Namrata Parikh (née Jaykrishna) writes about her exemplary grandparents, Mrugesh and Paru Jaykrishna, who embody the spirit of ‘Happy Spouse, Happy House’
I am very fortunate to be born in a joint family and growing up with my grandparents and great-grandparents. I have been particularly lucky to have Paru and Mrugesh Jaykrishna as grandparents – a couple whose relationship exemplifies the phrase ‘Happy Spouse, Happy House’.
Both on and off paper, my grandparents are the perfect couple; they have a multitude of shared passions, ranging from brag-worthy oratory skills to a knack for organisation. They share a love of travel which has been demonstrated by hundreds of trips together to the Far East, especially Korea and Japan. Over the past few decades, their trips have spanned across six continents and numerous countries. My grandfather thoroughly enjoys planning these trips, sometimes with family, sometimes with friends and sometimes just the two of them. His reputation as an amazing organiser and trip planner precedes him, for friends and family routinely ask for his guidance when it comes to travel and food.
Apart from working together in the office, the dynamic duo spent their early married years working in the Junior Chamber and Gujarat Cricket Association together. Now in their late seventies, you will still find them together most hours of the day. It is very rare for our family to see our grandparents apart. They ride to the office and back together trying to spend every minute with each other, discussing business plans, family and the latest prank to play on me. Even in parties and weddings, they are seen together sticking by each other’s sides.
Dadu (as I call my grandfather) is Ma’s biggest and happiest supporter. He plays the perfect balancing act by always being involved in the kitchen and whipping up new recipes for the family. Like Ma (as I call my grandmother), he always works hard not only in the office but also in the house. Ma was very involved in our business and later in the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce (as the first woman president) and I have witnessed Dadu being her biggest fan all the way through. At the same time, Ma is also dependent on Dadu and always asks for his opinions and listens to him. Both of them are so supportive of and in sync with each other that I have rarely, if ever, seen them fight. Fun bickering though, is a whole different ballgame!
Even though Dadu and Ma had extremely hectic social and work schedules when I was growing up, they always held a special place in their heart for family, especially us grandkids. I have distinct memories from my childhood, where the grandkids (all four of us!) would sleepover at my grandparents’ house almost every weekend. They used to tell us stories, play games with us. They had made an extra-large bed in their living room for all of us kids to watch television and sleep together.
Speaking of Dadu, his hospitality and charm is something that leading hotels can aspire for. A meal with him is apt for a young playful child, as well as the most insightful philosophers of the world – he can cater to any audience while contributing useful ideas and developing meaningful conversations. He is also a passionate shopper and when he goes on his trips, he always brings us back titbits – from jewellery to clothes to shoes to bags!
However, every great story has a grim lining. In 2012, we had a very unfortunate incident where Ma had an ischemic stroke, which shook all of us, but especially Dadu. Before her stroke, she used to supervise all the administrative work in the office. However, things changed and slowed down after the stroke and without a flinch, Dadu took over and supported her with work and took an active interest in her work departments.
In 2019, we had yet another health scare and Ma had to undergo a preventative heart valve surgery in Cleveland. Before going in for the procedure, my grandfather, who was full of emotion and concern, went over the information repeatedly with the doctors. He is always emotionally and practically involved in her health and well-being. Even now, he monitors her health and medication on a daily basis. He even orders cute medicine kits and boxes for her every so often.
Apart from the cute emotional aspects of Dadu’s care and support for Ma, they are a formidable team, making their interdependence a boon. In their marriage of over 50 years, they have made every important decision together – be it business, finance, family or home related. They lean on each other emotionally and practically. Together, they make their house a home and are lovely hosts. They love to welcome their family and friends into their home for lunches, dinners and stays. Dadu still insists that our whole joint family has lunch together on Sundays whenever possible!
I am so thankful to Dadu and Ma not only for how amazing they are but for giving me my amazing dad and raising him to be thoughtful, family oriented, intelligent and very loving. Being recently married, I crave to have a marriage and mutual understanding like theirs.