6. Maths is happiness

०२ जानेवारी २०२१

They came home from the supermarket. Anu helped Mum put the groceries away. She always gets hungry after the supermarket shopping. She has seen so many kids eating and drinking in the supermarket. But Mum doesn’t allow her to do that. Mum gave her something to eat, and she sat to do her accounts. Anu likes to watch how Mum writes numbers in her diary and then calculate it on her fingers. They have a calculator but Mum likes using her fingers.

“This is a one dollar. Isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is a dollar coin. “

“One day I will have a lot of $1 coins. 1+1=2, 1+1+1=3 …” Anu was engrossed in her little additions.

“Do you want that dollar Anu?”

“Yes!! Can I have it?”

“You can have it if you work for it. No one gives you money for free.”

“But you are my Mum.”

“Yes. I get this money when I work hard. Don’t I? That’s why if your complete jobs for me I will pay you.”

8 year old Anu was intrigued at the thought of earning money like Mum. Mum gave her jobs like:

To rinse her plate every day after dinner and tidy up the dinner table. To tidy her bed when she gets up in the morning. Tidy up her toys and books. Help Mum to fold washing. For every job Mum was going to pay her 20 cents every week.

“How much money you will get every week?”

Anu wrote down 20 cents four times then she did the addition.

“Answer is 80 cents. Oh……it is not $1.” She looked disappointed.

“Okay, no problem. I will pay you $1 per week. Agree?” Mum shook her hand. Anu had a big grin on her face. She jumped up and down. When her friends come over to play, she told them all about her new job.

Next day one of her Mum’s friends visited them with her family. Friend’s husband expressed his concern over Mum paying an 8-year-old for chores. He told Mum not to give Anu wrong ideas about doing chores. Mum argued that Anu will develop good math skills. She will understand that she has to work to earn money and she will have some responsibility of doing chores. But in his opinion children should be doing chores anyways. Getting money for the chores is a bad habit. Next day Mum got Anu a piggy bank to save all her pay.  She also got Anu a little money purse.

Anu was excited about it.  One day they went to the nearby dairy to get some bead. Mum couldn’t find any coins in her purse. Anu had some in her purse from that day’s pay.  50 cents were paid from that money. After coming home Anu straight went to her room and wrote down in her little notebook about it. Next week when Mum bought ‘hot fries’, she used 20 cents from Anu’s money. That day when they came home, Anu brought her notebook in the kitchen. She added that 20 cents to the previous 50 cents. Then told Mum she cannot borrow money from her anymore because she needs to repay the 70 cents that she owes to Anu.

Mum looked at her serious face and her little notebook. She started to laugh.

“Why are you laughing? Not nice Mummy…”

“Good job sweetheart. Looks like your maths is getting better. Aye?”

“I want to save a lot of money because we are going to India soon. I want to do shopping there.”

Mum repaid Anu 70 cents. Anu put that in her piggy bank.

“Mum you pay me 25 cents for every job I do. Right? What if you pay me 30 cents for a job?”

“Why would I do that?”

“Okay, then give me one more job. I want to earn 150 cents every week.”

Mum looked at Anu’s notebook. 30 was written 5 times, and addition was done neatly. She smiled.

“Sorry Anu, for now you will earn only $1 every week. You will not do more than four jobs because you have to study. That’s your first job. Completing studies will take long time. But once you finish studying you will get a big job and get paid more than a dollar!”

Anu was disappointed. But she was sure that she was going to save lot of money before she goes to India.

Next day she was going to visit the local rest home with her class.  Since last two days Anu was busy making greeting cards. She had also made 2 nice flowers using her Origami skills.  She always gets excited when her class visits the old people. Each student gets to visit two elderlies. These older people are always interested in knowing about everything. She tells them about her grandparents, her little kitten, her Mum, school…everything. One lady remembers name of her kitten. The other gentleman gave Anu her favourite lollies. They are also allowed to hug them.

When she told her Mum for the first time when they visited a rest home, she was surprised. She had never seen anything like this in India because most of the elderlies live with their children. She told Anu that this was a fantastic idea. She always asked Anu questions about the elderlies after the visit.

Later that year Anu’s grandparents came to visit them. She was very excited to have them. All of her neighbours, her friends, teachers, bus driver everyone knew her grandparents will be visiting. It was last week of her school holiday. Every day she had lots of cuddles, hugs, kisses and a lot of praise from her Grandparents.

One day, after returning home from work, Mum was having cup of tea. Everyone was sitting and chatting. Sitting next to Mum, Anu was doing her homework.

“Excuse me Mum. This is a very hard multiplication. Can you help?”

Grandma said,

“Anu, your Mum just came home. Let her rest.”

“But she is not resting. She is talking to you. “

“Hey, you are being impolite to Grandma.” Grandpa said.

“I am not. Sorry Grandma.  Kelley’s Mum always helps her with homework.” Anu started to cry and ran to her room. Mum went after her & sat by her bed.

“I don’t want to talk. Go and talk to your mum and dad.”

Mum smiled and said, “Aww…I am sorry. I should have talked to you as we always do. See Anu you and I go to school & work. But they both are locked inside the house. Grandpa cannot drive here anywhere. They wait for both of us to come home. You came before me. Didn’t they spend time talking to you? Now it was my turn. When you came home, did you ask them how their day was? Did you take them for a little walk?”

Anu was sitting on the bed and listening to Mum.

“Oh…so you want me to look after them like I look after my rest home friends.”

“Yes, it is your responsibility that they should have good time here. You should introduce them to your friends. Granny can make nice food for them. Grandpa can read stories. They like to play cards, Uno, Snakes and ladders…”

“Really? But they are so old.” Mum and Anu both giggled. They shared a secret about her grandparents. They liked playing children’s games.

From thereon when Mum came home, Anu talked with her about her day and then went to her room to finish her homework. After that she will be back in the kitchen to do her little jobs as always. Mum didn’t want to forget her chores. Anu didn’t want to lose her income. Grandpa wasn’t very happy about Anu getting paid for the chores. Mum just smiled and said, “Well, it gives her a good habit & responsibility.”

One day Grandpa and Anu went to the local convenience store. He wanted to get the local newspaper. When he was paying money, he realised that he was short of coins. He turned around to go home.

“Wait Grandpa. Let me count. $1 and 50 cents and 20 cents. You actually have 10 cents extra.”

She told dairy owner Mr. Patel that her Grandpa must have thought that he had 20 cents coins only. Mr. Patel said that was correct. He gave 10 cents back. Grandpa was impressed.

“Good job Anu. You learn good math in school.”

“They teach us addition, subtraction in the school but I got better when Mum started paying me for the chores. She also takes me for little shopping trips. She doesn’t want me to use the calculator all the time.”

“That’s really good. What are you going to do when we go home?

“I have to help Mum fold laundry and then my friend is coming over.”

Grandpa held her hand and said,

“Can grandma and I play cards with you and your friends?”

“Of course!” both had a big grin on their face as they walked home.

Anagha Kawley, Auckland, New Zealand


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