Having an Indian mom


I found my daughter laughing hysterically before she left for work one morning. I looked up from my computer to find out the cause of this mirth. “Oh mom, I am sending you something on Messenger. Check it out! This encapsulates how I prefaced my less than A grades to you.” Mind you, she was sitting right across from me.

She sent me this tweet.

“This!! This is my entire childhood. This is how I justified to you my B grades. You just sat there staring at me as I explained although I got a B, most of my class got worse grades than I did. Only one or two people got a better grade than me.” she said laughing. When she used to tell me that although she got a B, her friend who is as smart as her also got a B. My response to that was, “Am I your friend’s mom? No. So I will let her mom deal with how she is doing in school. I am your mom. I will only look at your grades. So tell me, what went wrong?” And the excuses poured in. 🙂

I continue to hold my kids at high standards. The way I was raised is ingrained in me. Good grades, ranking in class is expected, anything less is failure. As a student, good grades were important to me of course, yet thinking back, I believe I worked hard so as not to disappoint my mother. My grades gave her bragging rights to friends and extended family. As I raised my daughter through her elementary, middle and high school in a very competitive county, I realized the flaw in my way of thinking. I started wondering if my children are getting the grades so I can brag or are they taking responsibility for their academics? Are they truly enjoying learning? I remembered memorizing my lessons more out of fear and obligation than real interest in knowing.

At my ripe old age, I have realized students need to love learning. Only through love and positive experience can one truly learn. My class teacher in high school, one day, during our Bengali class told us to promise her that when we had our children, we will not push them for grades. If society berated us that our children were not performing well in the standard that society holds, we should lock ourselves in a room and throw away the key. Nurture their love of learning instead, she said.

I thought I was doing a much better job of raising my second child with an enlightened view of what learning should be all about. I tried to drill in him the lesson that he is working for himself, not for me. I asked him if he was enjoying his lessons, did he learn from his mistakes? What can he do better next time. At work, I feel superior to all those moms who come with their teens in tow and try to do their school work for them. I think in my head, “let your child be”, “let him or her learn”. And then I pat myself on my back for being that ‘level headed’ mom who has seen the light, who has found the perfect balance of expecting good results but instilling in the child a joy of learning.

All my lofty ideals of good, sensible parenting regarding my child’s education went out of the window this morning. I walked in to Ryan’s room when he was about to start the day’s session of Summer Chemistry. Yes, he is that weird teen who chose to take Chemistry over the summer to ‘get ahead’. He was checking his grades for the first exam. It is a B. Before I could utter a word, he started, “Mom, my friend ______, who is smart like me got a C+. And I know you are not his mom and you do not care about his grades. But I am just saying that this was the first test in the course and she gave some questions which we did not know….!”

The ‘Indian mom’ in me did not, much to my chagrin, relinquish her hold. I could not say, “It is ok. That grade is fine.” Instead, I said, “You are taking one class! B is not an acceptable grade. I want you to study harder. You need to get an A!”

Am I allowed to use emoji in a blog post? I am not sure but I am going to use an emoji anyway.

This one! 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

Summer afternoons


I did not ever think, as I was growing up in hot and humid Kolkata, that I would look forward to summer. Due to strange twist of fate, life brought me to a land where many of us get through winter with the hope of sunny days in the horizon. In Kolkata, we looked forward to the winters because out of 12 months, 11 were hot and humid with some respite brought on by monsoons. Perhaps this is old age, perhaps this is because I am physically far away from the discomfort but I was reminiscing about my summer afternoons as a child. I hear from Khushi’s mom that it is more and more difficult to make Khushi take a nap during the hottest part of the day. Her mother, after working hard in the morning, lies down for a well deserved siesta but for a little girl, that is sheer waste of time. I know. I was that little girl once.

