“If nothing is going well, call your grandmother.” – Italian proverb Are you kidding me? We do have know-it-all Google to tell us anything and everything. But hey! Wait a second, can Google tell you the names of your grandparents? Or can it tell about your grandparents’ biography? Or anything about the tree whose fruit you are? “Baba Je ne kaha kay jab aap taleem ko janchtey hain, toh aap sah’baney ilm ko nahi laitey, sah’banay qal’m ko laitey hain. Aur hum sirf ehlay-qal’m ko he sah’banay ilm smajhtey hain”. (Zaviya)I am in that part of my life, where I don’t have any of my grandparents with me and of course it matters. Recently, I started reading Ashfaq Ahmed, one of the known writers of Urdu Literature whose ‘Zaviya’ is the one which has replaced all the books on my side table near my bed. Reading, ‘Zaviya’ is an experience one of its kind. It’s like having Ashfaq Saheb sitting right there in front of you, imparting his life’s knowledge and you’re looking back at him with your face resting on your hands without even a blink because you’re amazed with all the sensory description and tales.It never ceases to amaze me, the way some of us feel more secure seeing our children in the company of housemaids than in the company of their very own (maternal or paternal) grandparents.“Aapney yeh term suni ho gi kay wo baray sah’bey haal buzurg thay. Iss kay ma’eni yeh hain kay wo buzurg na maazi ki yaad main mubtila thay na mustaqbil sy khofzada thay, jo unko mil raha tha, uss per shukranay baja laa rahey thay”. (Zaviya) Zaviya (Part 1, 2 & 3) by Ashfaq Ahmed is a book based on his PTV show which records some profound observations on life and discusses in a simple way the dire complexities of our life. He picks the mundane issues and then tries to extract morals from them. The chapters are titled as – “Bachon ki nafsiyat: Mayoosi: Culture: Baba ki Tareef: Allah ka Nazam: Aik masoom baiti ki kahani: Insan ko sharminda na kiya jaye: We don’t live in present but in future and past.”“With the increasing workload and social trends, parents these days need to understand the seriousness of the right company that their children need in their absence. Someone other than their age fellows. For it never ceases to amaze me, the way some of us feel more secure seeing our children in the company of housemaids than in the company of their very own (maternal or paternal) grandparents. Our lifestyle has reduced interaction and bonding between grandparents and grandchildren in many families today. This gap cannot be overlooked for its sensitivity is multi-layered and needs to be taken care of right away. “Grandparents acknowledge several benefits when raising their grandchildren. These include a sense of purpose, a second chance in life, an opportunity to nurture family relationships, a chance to continue family histories, and receiving love and companionship (Langosch, 2012)”.Interestingly, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered of the ‘Grandparents Day’ which is celebrated in various countries, with official recognition in some, and occurring on various days of the year. Unlike other International Days, this day is not meant to be celebrated with just flowers, gifts, cards and social media posts but with some quality time spent in the company of grandparents. So please mark your date! And try to document your grandparents’ stories, photographs and letters in the form of recordings or even journals & make your very own version of Zaviya! Stay tuned till I share my version of Zaviya.Published in Daily Times, December 17th2018.