People often talk about the “good old days” even if those days were not so good. But we always remember the pleasant times in the past when we were young, especially those long evenings with our parents and grandparents.
For many of us, the most pleasant memories we have are the ones we made with family, with our parents, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts or other relatives. We remember our Bibi-jan (grandmother) or Baba-jan (grandfather) and the stories they told from their own lives.
Many of us recall the long winter nights when we sat around the sandeli and listened as Bibi-jan or Baba-jan told us stories. (The sandeli is a traditional Afghan wood or coal stove located in the middle of the room. A large blanked is spread over the stove and during the late evenings and nights members of the household huddle under the blanket.)
Life was sweet and innocent around the sandeli. Of course, there were troubles and problems in the “old days” as well, but we tend to forget them. The sandeli is not just a traditional way to keep the house warm, but it is part of the family furniture that draws the entire household together. Everyone sits around the sandeli, facing each other as they eat dried mulberries and raisins and drink tea for bedtime.
In this short collection of Baba-jan Bedtime stories, Jasmine and Sameer join their grandfather in the evening and listen to him to tell stories. The children make sure that they have their homework and chores done so that Grandpa can tell them another story.
Most of these stories have a special lesson for children, and of course, for adults as well. In some stories, we read of a “small voice” that speaks to children. This voice reminds the children what they should do and should not do. What is this voice? Where does it come from? Will they listen to this voice, or not?
These stories, though they come from other lands, have lessons for all of us. Respecting elders , obeying you parents, caring for others, treating animals kindly, learning to be cheerful instead of complaining… and many other lessons are universal principles for children everywhere.
Today, with endless videos, TV shows and internet, many have forgotten how Grandpa and Grandma used to tell stories to their grandchildren. We hope you will enjoy the Grandpa and Grandma stories. Maybe you can use these stories around your own sandeli, bukhari (furnace) or desterkhan (table), or wherever you may be.
This book is published by Rahmat Publications in bi-lingual versions:
– English / Dari
– English / Pashto