The norm was to take a nap in the afternoons when the sun was at its hottest. Only stray dogs roamed the streets, looking for shade along with an erstwhile beggar or vagabond. Peddlers still walked the streets with their ware, offering to refill our mattresses, selling fruits or pushing an ice cream cart. I lay down next to my mother against my will, fidgeted, got scolded, tried to lie still after and then invariably and stealthily tiptoed out of the dark and cool room to read a book. Those afternoons belonged to Noddy or The Secret Seven or Thakurma r Jhuli. The colorful pages of Amar Chitra Kathas took me back in the world of myths so I could watch Krishna kill the snake Kaliya or Ganesh defy his father, Shiva, to protect his mother’s privacy. Those afternoons were for time travels. Those were the times when a little girl living in the congested city of Kolkata went to country side of England and adventured with George, her dog Timothy, and her cousins, or in New England where Jo vowed never to marry and Beth played the piano as Marmee went out to help the community and share their Christmas dinner. Those summer afternoons were magical till mother woke up and chastised for not taking an afternoon nap. After siesta, it was teatime for grown ups, and dreaded glass of milk for me.

I hear Khushi tiptoes out from her mother’s side, after her mother falls asleep to find my father, her dadai (grandfather), and complain to him about the gross injustice of having to sleep in the afternoon when she is not sleepy at all. And my father totally agrees that grown ups are no fun whatsoever. With his approval she quietly loses herself in the imaginary world in her head. She sings and converses, she sometimes dances and smiles. She knows when her mother wakes up and scolds her for not napping, she will have an ally in her dadai, her adopted grandfather.

I smile as I hear this. History repeats itself.

Food and us


Long, long time ago when I was very little and was just learning to read English, my mother bought a picture book for me. It was mainly pictures of two blonde children, their white dad, their white mom and their yellow dog. The few sentences in that book talked about their usual day. For example, they woke up at 7:00 am, ate breakfast, played with their dog, went for a picnic – mundane things like that. The most surprising element in the book for me was that the mother started making dinner at 4:00 pm and the family ate dinner at 5:00 pm. I remember reading that line again and again in amazement and wonder. I always wondered what the family ate and it confused me to no end that dinner was prepared in one hour. Since I was a wee lass, I have seen and observed a very different rhythm of life, not only in our household but in the society in which I was nurtured. The rhythm of our very middle class Bengali life was completely food centric.

When I was 4 or 5 years old, the morning started with intense smoke. The household help put fire to the earthen stove called unoon. It required coal and cow dung patties. Experts could get it going with minimum smoke but if one was not an expert or the coal was not completely dry, the smoke permeated the whole neighborhood. Water for morning tea was boiled on the burning stove, followed by breakfast. Generally the menu for breakfast was decided the night before. Tea was accompanied by biscuit (cookies), while real breakfast was cooked. After breakfast, the household help came to my grandfather asking what the menu for lunch and dinner would be. My grandfather held the purse for family expenditure so the menu for lunch and dinner was a joint decision by my mother and him. Sometimes they disagreed and then there would be problems.

When I was older, we first had kerosene stove and then gas stove with two burners. Ah, the luxury!! Two burners were so appreciated and the hassle of not having to get the earthen stove going every morning was the best feeling ever by those responsible for cooking family meals. This is how the day went in our house and it is safe to generalize in this case and assume that this is how the day went in most houses when I was growing up. My mother, at that point, decided the menu for lunch and dinner, the household help went to the market to pick up ingredients for the meal. She came home and started the process of chopping vegetables, gutting fish or cleaning meat, preparing spices. When I was young, we did not use ready made spices. Cumin paste was made from scratch, turmeric paste obtained from turmeric tube, gorom moshla was made by crushing cardamom, clove, cinnamon sticks in a mortar and pestle. I still remember the sound and smell of fresh spices being prepared and the noise of sheel nora in our kitchen. Lunch menu was definitely different from dinner menu. In between, there had to be elaborate breakfast – luchi torkari, and evening snack – porota alu r torkari or Bengali chowmein or alu r chop (fritters of different kinds). We had tea (milk for young ones) and biscuit when we woke up, around 9 there would be a hearty breakfast, lunch around 1 or 2, tea again around 4, evening snack around 6 and dinner around 10:30 or 11 pm. This was typically how much we ate during a day off. So one can imagine, the household help’s day was spent in the kitchen. With the advent of gadgets and ready made spices, life became much easier but for many families the number of meals in a day remained the same.

