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  • Aditi Iyer

A Day at Nani's house

It was another day in the life of Arun, a young boy who was ten years old, as he woke up from his dreamy sleep to the sound of the bells ringing. His grandmother was doing pooja, early in the morning. He was staying at his grandparent’s house in Chennai. A small chamber on the ground floor in the corner right beside the staircase of their three-storied bungalow was where he slept. There was a single bed, a small closet with a bookshelf in which numerous books were stacked, looking down at tiny Arun. The bungalow was beautiful and comfortable. His grandfather and grandmother, who he called Nana and Nani, had been living there for the past 5 decades. The house overlooked the Elliots beach. Arun always enjoyed the sea breeze that would blow through the windows early in the morning and the mesmerising sun rising from the deep blue waters. He usually spent his summer vacation there eating dosas, idlis, upma, appam and sambar which his Nani gladly made for him. After finishing his breakfast of idli with sambar he spent the day relaxing at home, running around and playing with the street dogs, staring at the glorious blue ocean and listening to the stories told to him by his Nana. Whenever his nana would be free, he would immediately go to Arun and tell him all kinds of entrancing stories. Stories of Akbar and Birbal, Vikram and Vetal, Ramayana, Mahabharata and many other mythological stories, each of which never failed to have a moral lesson. His day though may seem ordinary, was filled with small experiences which he would ponder over throughout the day. These experiences are what would develop his character and personality. During evenings, he would go for a walk with his Nani to the local Hanuman temple. On their way, there would be a small stall where an old man would sell fresh coconut water and handmade coconut sweets like modas, ladoos and sometimes even chocolates! Nani would usually stop there during her walk to rehydrate herself with some fresh coconut water, she would buy Arun a treat as well during their stroll. Eating those delicious sweets used to be the highlight of Arun’s day. Ohh! How they melted as soon as he put them in his mouth. The sweet, fresh and tangy coconut shaving tasted delicious. That day he was more than ever excited to eat the yummy sweets. He kept urging his Nani to leave immediately so that he could eat the delectable confections. He left with his Nani for the temple and when they reached they saw a poor little orphaned girl sitting outside the temple. She looked malnourished, weary and starved. She did not even have decent clothes on and was a picture of misery. The people walking in and out of the temple did not even care to look at her or acknowledge her presence. They swiftly turned their heads away from her without even giving her a single anna. On seeing this poor little girl, Nani who was caring, kind and loving in nature went to the little stall outside the temple and bought some bananas for the little girl using all of the money she had. This stall usually had flowers, food and various offerings that people used to buy to offer god. However, Nani gave it to the girl. She looked at Nani with a look of gratitude that filled Arun’s heart with joy. After sitting in the temple for the evening pooja, Nani and Arjun left for home. She sadly could not buy him the coconut candies and told him, “Sorry Kanna, I don't have any money left. I used it all to help that poor little child. I will buy them for you tomorrow.” However, Arun did not mind. He replied saying, “It is fine, Nani, what we did for that girl was much more important than anything else.” When he came back home he narrated the entire incident to his Nana,” Nana! Nana! You won't believe what Nani did today. She gave hope to a poor little girl who was sitting all alone and poor outside the temple.” Nana replied saying, “How lovely Kanna! However, there is nothing unbelievable about that. Life is about acts of kindness. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. Why do you think I tell you so many stories? I tell them to you hoping that you will learn from these great people and do great acts like them.” That night after eating dinner Arun lay on his bed thinking about the day that he had. The wind was blowing from the sea. He realised that even though this was a small incident in his life, it impacted him to a great extent. He realised that kindness is the best nourishment to humanity and it always comes back.

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