My Two Rupees

As little children, our annual holiday was a visit to Nani’s house with our mother. It was a time to meet up with our maternal cousins and basically have fun! Nani was a composed and elegant figure, duty conscious to the core; a woman of few words. Little Madhu went to the trinket shop with cousins and was fascinated by the multitude of colourful glass bangles displayed there. But to her utter disappointment, she could not find a pair to fit her slim wrists. The bangle vendor promised her that he would get her the right size in two days. Madhu was excited. She kept dreaming of the kaleidoscope of colours at the bangle shop. The next day, mama announced that they were to go back to Chandigarh and that their tickets had been booked by tonight’s train. Madhu was in tears, “I have to go to the bangle shop” she cried. “The vendor told me that he would get me bangles of my size. I don’t want to go back yet.” Mama reasoned and explained but the little girl was not to be pacified. Finally mama’s brother suggested that Madhu stay back for another two days. He was to go to Chandigarh for work and would take her along. So that was it and Madhu stayed back, while mama and the other kids left for Chandigarh.

Mama gave Madhu two rupees to buy the bangles. Madhu gave the money to Nani for safe keeping. That night Madhu had a fitful sleep dreaming of red bangles and blue bangles and multi-hued bangles.

All of next day, Madhu pestered Nani to give the money to her so that she could go to buy the bangles, with her older cousins. But Nani kept putting her off saying, “I’ll take you. I’m busy right now, but I promise to take you later.” The day was getting over but not Nani’s household chores. Madhu was almost in tears; she was sure she wouldn’t be able to get the bangles after all. Almost at eight in the evening, Nani said, “Come Madhu, we can go now.” Madhu leapt up and they were out into the busy street. Nani clutched her little money purse in one hand and Madhu’s little hand tightly in the other as they scurried past the crowded little shops in the market place. Within minutes they were at the bangle shop. Madhu was beside herself with joy when the vendor slipped the beautiful red bangles onto her little wrists. They cost eighty paise only. Madhu eyed the money in Nani’s little purse and said, “Nani, I want to buy bindis and I want that set of ear-rings too.” Nani settled the bill for one rupee and ninety paise and the duo hurried back home.

On the way back, Nani treated her little granddaughter to some delicious kulfi from a vendor on the roadside. The little girl returned with stars in her eyes and a spring in her step. She felt like a princess!

The next day it was time to go back home and Madhu was itching to show off her bangles to her friends. She hugged Nani and said, good bye saying solemnly, “Nani, mama gave me two rupees and I spent only
Re1.90 so you have to return 10 paise to me.”

Nani smiled and pressed the two rupee note into her palm saying, “This is what your mama gave you. Keep it. Here is another ten rupees that I am giving you and the trinkets are a gift from me.”

Madhu said, “No, no Nani, I want to buy the bangles from my own money. You keep your money, I don’t want it.” Nani said, “No, when you are with me, you don’t have to pay for anything. Now, no more money talks my little mathematician! Off you go, Uncle is waiting for you!”

Strange are the ways of Grandmothers. They may have more or they may have less, but they find ways to shower love on their grandchildren. Lucky are those who get love from their grandparents, for everyone is not so fortunate. Strangely most grandchildren do not value them as much, wonder why?