Saturday, January 21, 2012

The good old piggy bank

Our ancestors believed and lived by the dictum 'Save for a rainy day' or as Benjamin Franklin said 'A penny saved is a penny earned'. When we were children, to inculcate the habit of savings I remember my father getting two piggy banks from our Bank - one for my sister and one for me. Yes! the banks at that time used to give cute piggy banks to the customers with the intention of encouraging children to save money. However these days they are busy disbursing loans and credit cards, which has proved to be a bane and has encouraged people to spend beyond their means!

Coming back to the two piggy banks that we got, one was of course in the shape of a piggy, the other was a cat. So I wondered why it was not called catty bank? I read that one of the reasons as to why it was called Piggy Bank was that in Germany a pig was considered to be a symbol of good luck and prosperity and hence keeping money in a piggy bank meant bringing in good fortune.

Anyways both my sister and me were very thrilled to have a piggy bank each. Every day religiously we would put one coin each in it. Sometimes the need to see it fill up faster was too much for us, and  we would ask not only dad but my mom my gran and anybody whom we were close to, for a coin to put in our piggy bank. Now and then we would shake it vigorously and listen to the jingling of the coins. Oh!! what a thrilling experience it was. Then came that time which we had been eagerly waiting for- Yes! the piggy bank was finally full!! We just could not wait for it to be opened. When my dad opened the piggy bank out tumbled all those coins which we had painstakingly collected over a period of time. Dad exchanged all the coins for notes and we were two proud children when we were taken to the bank and the money in our piggy bank was deposited in our very own names. The process then began all over. Even now our piggy bank stands proudly as a souvenir in my parents home in our toy show case.

Without us realising dad had taught us kids an important lesson in life - Savings. We learnt how much time and patience is required to save money. As parents we tried this with our kids too. They diligently did it for some time, but fast pace being their mantra, they found patience was not one of their stronger virtues when it came to waiting for their piggy bank to fill up. Hence the piggy bank lay half empty and forgotten. I guess the present generation has to relearn this timeless wisdom all over again.    

Friday, January 13, 2012

Special gift from Santa

Christmas is a time when children eagerly look forward to their gifts. Every year on Christmas Day for the past fifteen years Santa has been visiting our children and has filled up the stockings with lots of gifts. We would also get a small Christmas tree ( the artificial ones that you get in the stores) and would decorate it and keep it in our living room. A week before Christmas my children would keep giving me lists of gifts that they  hoped Santa would leave besides their bed. On twenty fourth night their excitement used to reach a feverish pitch. Every now and then they would come to me wondering if Santa would remember to get their gifts. Early twenty fifth morning we would hear whoops of joy from their rooms as they would shout with glee seeing the gifts besides their bed.

Sometimes when the gifts that they wanted were some expensive gadgets and they would instead find books, or pens or other things they would groan and complain to me saying that Santa had not given them what they had asked for. I would then tell them that Santa has to give millions of gifts, and he cannot give everyone what they ask for. Even Santa goes through recession times right?

Now they might be grown up, but who can resist the allure of  getting a gift? So now when we are around they throw loud hints hoping we would hear what gift they want from Santa. But this Christmas Santa had a special gift for my elder son. When he opened his gift, out tumbled a shaving kit!! I suddenly realised that my little baby had grown up! How did Santa know?? My mind was swirling with mixed emotions. Here stood before me, a tall gangly teenager who was just the other day crawling and was being carried by me. Somehow I  never realised how much and how fast time had flown!

As we stood there, I could not bear to see my little baby, whose skin had been nurtured by application of olive oil and milk cream when he was a small baby, now applying a blade! My husband was one proud man. He now had to initiate his son into the intricacies of shaving! What more, my younger son made the grand announcement about this to his grandparents. As the training session started my younger son and me were the interested audience watching every move with rapt attention. Since it was a memorable day we captured it on the video ( Wanted to save it  for posterity when he can show his children the day he first shaved!). At the first stroke of the razor I could not help but wince. As the finer nuances of the strokes and motions were taught, I stood and watched. Finally the whole act of clean shaven look was achieved.

I felt a twinge of pain as I looked up at this teenager who had grown a foot and a half taller than me and somewhere in the corner of my heart I knew that  I would always miss my little baby.