Karuna Khatwani (56) is a health ambassador working with a top fitness company in India. Before her retirement in 2013, she enjoyed a successful career as a senior sales director with a leading cosmetics company. After her retirement, she has been a part of a lot of charitable causes in the country and is currently the Director of an NGO which is still in its nascent stages. She lives with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and a 4-year-old granddaughter. Out of the many personal and professional roles Karuna has played in her life, her role as a grandmother is her favorite.

Through the ‘Letters to Grandchildren’ series, HappyAging intends to bring out the beautiful bond that grandparents and grandchildren share. The purpose of this series is to allow grandparents to share their legacy with their grandkids, and let them take a pause and look at life from a different perspective. These letters allow the grandparents to share their life lessons and experiences with them.

Here is Karuna’s letter to her 4-year-old grand-daughter:

 “Grandchildren make the world a little softer, a little warmer and a little kinder.”

Dear Gudmishri,

I call you that because you are the sweetest thing in my life. You are my first grandchild and I cannot tell you the amount of joy you bring in our lives by just being you.

You are only four years old, but you are already the center of my universe. You copy everything I do and you crack me up with your actions. You know how funny I find it when you flex your muscles after you eat a broccoli, to show me how strong you are getting by eating vegetables, just like your Dadi!

My dearest, there are a few things I would like to share with you through this letter, and I hope that you know that even though you are becoming your own person, maybe some of my experiences will help you along the long way that you have to tread on.

My precious, I would not want you to make the mistakes I did. I wish someone had told me to make myself a priority when I was young. We play multitude of roles in our lives and manage multiple relationships, and in this process we forget the most important relationship of our lives – the one with ourselves.

Don’t put anyone else ahead of you. Make your happiness, your goals and yourself a priority. Like they say – “you cannot pour from an empty cup” –  It’s only when you have a fulfilling relationship with yourself will you have a complete relationship with others. But do this with balance. I am not asking you to be selfish, but self-aware.

Everything we do has a ripple effect. Be kind, be generous, be gentle yet fierce. You are growing up to be such a strong woman and I can’t wait to see your journey unfold. You already make us proud with everything you do and watching you grow up is one of the most amazing adventures of my life.

You know one day when you grow up, you will also get busy working up the very crusade of life. But remember there is nothing more precious than your health. Please stay as physically active and as mentally healthy as possible. Your mother is doing a wonderful job by ensuring you have limited screen time and you play outdoors as much as possible. I hope you continue doing that as you grow up. I would also insist that you have a healthy relationship with food.

I have always laid emphasis on eating healthy, that’s how I grew up and that’s how I have raised your father and uncle. But I wish to tell you that despite the fact that I was also physically active as a child, I never backed up my eating habits with physical fitness and as a result, I suffered through a myriad of health issues later in life. And my mom’s recent health scare where she battled obesity and immobility jolted me out of my reverie. But you are going to be so proud of your dadi to know that since then, I have lost a lot of weight and corrected many health issues. I eat right, work out and put my health first and I hope you do the same for yourself.

My sweetest granddaughter, I hope whatever you choose to become tomorrow, you put your heart in it. We do not want you to get lost in the rat race but find your own place in the world. All I can ask of you is that you choose to be the best version of yourself. Be yourself, be happy, and live life to the fullest. Every stage of your life will demand a different version of you, and I hope every time you surprise life with your zeal and ability to adapt.

Hope you learn from all our experiences and build a beautiful life for yourself.

With Love,
Your Dadi.


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