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My Story In Womans Era - Let Him Learn The Hard Way!

Discussion in 'Varalotti Rengasamy's Short & Serial Stories' started by varalotti, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Let Him Learn The Hard Way.

    A Short Story By Varalotti Rengasamy

    Rahul was with me in the kitchen helping me out with the dishes. From his facial expression and his unmistakable body language I knew he wanted to ask something. Rahul is doing his first year HSC in a reputed school. I have always been afraid of spoiling him with my affection as he is my only child.

    We are well placed in life. Both of us – my husband I – are HR executives. While he heads the HR Department of a large company having more than a thousand people on its rolls, I am the Head – HR of one of the call centres. We have just about 100 people; but in terms of the complexities I am sure my job is ten times tougher than that of my husband.

    As I was about to switch off the kitchen light, Rahul came near me with pleading eyes.

    “Ma, our school is organising an excursion to <st1:City><st1:place>Darjeeling</st1:place></st1:City> this time. See Ma, next year I won’t be able to go because I would have to prepare for the Boards. So why don’t you let me go this year, Ma?

    “They are charging only Rs.2000 per student which covers all expenses – train tickets, food and stay. Ma, please, please let me go. You have more than a month’s time to pay the money. And we are going only in our pooja holidays.”

    I did not know what to say. My motherly instinct was to say an immediate yes to see a smile on my son’s face. But I should not spoil this nice kid. So I adopted the usual dilatory tactics.

    “Rahul, I need to talk to Dad. Can I tell you tomorrow morning?”

    “Thanks, Ma.”

    My husband came home only after 9 on that day. When we were in the bed I broached the topic to him. He heard me out patiently and said at last:

    “Shanthi, I don’t have any objection. It’s the time for him to go around and see places. Nothing like going in the company of his friends at school. But let’s not spoil him.

    “Money is no issue. But he should not take this for granted. So what I suggest is that say yes but make him earn the money. Devise some method by which he can make the money himself by a little sacrifice. That way he will not be spoilt, and will enjoy the trip better.”

    That was one thing I like very much about my husband. Even the smallest of problems would receive his best attention and his solution would usually be the wisest one – mostly unconventional. I thought of a plan before hitting the sack.

    “Rahul, Dad and I thought about your <st1:City><st1:place>Darjeeling</st1:place></st1:City> trip. Yes, in principle it’s okay for us. But I can’t just hand over the cash of Rs.2000 to you. You have to earn it. You said that you have more than a month to pay the money.

    “So this is what I am going to do. Your packet money of Rs.500 will be doubled this month. And your daily lunch allowance of Rs.20 per day will be increased to Rs.70 for a month from now. And it’s up to you to save the money for the excursion. It’s a deal.”

    “Thanks a lot, Ma. It’s a deal. I shall surely save the money well before the due date.”

    “And Rahul, I would like to know the progress you make every day. So let me know how much you have saved on a day-to-day basis. You shall write that on this board. Okay?”

    “Okay, Ma. Thanks once again.”

    It was nice to see the bright smile in Rahul’s face. Even as I laid down the strict conditions I wanted to just hand over the money in one stroke and say “Go ahead and enjoy.” But I told myself that I was doing this only for his good.

    I started keeping track of the savings he made every day. When I gave his increased packet money two days later he set aside the entire amount for the excursion. He was having lunch with just Rs.10 or Rs.15 every day and was saving about 60 Rupees a day. I asked him what was he eating for lunch.

    He said matter of factly:

    “Earlier I used to take fried rice and paneer masala in our school canteen which used to cost Rs. 20. But now I take just curd rice and pickles.”

    “But Rahul… you need not have to starve …”

    “No, Ma. A lot of my friends just bring curd rice from their homes. And many take curd rice in the canteen. It’s also good and very filling. I don’t feel hungry at all.”

    I had half a mind to break this damn thing and tell him to go ahead and enjoy his fried rice. But then I remembered that nothing is worse than calling off a test midway. Let him learn the hard way, I told myself.
     
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Let Hi!m Learn The Hard Way!

    Though it appeared that he was going to earn the excursion money well before the due date, it did not happen that way. For example he did not get his lunch allowance on holidays. And when there were four holidays in a row, he was annoyed. And so was I.

    I was closely monitoring the board every day. I was ready to chip in the shortfall on the day before the last day. But Rahul had made it on that day. When I saw the figure 2000 appearing on the board, I congratulated Rahul.

    We even took him out to dinner to celebrate the victory. My husband used to say when you achieve something hard, you must immediately celebrate it. Otherwise the victory would lose its charm.

    And on the final day before I left for office, I called Rahul in the morning.

    “Rahul, you have done it. Now you know the worth of the money and the value of this trip. Now you will enjoy it even more. Take the money carefully to the school and pay it first thing in the morning. Best of luck.”

    Rahul was all smiles and I felt thrilled to see my son so happy.

    When I returned from office in the evening I asked Rahul to go with me for shopping:

    “Rahul, get yourself ready fast. We are going out to buy some warm clothing for you. I shall also buy some T shirts for you to wear during the trip.”

    Rahul did not speak. He hung down his head and did not tell anything.

    “What happened Rahul? Have you paid the money to the school? Any problem, dear?”

    “I am not going, Ma. I did not pay the money.”

    “Rahul, what the hell are you talking?”

