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Is there a proverb your grandparents use often?

Grandparents play an important part in a child’s worldview. But our favourite childhood allies grow old and sick and may at times get confused and stop to recognize us! Xerxes is facing the same challenge where his main ally Grandpa is not himself and he is having to solve the complex problems in his life, right from bullies at school to the growing tension at home, all alone.


‘So, did it work?’

‘It worked, Grandpa, I not only found my essay; I found my badge, too!’

He tried to go in to hug him but Grandpa put out his walking stick and barred his way.

‘You have to pay me! Now give me something sweet.’

Xerxes stopped short.

‘It’s the rule. If Ratan Bhagat worked, you’ve to give me something sweet.’

‘I don’t have anything. Later.’

‘No. Now. That’s what it means, Ratan Bhagat ni khan. Khan as in something sweet.’

Xerxes dashed out again and tried to get in through the side door into the kitchen. But Grandpa raced there and banged it shut.

‘Grandpa, if you let me into the kitchen, I can give you a sweet.’

When Sonji came in she found Grandpa holding the door fast against Xerxes.

‘Papa, what’re you doing? Let him inside.’

Grandpa suddenly started yelling.

‘Help! Help me! There’s a thief!’

Sonji calmed him down and took him to his room. Then she confronted Xerxes.

‘Don’t ever do that again, Xeroo! You know that Mamavaji’s old and gets confused. Why in the world were you coming in through the kitchen?’

Xerxes was about to blurt out all that had happened, but then held his tongue as he realized he’d have to admit he’d been very forgetful.


Bringing Back Grandpa is a touching and funny story of the confusions of growing up and tackling challenges and of how children are affected when there is illness and tension at home.


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