The wish

They were a typical middle class couple with typical middle class values. Simple living, high morals and mediocre life style. A couple of years after their marriage, their princess entered their humble home. That is when they started aspiring for more – more affluence, more riches, a bigger house, a better way of living. Obviously you couldn’t make a princess live like a mere human being.

They got her the best of toys and clothes and despaired that they didn’t have enough money to get her diamonds and platinum. They scrimped and saved so that she could smile. It was an added blessing to them that she really was an angel at heart. Warm, loving, affectionate and always smiling.

They lived in the hot, dusty town of Shrekal in the south of India – far, far away from the ocean. He was a reporter in the bigger of the two newspapers in town and she was an accountant with the rural bank. They both had a passion for reading and music and it was but natural that their princess would too.

The princess was to turn 5 and had already started reading story books. She had read several references to the ocean and was fascinated by it. She asked her parents to explain more and they tried their best to do so. Never having seen it themselves, their explanations and descriptions didn’t satisfy her.

So, for her 5th birthday gift, she asked for a visit to the ocean. The parents thought on how to work out the logistics and finances and decided that there was no way they could refuse such a wish. They arranged for leaves, worked overtime to get some more money and booked their tickets to the southern most tip of India – Kanyakumari.

They reached Kanyakumari with lots of anticipation and excitement. After reaching the hotel, they quickly rushed to ocean. The place where the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea meet is awe inspiring to say the least. They were weighed down with stuff for their princess – you know sun screen lotion, bathing robe, a foldable mat etc etc.

When they went into the ocean, all of them were overwhelmed with the feeling. It was almost as if the ocean was playing tag with them. The awesome feeling of the waves caressing their feet and ebbing away was something they had never experienced before. They were joined by another young girl of around 4 years age who gravitated towards their princess. They looked around for the child’s parents and met two unassuming adults.

On discovering that they were all staying in the same hotel, they became very friendly. They however noticed that their new friends treated their daughter very casually. She ran around bare feet, she asked for a towel when she needed to be wiped and so on. It was a total contrast to the way they were raising their child and they assumed it must be because their new friends probably could not afford better.

All too soon, their vacation came to an end and after exchanging phone numbers with their new friends, they went back home. In the course of a new story about nouveau rich – the newly minted millionaires – he discovered that his new friend was part of the list. They could have afforded a lot for their daughter but they were raising here as an ordinary kid – they were giving her their time and energy and not enough materialistic things to keep her priorities right.

This discovery completely changed the way they thought of their princess and what they wanted to do for her. They still adored her to pieces and would have done anything for her but now, they let her grow a little more independent, understand the value of money and lavished their time and energy on her.

Life has some unique ways of teaching us – sometimes it beats us over the head with its lesson and at other times, it shows so very gently what we are doing wrong and how we can correct it.

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