    “After you left for office in the morning Malathi Aunty – the one who lives in the second floor - came. She was almost sobbing and was frantically looking for you or Dad. I asked her what was the problem.

    “She said her son Ashwin had fallen down in the stairs and was bleeding. They were taking him to the nearby hospital. But she said she did not have any money with her. It’s almost month-end and she would get her salary only by the fifth of next month.”

    I remembered that divorced woman holding on to a low-paying job struggling hard to raise her two children.

    “So she wanted to borrow some money from you. Seeing that you and Dad had already left for office she was frustrated. Then I gave out my excursion money and helped her take Ashwin to the hospital. Ashwin is all right, Ma. I am very happy about it.”

    I was so stunned that I did not take any effort to control the tears welling in my eyes.

    I hugged Rahul and shamelessly wept over his shoulders.

    After a while I wiped my eyes and cleared my throat.

    “It’s all right, Rahul. I’ll get the money from Malathi later. Now you take this 2000 Rupees from me and pay your school. You are going. That’s for sure.”

    “No, Ma. I can’t. Today is the last day. I am the class leader and I don’t want the rules to be bent for my sake. It’s all right, Ma.”

    I have to learn a lot more from this kid. But right now my motherly instinct took over.

    “Rahul, the last day is today. And the day is not yet over. Now tell me which teacher is in charge of collecting this money. I will personally go and meet that teacher in his house and pay the money. I will also explain what has happened. You are going, my dearest. You are going.”

    I could not speak any further.
     
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  3. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    we are getting too emotional this week

    Hello Sridhar,

    Another touching story. Its really hard for mothers to be strict most of the time but it does bring in a little discipline in a child.
    I couldn't help but stare at Deepu for a while after reading. whenever I give her excuses so she would understand values, she always comes up with some different solution or some story & make me emotional.
    I appreciate Rahul's decision to help his neighbour with his one month long savings than go to the excursion. I also believe in celebrating ones success however small it may look- for, success never comes easy and when recognised & appreciated it gives so much joy & encourages us to work hard & boosts one's confidence. I could relate to all of Rahul's Mother's emotions very well. I think each & everyone of us would''ve experienced such situations & you have exposed it beautifully.
     
  4. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,

    Another beautiful story. In todays materialistic world, it is so easy to spoil kids. The concept of "keeping up with the joneses" applies to the kids so much. They want everything that their friends have etc... It is hard to inculcate in them the value of hard earned money. Like Meena, i too have gone through the same trials when Anirudh wants something and the answer is no!!. Just this past summer, we have started something similar to your story, paying him for doing chores around the house. And also told him that what ever he wants like a Video game etc.. he will have to earn it himslef. So lets see if it works out. Our reasoning, by the time he gets the money for what he wants, he would have lost interest!!!:)

    Vandhana
     
  5. srinivasan_vanaja

    srinivasan_vanaja Gold IL'ite

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    You have taught a discipline...

    Dear Sir,

    Your story is a need of this generation. You have taught a discipline which is missing in most of the children. The very first discipline taught by Rahul's parents led him to learn more values. Good story!

    regards,

    Vanaja
     
  6. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Meena and Vandhana!

    Dear Meena and Vandhana,
    I am very happy to see you two reflecting the good sentiments contained in the story. I am sure your children will grow up to be nice human beings as they have their mothers' love as well as a sense of discipline.

    I recently read a psychology report which says that only those children who are brought up with some kind of strictness, to whom something or other is denied or delayed, love their parents when they are old. When everything is available for the asking then the child is not only spoilt but also it does not respect its parents.

    I was brought up in a hard way. When I wanted to buy a watch (in 1973, when it was a status symbol) for less than Rs.100/- my dad made me to save the money Rupee by Rupee. I had that watch for a long time.

    And when I asked money for an excursion my dad told on my face that he could not afford it. I did not believe him. And you know what he did! He made me run the family with his money. He gave his salary cover to me. And my mom presented the monthly budget. Of course I was not allowed to carry the money out of home. At the end of the month I did not have enough money for the excursion. I understood and accepted the reality.

    thanks meena and vandhana for your words of praise.
    sridhar
     
  7. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Vanaja Madam

    Dear Madam,
    thanks a lot. I am very happy you liked this story. I think my tough tasks are all over now.
    Thank you for your words of praise.
    sridhar
     
  8. purnima_2k

    purnima_2k Senior IL'ite

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    Touching!

    Loved your writeup. Sometimes kids are so much more smarter, sensitive and more humanly than adults!

    Lovely Snippet Varalotti!

    Purni
     
  9. anjana

    anjana Bronze IL'ite

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    Interesting Sridhar

    Dear Sridhar,
    This week was an interesting one. Yes Kids do have to learn the hard way. But with us the problem lies here, my son is just the opposite and I really have to plead with him to buy things like video games etc. He is 'over respobsible' which really bothers me. I always think that something may be wrong with my parenting skills. I would like to experience the same emoitons like other parents were kids really want everything. In his case I really have to take an extra step to make sure he asks for things.
    Yes I also believe in celebrating small victories since it does help in boosting a childs self confidience. You have written it well.
    L,
     
  10. vidhukumar

    vidhukumar Senior IL'ite

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    Dear mr Varalotti,
    yet another beautiful story!!!be it adult or child,the value of an object is understood only when we earn it the hard way...
     

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