Situ Shrestha

There is a famous saying “OLD is GOLD” and this aptly describes the importance of elders in our life. The truth is, our elders are the most indispensable part of our life. The elderly people are our roots that support us at the base underground; though they are hidden underground, our existence without them is impossible. As there can be no present without the past, similarly, the young cannot have their being, without the elderly. We tend to forget comprehending the power of elders that is keeping the world stable. Our very life will come to a standstill without the elderly. We must respect them and love them for their invaluable light of love and wisdom in our life! It is very fortunate that in my family, we have Maa (grandmother).

My Maa, Masinu Shrestha who just turned 82 years old few weeks ago is not just a role model to me but, for my entire family and relatives. From belonging to a wealthy family to getting married to a middle class background, giving birth to nine children (unfortunately losing 4 son ) and raising 5 children ( 2 son and 3 daughter), she has always stood dauntlessly and strongly holding each and everyone together. Getting married in to a lesser privileged family than hers to losing her husband at a young age, life was not easy for her. Turning her life around from having nothing to everything, on her own with no support from her family, she inspires and is the backbone of our family.

Today, she has managed to provide and make sure that each of her children, whether it’s a son or daughter are well provided, stable and secure. She has distributed her belongings, love and knowledge equally to everyone. Due to her marrying in to a less wealthy family, she never got the respect and support from her side of the family and that is also one of the reason, she has provided for and treated her daughters as equal as her sons. She really worked hard without saying day or night and achieved everything for her family. Today, despite her health issues of diabetes, high B.P. and being a heart patient, she never looks dull, old or gray.

Like most grandparents, she loves to narrate stories and incidents of the past along with, memories of her life. In all the stories of her happiness, naughtiness, and hard work, she always shares one sad thing she couldn’t do, and that is – STUDY. She mentions being a daughter was a kind of disadvantage for her because all her brothers were educated but she wasn’t. She still remembers and said it would be great if she could at least identify the alphabet and write few words. While watching news, she says she could have been a Minister in the Government, if she had received education. She writes few religious words such as “SHREE RAM”, “OM” on her hand or palm using pen or mehendi. Her favourite colour is orange and she loves boiled potato. She never demands to eat this or that and always teaches us to be satisfied with what we have in a positive manner. She always mentions the time period, people she knew, her hard-work and environment in every story of hers and her eyes always gets moist when reminiscing with fondness, but never with regret.

Today what she has and got for us is all because of her hard work, dedication and love. She never discriminates and helps each and everyone around. She even spends her Old Age Allowance in helping those in need and in religious activities, she is an extrovert and loves travelling to religious places. Donating to and organising religious programmes is what she loves doing the most.

With all the love and stories she mention and shares, she always advices and guides us what to do and not to. Her advice regarding dealing with obstacles/crisis in life, is usually different than the advice we get from our parents. Her opinion, perspective and advice are really understanding and makes a lot of sense even in today’s modern world. Recently we faced major problems in our country such as earthquake, blockage and now we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the earthquake we experienced, personally I was and am still very scared of even a small shake but Maa surprises all of us with her boldness and strength. She never got scared or frightened because of earthquake. Today, as we all are facing the pandemic, she seems stressed and scared, not because she might get the disease but because she is worried for her children and entire family. She is taking all precautions mentioned to prevent the virus and ensures everyone follow the guidelines strictly. Every day, she keeps in touch with all her relatives and asks them to stay safe.

During the lockdown, we have been gardening, preparing food together, making changes in room settings, listening to old stories, watching old movies & songs, albums, and more. Being with all of us at home and engaging in activities together, makes her feel happy, less stressed and helps her mentally & physically. She enjoys video chatting with her children and relatives, watching Ramayan and Mahabharat on Youtube. She loves teaching us regarding preparing authentic traditional food which tastes great and takes very less time to cook. We are learning a lot from each other during this period, when all of us have no choice but be home due to the lockdown. We are also getting to know how lonely and stressed Maa used to feel when we all were busy with work or classes leaving her alone at home during the day. It has made us realise how we need her support and company the same way she needs ours.

Our Maa shines in our dark world like the rays of light. The truth is she is the most indispensable part of our life. With her, we must respect her and other elderly people. Love and care them for their invaluable light of love and wisdom in our life! It is very unfortunate that in some families, the elderly are not given respect and treated bad. They are discarded by their own people for petty things in life. Such lonely elderly people have to take shelter in old age homes. She mentions these things and always try to donate and ask us to help them too.

She says we take nothing when we die, so help others and eventually we will grow and be a wise person. Elders have all the valuable experience and wisdom with them and we must use it to make our life better. Besides, the kind of unconditional love we get from them, no other person or human being can give us that type of love. We must hold on to the elderly people in our families and stay in the light of their love and wisdom. She is the light of our family and I love her the most. She has given me more than my parents. Just being with her makes everything so happy and fine. We cannot think our life without her. She is a BOLD, YOUNG HEARTED AND HARDWORKING WOMAN, I have ever seen anyone like her in my life. And me and my whole family/relatives and people who knows her respect, adore, appreciate and love her from the bottom of our heart.

Her kind nature and persistent bravery encourages me to always to work hard and do what I love, no matter how much time it takes or the obstacles I face. I have got the best example of leadership skills in Maa and I feel very grateful to have her in my life. Our entire family and I love you Maa. You are the best and even if we write a book it will not be enough to describe your goodness and presence in our lives. “STAY SAFE AND STAY HEALTHY” is all she mentions about the on- going pandemic.