Fables from the Past

You close your eyes and transport yourself to your childhood. You’re sitting with your affectionate grandparents. A puff of smoke rises into the air and you urge your grandpa to quit smoking. A TV commercial shows a man becomes a skeleton because of smoking daily so you’re worried about his health.

Then you lean against your grandma. She narrates you stories of kings, queens, castles, fairies, elves, and jinn and so on. But you insist again and again to listen to “Red Riding Hood”. Your jaw drop when she tells that wolf impersonates the granny of Red Riding Hood and you pause for a moment and stare at your grandma and it seems her canine teeth will rip your throat out. You shrug that thought off and snuggle her tightly.

She ties bunches of balloons around your bed and you’re hopping on the mattress, pulling your shorts up on each hop. Her throat gets dry but she keeps recounting fables until the time comes to pray. She spreads turquoise prayer rug your father bought from Turkey and offers a prayer. Next to rug, on a bedside table, is the Holy Book covered by a velvet cloth. She picks up the Quran, opens and starts reciting it. You look at her constantly, till she blows Dua on your face and kisses on your cheek.

Next day, you listen to Islamic stories of Tipu Sultan, Salahuddin Ayubi and assorted stories from Qisas Al-Anbiya and you impersonate Tipu Sultan, sitting atop the lion, swaying a sword to quell enemies.

She blows Dua on your face and kisses on your cheek.

You still remember how she narrates, and most of the times concocts stories to amuse you. You’ve never heard those stories again. A special flavor of “Dadi Nani ki Kahaniyan”. She always incorporates message of honesty, bravery and humility in her stories. Now, you’re grown up but those messages are ingrained in your mind, which you sometimes think to transfer to your kids before you’re no more.

A snap and you are awake from a reverie.

Happy Dadi Nani ki Kahaniyan

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