Ramzan with Grandparents

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

My grandparents taught me to take out small portion of every item made for iftar and make a plate or dish and give it to a person who is fasting but doesn’t have what we have on our table. They taught us to give Ramzan grocery and eid dresses to the widows, orphans and house help before Ramzan so that they too can share the joy of preparing for this holy month and eid. Now, we distribute every year Alhamdulilah.
-Nuzhat Amna

The girl whose nani was a chef to remember

I miss my nani every ramadan. She passed away when I was 11. Nothing compares to the ramzan dawats we had during her life. In fact, I do not have any vivid memory of childhood iftaris from anywhere but her place! She was a brilliant cook. Her speciality were meethi puris. She would roll out the dough and we kids took turns to use glasses as puri-cutters to get that perfect round shape. It might seem like very small thing but that joy of cutting puris meant so much to us.
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

My nana used to make perfectly shaped samosas.  And iftar at aba Jan’s place meant that all our plates would be loaded 10 mins before the azaan. First ramzan without him. Miss him to bits!
– Yusra Ansari 

The girl whose grandfather taught them patience

My grandfather did not fast because of his health but he used to sit in every aftaar and sehr with us on the table.  He used to tell us to to make dua before opening the fast and ask Allah to accept our roza of that day. Now it has become such a strong habit Alhamdolillah.
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

So our roza opens 12 mins after my grandparents roza, but whenever we would go to my grandparents house both my Nana Nani would eat a khujoor and then pray so we could eat with them despite us insisting that they go ahead and eat. It was a really small thing but meant a lot to us!
– Syeda Rabeea Zehra Abide

The girl whose dadi passed on special recipes as a beautiful tradition

Being the eldest child on both sides of the family is definitely special. Not only because you’re pampered, but also because you get quality time from your grandparents and parents. I don’t think I realized the extent of my privilege till this Ramadan.
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

My grandfather was in love with fresco ki jalebi. He had diabetes but he would always bring back fresco ki jalebi and dahi baray on his way back from work every ramzan.
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.
– Sarah Amin Ali

The girl whose dadi helped her get closer to God

I miss my dadi alot! We used to watch the whole royet-e-hilal committee speech together. Once done, and after confirmation of moon sighting, she used to recite “surah-fatah” thrice for a prosperous and blessed ramzan. She was the one who made me closer to deen, motivated me and always had appreciating words whenever I learnt surahs by heart.
On her last ramzan with us, I managed to fulfil our most awaited wish of me sitting for aitekaaf. When I completed my aitekaaf, and came out from the room we both had tears in our eyes and the way she hugged me and congratulated me was an out of this world feeling. Just cannot forget those expressions of achievement on her face. Her words were “Eid tou iss dafa bas Aamna ki hai.

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

You might also like More from author