She shook her head. “This is what we shall do. We will have a chore chart or a white board put up in your room and we will write down every good deed that you do or every house work that you help me with. Then at the end of th week we shall total it up and pay you your money earned.”
“Hmm.” Hama said, thinking aloud. “How much? But how can I do house work?”
“How much? Well…let’s see…every job done will be equal to two currency notes.”
“Currency note? You mean dollar?”
“Since that’s the only one you know right now, yes.
“And what job? I can’t cook.”
“Yes you can’t. But you can pick up your toys, you can give your father a glass of water when he comes home in the evening, you can….”
“Got you Mumma! Let’s start today.”
“Alright. It’s just morning and the week’s also just beginning. Let’s see what you earn by the week end.”
And the week passed. Hama had taken a step forward, but it was just a small step. He had managed to earn only four dollars – two for helping his mother de-weed in the garden and two for giving a fruit to the poor boy on the road. But by the end of the third week, he had got the hang of it and it suddenly seemed like a lot of fun. Especially since he now had his piggy bank a little fuller.
“Let me count and see how much I have earned.” Hama said on week three. and took out all the notes and counted. He had a big smile on his face when he found he had twenty-two dollars with him! He had to go shopping. He had seen a lovely ball at the toy shop and had found out that it cost only fourteen dollars. So now he could buy that and still have some money left for an ice cream. He smiled to himself. “And I shall be buying it with my money. What fun is that!”
So he told his mother who readily agreed to take him shopping in the evening. She had to get the vegetables and spaghetti too for the night.
When they reached the vegetable shop in the evening, Hama kept asking Mumma what the time was, he was growing impatient. “Mumma you are taking too long here.”
She smiled as she pushed the trolley to the cash counter. “I’m done kid. Just the billing.”
But when she took out her purse, she found that she had fallen short of money. By twenty dollars. She began to tell the cashier to remove a few of the vegetables, when Hama-Guri stopped her. “No Mumma. I have twenty two dollars. So I will give you the twenty.”
Mumma fell silent. As did the lady at the cash counter. And the old man who was standing behind them in the queue.
“But your ball?” Mumma’s voice had choked. She had never expected him to say what he had. Especially since she knew that he had been eyeing the ball for a long time.
“Oh I will keep earning Mumma. So I will buy it after a few weeks. I have seen father and you always buy things for me first before you buy anything for yourselves. So it is my turn now.”
Unable to speak anymore, she hugged her son as he proudly took out twenty dollars from his pocket and handed it to the lady at the counter. Then smiled. He felt grown up today for sure.