Among the vociferous and tumultuous changes that are happening in Maldives on the physical, political and economic fronts of Maldives, very subtle social changes are also in the offing here perhaps quite unawares to us. That is about the changing role of grandparents in Maldivian society. Are they still the moulders of our society or just sentries guarding vacant households we have left behind in our home islands in our rush to inhabit this congested square mile of our Capital Male?
The past generation, I would assume, will perhaps recall quite vividly, the engaging tales our grandparents related to us. We would be snug in their laps listening to the tales of days gone by, intrigued by the wonder of the mysteries of the life that was unfolding in those formative years. Their stories touched on the heroics at sea and land during the harshness of the heat, rain or wind, exposed us to the wonder and miracle of how a little sluggish and scary worm transformed into a beautiful butterfly, the excited pursuit together of the meandering trail of a hermit crab on the cool coral sand of the morning, the sprouting of tender coconut fronds emerging through the eye of a buried coconut and the succulent cotyledon that filled its shell, or the strange yet sweet and watery taste of it melting in our mouth. Or the fairy tales that rang of life's lessons or the mesmerizing tales from the Arabian Nights that transported us into the delights and dramas of heroes and monsters, of dreams and visions of what could be awaiting us in life -- those that signaled the potential for what we could be if we set our minds to be what we want to be. Alas for me, those grandparents are long gone now, but their memories linger on just as it was yesterday. For many of us, the past spent this way has made our lives ever richer from those life lessons we imbibed. It has made our futures so much more meaningful than it would have been otherwise, to have us well grounded in the reality of who we are, what we stand for, and the reason why we are here on this mother Earth. These magical personalities left us with a piece of themselves that enabled us to understand our connections with our fellow citizens -- connections that epitomize our humanness. That life is to be lived more for others than for ourselves; that we must also leave something wondrous for the generations to come.
Where are those grandparents for our kids of today? Have they been replaced by loveless handhelds and senseless Ayas from foreign lands? Where is the quality time given to these budding minds if not by grandparents, by parents who but spend their time doing double duty to earn the living which they spend on the glittering luxuries of life unawares that they are forfeiting the biggest luxury of their lives - their children who will soon grow up and move away to re-enact that modern cycle of life yet again on their own kids. Can we ever be the grandparents of yore again! Alas, our children lament; where have those grandparents gone!!!
Sadly, the increasing trend in Maldives is our separation from our grandparents who were the anchor to our realty (and to our dreams too). Positively, this seemingly hopeless yearning can be realized yet gain if we only take time from our ever engaging mental and telephone chatter and reflect and meditate on life and its consequences. It is for us to leave a legacy of worth to our children -- a legacy not of material, but of morals.