My Grandmother and other ancestors

Dear Class IX Learners

You will read a short story by Sudha Murty, How I taught my grandmother to read.

sudha-m

I thought of a fun task for you to research, write and post to me as comments on this post – if you are interested.

Your father’s or your mother’s mother is your grandmother.

What is the word for your grandmother’s mother? It’s great grandmother.

Again, what is the word for your grandmother’s grandmother? It’s great great grandmother! She is truly your ‘ancestress’.

Now, here’s your task. I would like you to do some research on your great-great grandmother. How? You will interview your grandmother (directly / phone) on her memories of her own grandmother.

By, the way, you can substitute grandfather / great-great grandfather – but only if your grandmother is no more.

If you happen not to have a single surviving grandparent, then you can still do some research on Indian ladies of the same state, who lived in the same period. You can interview an old lady in your neighbourhood on her grandmother – or go online as a last resort.

The focus of your research should be on collecting information on the following points:

  1. Name
  2. Year of birth and death (approximate will do)
  3. Education (level/degree – where, when, etc.)
  4. Description of appearance
  5. Personality highlights
  6. Clothes worn
  7. Lifestyle
  8. Any interesting fact / incident from life
  9. A photograph ???

I would also like to share these poems written by my friend (a brilliant college mate) Sumathi Sudhakar – which you may have read before this. Thaathi or paati means grandmother in Tamil. I hope you enjoy reading. Clicking on her name will take you to her blog for kids.

Thaathi’s dinner

Rice and sambhar, rasam, kootu
Poriyal, appalum and spicy moru
She smacked her lips and licked her hand
She burped and watched her belly expandBut Thaathi’s dinner was not done.She called for her betel-nut box.She plucked some betel leaves and washed them well
Folded them and drew out the stalk
Opened them out and dabbed some lime
Spread the lime and cracked a betel nut
Added the betel and a crush of tobacco
Dotted it with cubes of candy
Topped it all with melon seedsFolded it up from all sides
And tucked it away into her ruby red mouth.

Now Thaathi’s dinner was done.

She put some money in a roll of paper
Put the roll in her tiny string bag
Put the bag into her purse
Put the purse into her sari fold
And tied it up in a big tight knot.Then Thaathi went shopping.She bought a string of jasmines for Rs.10.
She untied the knot and took out her purse
Unzipped the purse and took out the bag
Undid the bag and took out the paper
Unrolled the paper and took out the money
And gave it to the jasmine seller.Next she bought some betel leaves for Rs. 5.
She untied the knot and took out her purse
Unzipped the purse and took out the bag
Undid the bag and took out the paper
Unrolled the paper and took out the money
And gave it to the betel seller.Then she bought two bananas for Rs. 4.
She untied the knot and took out her purse
Unzipped the purse and took out the bag
Undid the bag and took out the paper
Unrolled the paper and took out the money
And gave it to the banana seller.

Now there was no money left with Thaathi.
So she folded her paper into a roll
Put the roll in her tiny string bag
Put the bag into her purse
Put the purse into her sari fold
And tied it up in a big tight knot.

And Thaathi went home.

The sambhar came to a boil with a plop
And the drumstick rose up to Thaathi’s nose
“It is ready,” she said.
She licked a hot drop and made a face:
It was too sour.It was too sour, so she added some salt
And she stirred and stirred till it was all in a whirr
And when the sambhar came to a boil with a plop
And the drumstick rose to touch her nose,
She tasted it again.Now it was too salty, so she added some jaggery
Then she stirred and stirred till it was all in a whirr
And when the sambhar came to a boil with a plop
And the drumstick rose to touch her nose,
She again tasted it.Now it was too sweet, so she added some chilli powder
Then she stirred and stirred till it was all in a whirr
And when the sambhar came to a boil with a plop
And the drumstick rose to touch her nose,
She again tasted it.Now it was too spicy, so she added some tamarind
And she stirred and stirred till it was all in a whirr
And when the sambhar came to a boil with a plop
And the drumstick rose to touch her nose,
She again tasted it.

It was too sour.

 

Thaathi goes to a wedding

She draped a sari of red silk and gold
Donned a buff-sleeved blouse of old
Fixed a pearl brooch on her shoulder
A golden waistband, a silver keychain;She piled her hair into a graceful top-knot
And pinned on a jewel of garnet and gold
Swirled some strings of jasmine around it
And stuck a blood red rose on the crest.She took out the old family diamonds
A pair for her ears and a pair for her nose;
Put on her old necklace of gold
Slipped on jingling gold bangles
And topped them with finger rings – coral and goldShe dabbed on powder to brighten her moon face
Then dotted her forehead with a bright red bindi
Lined her eyes with a lash of kohl black
And chewed on a betel leaf to red-stain her lipsShe picked up her shiny old purse of yore
Looked at herself in the mirror just twice
Then turned to the door, a smile on her face
Then put on her slippers, shiny new
Now she was ready to bless the couple.

I hope you enjoyed Sumathi’s poems as much as I did!
Sanjukta Sivakumar

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