Grandparents. For those of us lucky enough to have them around, we know NOTHING trumps time spent with them. Ramzan, especially for me is associated with memories of my nana’s annual iftar party at a local social club and my nani’s delicious fruit chaat whipped up with her tangy homemade chaat masala. Warm hugs and heartfelt presents on roza khushais and a doting nani waking up to prepare sehri at sleepovers.
With the kind of fuzziness these memories exuded, I decided to crowd source some of the memories group members of Soul Sisters Pakistan had of their grandparents in Ramzan. And got some beautiful, very relatable responses. Here are some of the top picks!
The girl whose grandparents taught her the art of giving
The girl whose nani was a chef to remember
She taught us how to fold samosas and make rotis. Ramzan was truly nani-bacho ka time. She knew I was a noodle-lover so she’d always store more chowmein or noodle-spring rolls for me. And the very reason that she would remember what each and everyone loves to eat and the fact that she would accomodate everyone’s tastes, the entire family and extended family called her “wah-wah Maa“.
– Hafsa Mahida
The girl whose nana used to make perfect samosas
– Yusra Ansari
The girl whose grandfather taught them patience
Plus, he was very against of telling about any minor cooking failure especially at aftaar, like if the pakoras were not salty enough he used to eat without complaining and used to stop us too. He used to say that the person who made aftaar was fasting too and to just be thankful.
My daada paased away back in 2013. He was seriously unwell in his last ramzan so he couldn’t sit at the table. I still miss him alot.
– Shahzeen Shaffi
The girl whose grandparents personified love
– Syeda Rabeea Zehra Abide
The girl whose dadi passed on special recipes as a beautiful tradition
Food has always been an important part of our family interactions. Growing up, I learned on the job, making samosas with my Ammi, gujia (qalaqand and coconut stuffed half moons) with Papa. When I moved to Pakistan to my grandparents house, I learned to make more Ramadan specific delicacies from my Dadi… Dahi ke rasgullay, Khajooriyan, Khasta, jaal, choti. Because of my early birth, I got to absorb the most from my grandparents youth and parents’ vigour. After I got married and moved to a different country altogether, I carried that heritage with me: Making gulgulay and dahi barey for our vegetarian European friends, wowing them with Qawaami Siwaiyan on Eid. My Dadi passed away earlier this year. She left something for all her grandchildren except me, and I always used to wonder why. I understood why a week ago. Even without meaning to, I am the only grandchild to have inherited her passion for food and the accompanying heirloom recipes. My Dada used to say that the gulgulay I make used to remind him of his mother. Quite a few times I have been told that my “haath ka zaiqa” is like my Dadi’s. And I think to myself how many women of this day and age can claim to cook antiquities! Somewhere along the way our generation decided that these family traditions are irrelevant, but we don’t realize how grounding they are until we move to a new environment. The other day when I was rolling out gujia, and my little one waddled over with her Playdough rolling pin I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed. About a century ago a barely educated woman, who had been married and made a mother in her teens, sat down with her child and taught her how to make these foods so that she had some help in the kitchen, and could tend to her 3-5 other children and innumerable extended family. And here I am in 2017, surrounded by all the help and comforts of the time, doing this with my child simply because it’s a tradition (that I hope to pass on). I always say that the best we can do for the deceased is take their best qualities, and live up to their legacy. For sure, I will be thinking of my Dadi every time I make a Ramadan specialty this year. For those of you with living grandparents, please talk to them as much as you can. Absorb their oral histories, glance into what made them the people they are. And carry that with you. Learn from it and pass it on to your friends and family.
– Abeer Ammar Khan
The girl whose grandfather taught them to share happiness
Before Eid, my family has this tradition of distributing clothes so when we were young, my grandfather would call us all to the drawing room and make us pack the clothes and put crisp 100 rupee notes in them. This was about 10 years ago.
The girl whose dadi helped her get closer to God
Sadly, that was her last ramzan with me. Its been 7 years to her death and ramzan always seem incomplete without her presence. I try to follow her footsteps and recite the same surah after moon sighting every year.
– Aamna N. Bilgrami
Coupled with these beautiful memories is the really sweet ad by Rooh Afza, this Ramzan. It doesn’t just capture the beautiful bond between grandparents and grandchildren but also promotes the happiness that is in giving. It made me super nostalgic reminiscing about the times I have spent with my own grandparents. Here’s the full video for your reference:
This post is in written in collaboration with Rooh Afza