Happiness Vs Wealth
by Lakshmi Menon
Vijay was the eldest child of his parents. Ram and Yashoda were very poor parents and they had two more children, one boy and a girl - Vishal and Kavya.
Though they were poor financially they were enriched with love and affection among themselves. Their father was a carpenter, and worked with a construction company, which was about 5 miles away. He worked tirelessly for his family, with absolutely no bad habits. Apart from taking care of his own family, their father had to send money to his aged parents and sisters who were staying in the village. Their mother worked as a housemaid, in the nearby apartments.
The children helped their parents in whatever way they could. Every day evening after their school, Vijay and his sister, went to the neighborhood to draw water from the corporation pipe. Vijay also helped his father on Sundays and holidays when he had no school. He was in 10th standard, and studied well in the Government school. He was the hope of his family. They were eagerly waiting for him to finish his school, and enroll him for a course in technical trade. Vishal, the youngest one in the family, was too small and was the pet of the family.
Kavya, after her school, went with her mother in the evenings to assist her in the work load. By then her mother would have already completed 3 houses since morning and this would be her last work of the day.
As usual, one day Kavya accompanied her mother in the evening to the house where she worked as a maid.
“Don’t you have anything to study at home Kavya, instead of wasting your time like this?” asked Jayanthi, the lady of the house. Not that Kavya didn’t wash the vessels properly, in fact she did it just like her mother, who was well known for her clean work. Jayanthi felt pity for the little girl who was hardly 10 years old, to come and work with her mother after attending school.
Kavya just smiled and said, “No problem for me, Amma. I’ll go back and do my home work after this. If I help my mother she can finish her work and return home soon.”
Jayanthi gave her an orange and asked her to eat. Instead of eating, Kavya kept it aside, to take along with her while going back.
“Why don’t you eat it now? You must be very hungry after school,” said Jayanthi.
“No, Amma. I’ll take it home and share with all others.”
“It’s just one
orange. What is there to share with all? You can eat it now.” Jayanthi insisted.
“Sorry, Amma. I won’t eat anything alone. Even if it is a small piece we will always share and enjoy.”
Jayanthi was stunned. She had no more words to argue with the little girl. Being a post Graduate, wife of a bank officer, and a mother of a stubborn son, she thought of her own family values for a moment. If their son Amit, studying in tenth standard, didn’t get whatever he demanded immediately, he will just make a big scene at home, by throwing things out and screaming at his mother, and always accusing his father for not giving him enough pocket money for his extravagant lifestyle. Sometimes he even went on fast and threatened to leave the house, if his demands were not met. He was sent to one of the best schools paying high fees, but never studied on his own, and always depended upon tuition. He still had failed in two classes, and lost two valuable years. This year also they have no much hope that he will get through. “Where did I go wrong in bringing up our only son?” she wondered.
An idea struck to her. “Why don’t I ask my maid to send her son Vijay here to spend time with Amit? His friendship may help him to improve,” she thought.
The next day after her work, Yashoda was ready to go home. Suddenly Jayanthi called her, and said, “Can you send Vijay here in the evenings to spend time with our son? I will pay you whatever you want. After his 10th standard, I will even send him to the College with Amit.”
Yashoda didn’t say anything immediately. After a moment, she said, “I will ask my husband and Vijay, and then will let you know tomorrow.”
Yashoda was not keen to send her son, even if he would be paid for his time, as she was afraid, that would create problems, and may end up in losing her job. However, she discussed the offer with her husband and children and they too were of the same opinion.
"Our family happiness is more important to us than the money," said Vijay. "I will grow vegetables in our garden, Amma, which will bring us more joy and health, along with some money."
"I appreciate you my son, for your decision" said his father proudly, and hugged him.
Looking at the father-son relationship, Yashoda smiled gently, and thanked God for giving her such a happy family. *****