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Grandpa's Money

Ammu was a bright girl of 9 years of age. She was a lively kid full of laughter and her charm could melt anyone’s heart. She was the pet of not only her parents but of the entire neighbourhood. She lived in Bangalore with her parents. The only complaint in her life was that she was not able to meet her grandparents as much as she wanted to.

She always looked forward to her vacations when she could go and stay with her grand parents in the far away village. There were so many things to do there. Bathing in the pristine clear river, playing with the cows and calves, racing with the village kids, flying kites, plucking flowers for worship from the vast gardens ,climbing trees…wow the list was endless and thinking about it made Ammu really long for the vacation. “Oh god” she prayed “let the vacations start fast so that I can go to the village and play.”

Like all the things in life, when we want time to go fast it crawls. So was it with her also. Finally her exams were over and parents dropped her off at the village house. Her grandma and grandpa were delighted to see her. Grandma had cooked all her favourite dishes and Ammu couldn’t stop eating. She spent the rest of the evening flying kites with her neighbour and friend Seetha.

When she slept that night she dreamt of the river, boats, cows and the butterflies. She was as fresh as a flower when she woke up and couldn’t wait to run to the river.

Grandma didn’t let her go till she had her fill of delicious idlys and chutney. After the yummy breakfast she ran to the river and plunged in to the water. The water was clear and she swam with the fishes. She played with the tortoises and had a very good time. When she came back she was surprised to see the angry face of her grandma.

“What happened grandma? Are you angry with me? No No Ammu, why should I be angry with you? It is your grandpa. He loves his money so much that he doesn’t even let me make sweets for you.”Ammu said “Don’t worry granny. Being here makes me so happy. There is no need of any sweets.” Grandme responded “you are a good girl Ammu but I am fed up with this trait of your grandpa. Why doesn’t he understand that people are more important than his money?”

Then came the most awaited time of the year - Utsav at the local temple. Ammu was so excited that she could barely sleep the whole night. She planned to go to the festival with her friend and neighbour Seetha. She was a simple yet bright girl of Ammu’s age. Her eyes shone with brilliance, innocence and kindness. No wonder then that Seetha was her best chum at the village. They woke up early, took bath, got ready and ran to the temple. Both were wearing beautiful long skirt and blouse and were looking radiant with happiness. They both enjoyed the drums, the elephants, the kathakali and also the small pavement shops set up for the festival.

The best of them was a bangle shop which had different colours of glass bangles. All the girls were looking at the bangles with longing and fascination. Ammu loved the green bangles and was dying to buy them. But alas! The price was more than her pocket money. She went home planning to request money from her grandpa. But as you guess he straight away refused to give her any money for the bangles. “What do you need bangles for? You already have some”. Ammu went to sleep slightly sad.

Each day went by with lots of excitement and finally the last week of the vacation arrived. Ammu was already feeling sad that she has to leave the village and go back soon.

It surprised her when she found Seeta sitting and crying near the river. “My dear friend, why are you so sad? Tell me whatever it is.” Seeta told her that she wanted to study but her parents didn’t have the money to send her to school. So instead of going to school she had to start working in the neighbouring fields.

Ammu was heartbroken to hear this. She knew that Seetha was very good in her studies. Ammu was determined to find a solution to her friend’s problem. She had an idea. “Seetha please tell your parents to borrow money from my grandpa. I know that he is rich. Somehow we should convince him to help you. Of course you can return the money when you start earning.” Seetha’s parents were workers at Ammu’s grandpa’s paddy fields. With lots of hesitation Seetha’s parents approached him for money.

"No” was his reply. “How can you even think that I would lend you money? Shameless people!” Hearing his response Ammu was shattered. She always had a glimmer of hope that her grandpa would help when it was really needed. But here he was ruining the future of a small girl. That night Ammu couldn’t sleep. The next morning she went to her grandpa and said “Congrats grandpa” “Why?” he asked. “I understand that you have achieved something no one has ever been able to. You have discovered how to take your money with you when you die”.

Grandpa realized she was making fun of him. He was angry but slowly the truth of her words sank in. He hugged Ammu and apologised for his behaviour. He finally realized that money is for helping others. He gladly lent money to Seetha and derived happiness from her success. Ammu went back home with a happy heart.

Contributing Story Teller: Ms. Nithya Dilip, [email protected]

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