First Salary


We both sat at the table in the hall, with a pen, paper and my phone functioning as the calculator. I sat opposite mother and it felt like we both were doing a business deal. "So, how much do we need for monthly rations for the house?" Mum gave the figure. I calculated the cost for rations and travel for the month to work. I took the papers which was next to mom and calculated the cost for this month’s bill. I summed up the total cost and realised that there was very little left to spend for myself this month. My monkey mind came to play and this time, it whispered into my ears, "Owh dear.. only this much left. How are you going to enjoy yourself now Sukhbir?" My heart fell from my chest and sunk lower into my groins. I felt dismayed. My monkey mind had planned lots of things to be bought when I got my first salary. Moleskine’s reporter’s bag, some new clothes, a pen drive, an external hard disk, and the list went on. Mum brought me back to my senses as she said, "Hey, since Diwali’s coming.. and I was passing by this shop and saw a beautiful curtain. Let’s buy it." I thought for a bit and asked mum, "Sure, but how much is it? If it’s affordable we’ll get it." Mum nodded and said, "Okay I’ll find out the price and get back to you. We need to get a new kitchen table too, and a bookshelf as well as the old one is broken and-" I stopped mum, "I think it’s a little too early to buy everything Ma. We start off with the curtain first then we slowly make way to other stuff." As I said that, I realised, once upon a time, I used to be in mum’s position. I used to tell her what I wanted and she used to think hard and say yes or no depending on the financial state at that time of the family. The tantrums I threw as a kid when mum couldn’t afford what I wanted. And yet, despite all that, she still did sacrifice a thing or two to ensure my happiness as a child despite our state of poverty. That’s when I kicked the monkey mind out and in my head I started cutting off the things I didn’t need too. Best start walking the talk as well. I did use a little portion of the money to get new office attire as I had been wearing old clothes to office. I scraped the things I WANTED and was only left with things I NEEDED which wasn’t much. Today, we paid the bills and I handed money to mum for this month’s ration for home. Out of that, there was only very little left to spend on myself. And so I’ve decided that money will be used to buy the curtain for Diwali. We were in the car driving back home in the rain when mum said, "Remember the times when you were young, you used to ask Bapa and me for money and yet we gave it to you despite us not earning much?" I replied, "Yeah" Mum smiled and said, "We used to tell you; Wait till you earn your own living and have your own family, then you’ll know the value of money. Do you remember that?" I smiled and replied, "I do now." We both looked at each other and smiled. I hit on the accelerator and the car moved on past the falling rain. Somewhere above the clouds that showered the rain, I can picture my dad looking down at me and smiling.


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