No, this is not a call for help, and let me confess – we haven’t really gone bankrupt or declared ourselves poor yet.
For those of you who don’t know, I have a 5-year old little girl at home, who is extremely inquisitive (as most kids this age are), and even though she has questions like every other kid, some of her questions really send me off course and I am left grappling as to how to answer them best. Plus the fact that she is extremely sensitive, perceptive and broods over things a lot doesn’t help – whatever I tell her will again be turned over 10 times in her head and come back to me!
Some time ago, she asked me about the meaning of poor, of what being poor really means. As we visit slums and orphanages a lot and share things, taking our daughter along, she is aware that there is some kind of a social gap, where certain people have more than the others. This isn’t something she looks down on, but instead, she understands this and believes that in that case, it is the responsibility of those who have more to share with those who have less. We as parents are glad that she has grasped this concept well.
Now to come back to the poor point, what I told her in the basic terms is that poor is time when someone may have a little less than others, or may not have enough, maybe food, or the money to buy something essential. I told her a bit more, but this was the summary.
This year we shifted to a new home. Earlier, the home where we lived had her room done up in red and pinks, with textured walls and the stuff that goes in a little girl’s room. When we shifted, we didn’t really paint the house again, as buying a house meant a big investment and we didn’t want to start painting the walls right away, what with the monsoon approaching as well. So it was that her room had the regular paint on the walls.
A few days back, we headed to the mall and my daughter came up to me with a small kiddie pouch. She had a few coins in it, and I could hear the tinkling inside. She showed me the bag and gave me a hug. “Mamma, don’t worry, I know we are poor, but I will help you. See, I have this money with me, I have 5 tupees, 10 tupees and more, and you can take all of it when you need to buy something at the mall.” For a moment I was bowled. But when I realised her gesture, I couldn’t help but leave everything else and envelop her in a big crushing hug. I immediately took out a 50-note from my purse and gave it to her to add to her kitty. She was so thrilled! ‘Look papa, I have 50 now!’
I asked her why she thought that we were poor.
“See, now we don’t have enough money to paint my room, but that’s okay mamma, we will paint it when we have the money, when we are not poor. And I will also take care of you and papa.”
I had nothing to say, I could only hold her in my arms and kiss the little angel of mine. I realised that for her, having a pink room was quite important, but since we d didn’t get that done, she figured we didn’t have the money for it and hence, we were poor.
I don’t want her to look after me or anything, I just want her to be this innocent and just be the way she is for as long as possible…
Debolina Raja Gupta loves being a mommy and best friend to her 5-year old princess. A working mom, voracious reader, social activist, photographer, poet, travel freak, beauty writer and an everything-of-sorts. Best fun is story time and our fashionista time together. My blogs: The Book Worm, A Few Thoughts Here And There, My Little One And Me, Beauty Makeup And More.