Childhood memories are so vivid and blissful! Especially there are some instances and incidents which remain with us and their memories are so bright and clear as if they happened just yesterday. Be it pleasant or otherwise, they will always remain with us, sometimes haunting and yet most of the times making us nostalgic.
Like the first time I got my slippers. They were bright cotton candy pink
plastic slippers. They were very rough and used to make some sound when I walked, and boy was I proud of them!
Unlike these days when we buy booties for the just born, I must have been at least 5 or 6 years old when I had my first slippers. Come to think of it, when we could have easily afforded, why did the parents then delayed in making such purchases? Was it really money that mattered or the materialistic matters were intentionally delayed??
As far as I can remember, we had no dearth of money in maintaining a decent life, eating variety of foods and celebrating all the festivals. My father was a civil servant and was in a relatively good post. It is difficult to comprehend, but there were times when I remember eating everything I wanted and buying ribbons and toys and peppermints and generally feeling well off, but still there were times when I used to wish we could be rich and had more money. Like this time when I used to visit my friends and neighbors Manjula and Umas' house. In the mind of a 5 year old, they were considered to be rich. Why? Because, unlike us they could eat one orange each! And the biggest royalty was they were eating Dates!
Yes, you read it right. While on Shivaratri day, we being Vaishnavites ate special food, they were Shivaites and fasted on that day. One Shivaratri, I saw them eating Dates and boy was I jealous! At that time Dates were beyond my reach and I would think, when I grow up and have lots of money, first thing I would buy would be loads and loads of Dates!
Even today you can win me over with a box of fresh soft Dates. Like this friend of my husband Prakash, Mr. Abdul Basheer other day gifted us a box full of fresh soft Dates straight from Mecca on Ramzan! While he was fasting, I was here feasting on Dates! The fresh Dates from Mecca were so soft and delicious, I was dragging myself forcibly away from the box every time I went to eat one. No one can eat just one!
And there is a great lesson we can learn from the Dates. When they are new, they are fresh and juicy and a great treat, but with the passage of time, unlike any other fruit in the world, they don't get spoiled or don't degenerate, and their quality remains the same. Just like humans, they may wreathe with age, they may mellow but they retain their quality and sweetness. There is no need of any preservatives, in fact they turn out to be wonderful dry fruits!
Regarding our parents, had they minded, they could have afforded to get us more. But by not over spending and indulging, they were being more pragmatic in teaching us the value of money and not indulge in consumerism.
Anyways, those old habits die hard. Even now when things are easily affordable, I think twice and ponder whether I really need things and take care that I do not splurge money and seen to it that my children also appreciate the value of hard earned money.
When I was studying in PU college, it was a fashion and a craze to bring vanity bag to the college. It would cost all of twenty five rupees, an astronomical price for a bag to bring books to college! We were living in Gulbarga and one of my friends' father had bought one for her from Bangalore. Then I would plan, OK when I grow up and earn, with my third salary, I would buy one such bag.
The first salary, ofcourse was reserved for Dates, the second was meant for buying books. Yes, that is right. That was another big dream. I badly wanted to finish my studies, start earning so that I could buy loads and loads of books and novels from the shop in front of my house.
All the three big dreams are more than fulfilled now but the fact remains that deep inside, the habits, the caution seeded by my father still holds its place in my mind. After my son started earning, one day while we were returning from some outing, he informed that it was Mothers' Day and offered to buy me some gifts and stopped the car in front of a clothes shop.
I went inside happily with his card, purchased to my heart's content and came out. As the situations would have it, owing to weight gain, I had stopped wearing Chudidars.But unfortunately my husband had earlier been hospitalised and underwent surgery. The situation had turned difficult and at short notices, I was forced to pack some clothes and rush to hospitals to be with him.
Staying at hospitals, packing and changing frequently was turning out to be quite taxing, and while I was purchasing clothes all these things were uppermost in my mind, So I had purchased three sets of cotton comfortable chudidars, all for about Rs.1500 and came out beaming.
Yesterday I was in for a big surprise – nay shock. My son had been to Pondicherry with his friends and on his return handed me a cover. It contained a HIDESIGN bag – a branded one – for me.A gift from anyone is always an indication that you are in their thoughts and their heart – but when your children give you gifts, it holds a special place of pride in your heart.
Then I opened the cover, was delighted to see the bag and then I looked at the price tag. I looked and looked and looked – it was from the factory outlet at 50% discount and the discounted price was 4000 Rupees! And my son nonchalantly explained that in open market it would cost around 8000 Rupees. 8000 Rupees for MY bag!?! I am still in a state of shock !!!