Sunday, 1 March 2015


Childhood is a period when you can live with no care in your life. The only worry will be school exams, the number of holidays and your favourite cartoon show's time coinciding with your father's news time. Adulthood is the opposite of it. When the two of these different periods of life meet at a point, it creates your teenage period.

I can still remember walking home from the bus stop after school. Our home was not that far, but not near either. I used to walk along with my sister. We went to the same school and we both enjoyed our evening walks. The climate will be perfect for a stroll and we used to stop walking for a while to admire the wayside flowers. They were just beautiful. The yellow palette of their petals shone well with the help of sunlight and they always made a pretty sight.

One more thing that made my walk even more amusing was the roadside shops. Among those shops, only one had my eye. It had all the new sweets and chips that they used to advertise in between the shows. My parents always gave some pocket money to both of us. The words, ‘Spend them wisely’ used to accompany the money.

And my way of spending it wise was buying new chocolates and eating them.
That was my way of spending them and the sail was smooth.

My sister was the exact opposite of me. Everything she did was not included under my school of thoughts. And ‘not spending’ the pocket money we deserved, was definitely not there.
She was just a year older than me. And as far as I could remember, I had never seen her spend a penny for pleasure. I decided to ask her the next day.

On the next day, as we neared our home, I threw the crumpled chocolate wrapper on the road and turned towards her.

“Isha, why do you never buy anything with your money? Aren’t you being a little stingy?”
I guess that question must have shocked her, because she didn’t reply immediately.
She then took my hand and continued walking. We stopped at our favourite place.

More flowers had been blooming and she bent down and plucked a flower.
“Can you see how beautiful this is? Even the flowers at our garden are not as beautiful as this one, isn’t it?

I did not know what to reply. Whenever my sister wanted to explain something to me, she used to get this strange aura around her, as if she was haunted by a soul. That used to frighten me and as a result I kept looking at her, without opening my mouth.

As I had expected, she did not wait long for my reply. She continued.

“They are more beautiful, because they are self-reliant. No one waters them. No one cares for them. But still, they took care of themselves and now, they shine the brightest!”

I did not understand what she had wanted me to understand. It was not hard to decipher, but I guess I was just reluctant to look beyond.

She must have understood my mind, because she just smiled at me and said, “You will understand it someday!”

My mind was never the same again, but that didn’t stop me from spending.

The actual lesson was yet to happen and it did not need deep thinking to fathom it.

It was years later that the following incident occurred.
My sister was in the final year at school and I was a year behind her. It was the start of the final term.
My sister and I returned home one day to find our parents discussing in hushed whispers.
I went to my Dad and told him that  the school had announced the fees for the final term. On hearing that, his face broke into a sweat. He looked at my sister and asked about her fees amount. The fees had been a little more than the usual. I didn’t worry about it as I knew that our father will pay it the first thing, the next day morning.

But he did not. Not the next day, and not the day after, and not the next week either. On seeing our names in the notice board,I went to my sister and told her that the fees was yet to be paid. That surprised her too, as it had never happened before.

My sister approached my dad and asked him about the fees in a light voice. He had not forgotten about the fees, as I had thought.

He told my sister that the finances were a little low, and he will pay our fees soon. It was painful to hear. Something must have happened, and our parents had preferred not to disclose it to us.

What I heard my sister say next shook me to the core.

She said that she had the money.
 Did she rob a bank or what?
My Dad must have been surprised too, for he asked her, “How?”

I went and joined them too. I wanted to hear about how she had accumulated it.
She told us about how she had saved all the money she had got from our parents and grandparents and she had saved it all in a bank account, which was opened by her with the help of her teachers, as a part of a school program.

We only had tears as answers for her confession and I felt embarrassed for the first time in my life.
Why didn’t I ever think about it? Why was I always spending and never saved a penny?

That day along with the proud feelings for Isha, another feeling surfaced along my mind. 

I have to fend for myself. I have to take care of myself.

That made me more careful in choosing my decisions and I slowly learned to be independent. And in that summer holidays, Isha and I joined some part time jobs and saved some money. And I too had started saving money. 

One day, on my way home, my eyes fell on the wayside flowers. They appeared to be more beautiful than ever. The meaning behind what Isha had said that day dawned upon me and those wayside flowers reflected my smile.

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This post has been written for Apno Ko Apne Dum Pe Jeena Sikhao Happy Hour contest for Indiblogger in association with HDFC Life.

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