For me, someone used to seeing life revolve around preparing food, it was incredible that the mama in the family started preparing food at 4 pm and the family sat down to dinner at 5 pm.

Being a mama in the family now who loves to cook but hardly has time anymore, I now smile at my amazement at the book. Most days we scrounge around, make do with what is lying in the fridge, boil some pasta and slap some pesto on it, make peanut butter and jelly sandwich and make dinner in less than half an hour. Those days I think that mama in the book must have made some elaborate meal – it took her a whole hour!

“Oh no! That was a library book!”


When I was little, if our feet ever touched a book (or paper, or a musical instrument) we apologized to goddess Saraswati by touching our hand to our heads – a gesture of pranam. Goddess Saraswati was the keeper of education and all forms arts, and the paraphernalia of objects associated with arts were sacrosanct, especially books. We were taught to take care of books so as not to anger the goddess and get bad grades in school. I was very religious and always loved Saraswati with all my heart. Therefore, I was extra cautious about my actions when it came to taking care of reading or writing material. Who wants the wrath of the goddess of learning upon themselves? That could result in bad grades and that meant the wrath of my mother! Before exams, I always prayed hard to her to score brownie points. I would stand in front of her idol, eyes closed, hands folded in front of me – a picture of utter devotion. I took very good care of all my books and papers, partly out of fear but mostly out of love for this beautiful, serene, white saree clad goddess. My mother, who was not remotely religious, continued with the story of goddess and books to nurture my good habit. Whatever works, right?

By the time Saraswati ceased to be real for me, an innate respect for books and good maintenance of them had been well cultivated within me. To this day, I have a soft corner for this particular goddess of learning who is constantly overshadowed by her sister Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. And in a strange way, I feel I chose her in my life by finding a job at the library. Let’s face it, I am never getting rich working there.  And I say rich in a materialistic sense, of course. Lakshmi figured out my partiality to her sister and turned her face away.

I have tried my best to cultivate a healthy respect for books in my two children. Books are important and maintaining them well is necessary. I borrowed library books for them since they were very little. We came home, counted the books each had and placed them on a shelf where only library books could stay. Pages were not to be dog eared, they could not be upended, drinks and food had to be carefully consumed near library books and they had to be returned on time. The rules were clear. If they lost a book, they were responsible for paying for it. Needless to say, not one book has been lost so far.

When Ryan was around 4 years old, a dear friend came to visit us. Ryan instantly took a liking to him and stuck to him like glue. After playing baseball, after bonking our friend on the head with an accidental wild throw, after running around in the yard, after talking incessantly, Ryan brought him a book to read aloud. I forget what book it was, but I remember it had a dragon in it who was causing all sorts of trouble. As each page was read, Ryan got more and more involved in the story –  eyes wide, mouth open. After several misdeeds, the dragon lastly breathed fire and made a hole in the page. The story ended. And Ryan cried out:

Oh no! He made a whole in the page??? BUT THAT WAS A LIBRARY BOOK!!!!!!

The Namesake


Recently we discussed Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake in our book club. For some of the participants, the characters were not quite real. They felt good that they read the book but the characters were not authentic enough. For those who are not familiar with the book, here is a brief synopsis. The story explores the lives of a young couple, recently married, who come to the United States in the 1960’s from Kolkata. The husband is a researcher in a university in New England and the young bride accompanies him to build a life together. The marriage was arranged by their parents so they get to know each other, and fall in love in a completely new country, far away from parents and relatives. They make this country their home, raise their two children here, develop friendships yet suffer from a sense of displacement. They cherish the opportunity that America gives them, yet they pine for the loved ones they left behind. The later part of the story follows the life of their oldest child – a boy, who they name Gogol after Nikolai Gogol. You have to read the book to find out the reason for this unusual name. As Gogol grows up, he has issues with his name so he changes it to Nikhil in college not realizing the sentimental reason behind this name. The book talks about Gogol’s self realization as first generation American and the dichotomy of balancing his roots and his birthplace.

