Maathangy was very busy. She was watching Tom and Jerry and coloring her crayon book. From time to time she checked if Tom got outwitted by Jerry or not on her 25 inch Philips color TV. She could not change the channel as her parents had put a child lock on the rest of the channels. But then they thought that was the best they could do to protect their 7 year old daughter from watching something insane and vulgar on the idiot box.
"Maathu kutty" her dad Prakash came from office and kissed her on her cheeks. Seeing her grow fast Prakash wondered if the LIC policy that he had been paying annually would be enough to spend for her marital expenses or would go of in the air as Dowry for some stranger who may own her for life. He knocked those off his mind and realized that he had something more important to discuss with her.
"Maathu. I got a letter from your school today." told Prakash.
Maathu looked up from the elephant she had been coloring in green color and questioned him with her expressive eyes. Prakash continued "The letter says that you contributed Rs.500 to the UNICEF fund. Did you get the money from mummy?"
"No daddy. I took it from my savings." said Mathu.
Prakash remembered that it was the plan he and his wife Priya had taken to explain the power of saving money to Maathu. They would deposit Rs.5 daily in a piggy bank in her bed and she was instructed to spend the money on anything she liked after a period of time. 6 months before she had bought a small doll for her mom's birthday from that money and surprised them immensely. But this was something different.
"Maathu. Do you know how much Rs.500 means?" Prakash asked without raising his voice.
"Yes daddy. It is enough to buy a tap and install a part of the hand pump in poor countries. Malini miss told us in the presentation." replied Maathu.
"But Maathu. You cannot spend your money like this. We gave it to you to spend it for yourself."
"Daddy. Remember that day we were watching TV and an old uncle in the TV said that if we donate some part of our wealth, we will go to heaven". She was referring to a children’s program on Disney Channel and Prakash wondered how much of an impact it had made on her. Danm Disney he thought.
"Its still wrong Maathu. You cant just hand it over to somebody like this when they ask. 10 or 20 rupees is fine. But 500 is too much Maathu. Those people who ask money can be crooks and bad people. Remember next time, some one asks you money for something, you have to ask Mummy and Daddy" Prakash finished sternly.
Maathu seemed disappointed for a minute. She didn’t look at Tom and Jerry and was coloring in blue outside the border of elephant’s body. Everything seems illuminated in the light of life and Maathu may realize it sometime in her life.
"We are not going to heaven, are we daddy?" Maathu questioned Prakash.
He could not realize if he was wise or her. Prakash pretend not to hear her question in the rising volume of the Tom and Jerry show.