I am a proud mom and grand mom.