While in conversation with a friend who is all of seven years, I asked him if he is envious of Calvin, simply because Calvin has smart and funny Hobbes for a friend. The seven-year-old pondered for a moment and replied with a pitiful tut, "I have Ammuma instead, poor Calvin doesn’t." True that, I said to myself.

For those who are not in the know, Ammuma is grandmother in Malayalam but for my seven-year-old friend she is more – for sharing mindless giggles over a scoop of ice cream on lazy afternoons, late night rendezvous in the balcony seriously discussing what the stars and the moon were up to during the day; and on nights when the sleep fairy is running late, it is part of Ammuma’s job profile to fill in with a bedtime story that has not been told before. Ammuma never fails, I’m told with immense pride. It was clear, Hobbes leaves much to be desired.

While there are innumerable socio-psychological studies on the role grandparents play in the overall development of kids, there is no denying that when Ammumas or Appopans, meaning grandfather, go down the rabbit hole of a fantastical world along with their grandkids, creating their own snow globe filled with pure happiness, their journey together has an indelible impact on the child’s imagination and creative thought. Our feature on UAE residents’ Ramadan musings is testimony of that.

As we approach Ramadan in these times of social distancing, I wish the tradition of storytelling continues to bring families and loved ones together in a strong bond of eternal love... just like in a fairytale.

Ramadan Kareem...

Reach me at mshekar@gulfnews.com.

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