Gogol’s life interested me somewhat since I have two biracial children and one of them is trying to figure out where she belongs. But I completely and utterly related to Ashima, the young bride who came to bitter cold New England right after her marriage. Her desperate attempt to understand a new country and her efforts to replicate the experiences of home, here. The book has a description of Ashima trying to make jhal muri (a very delectable roadside snack in Kolkata) with puffed rice and Planter’s nuts but something is missing. Something is always missing when I make the traditional Musur dal, bati chocchori, alu kopi – a very simple Bengali meal, in this country. Is it the oil? Is it the taste of the vegetable? I am still not sure. When I fry the spices in hot oil, the aroma reminds me of home but not quite, not quite. Something is missing.

The sense of displacement grows faint with each passing year as I deepen my roots in the soil of this country. I understand it more, I start to feel like, yes I belong. I nurture sustaining friendships that make me feel loved but what I find missing is the shared history. I long for those who will share the memory when “Abhi na jao chodke ke dil abhi bhara nahi” plays in Pandora. It is not simply a song. It encompasses a part of my life. It is the memory of my dad crooning it as he tied his shoe laces when he got ready for work. It is the memory of loudspeakers during Durga pujo. It is the memory of coming of age and stealing glances at the boy I liked. It is the memory of the lobby of our university. It is the memory of people I sang this song with, it is the emotions that evoked in all of us as we sang it together.

It is the immigrant experience, never belonging fully and belonging to more than one.

Neighborhood grandfather


I consider reading as a means to freedom. Freedom of thought and freedom of expression. Reading takes you places that you did not think existed, reading introduces you to new ideas and lets your ideas soar. Reading sets you free. I was concerned my youngest child did not take to books as my oldest did. After many pushes and shoves towards books I finally realized that I can not shape him into any mold, instead, my job will be to expose him to new ideas via means that appeal to him and let him spread his wings on his own terms – discussion, research, news on television, non fiction books.

If you read my blogs you probably know, my young Ryan is a deep thinker. Since he was little his thoughts were different – he probed deeper. His teacher, in a recent meeting, reconfirmed our perception of him as one who thinks outside the box. Ryan seems to be an exception to my rule that reading sets one free. He has set himself free by observing, evaluating, thinking and reading books that appeal to him.

At dinner, the other night, we were discussing dreams. He was asked, “What are your dreams, Ry?”

“I don’t have dreams, I have goals.”

“Well, what is the difference?”

“You can dream but they don’t seem that solid. But you set your goals and you work towards achieving them. I set goals.”

Coming from an eleven year old, that sounded somewhat precocious. We asked him what his goals are then.

“My goal is to become a neighborhood grandfather.” He solemnly replied.

“Errr…what?!?! A neighborhood grandfather?!?!” His father and I exchanged bemused glances.

“Yeah, you know. I am going to be that grandfather in the neighborhood who is always there for someone who needs help, advice.”

“But you are just a child. Why are you jumping to old age and grandfather? What are you going to do in between?” It was hard not to laugh.

“No, no! There are many goals in between that. Being a neighborhood grandfather is the ultimate goal. Before that I will go to Stanford, swim in the Stanford swim team. I will open my own business and create lots of jobs. I will help a lot of poor people so they can have a good life. I will marry someone nice and have kids. And then I will become a neighborhood grandfather.” The fork rested on his plate as he got a dreamy look in his eyes. “Or maybe I will become a professional baseball player or a Olympic swimmer. I will be famous, I will earn a lot of money and I can help even more people that way.”

Dreams and goals got entangled at this point, but we smiled at our child as he dreamed on and set goals for himself. As I see my two kids grow up, I glance upon the innocence and beauty of childhood. I feel myself a mere observer and perhaps a chronicler of these beautiful times of their lives. I write them down judiciously so I can offer these moments up to them when they are all grown up. When asked about aspirations, a child mentions a profession – teacher, engineer, scientist…..
My child’s aspiration is to be a neighborhood grandfather. Personally, I think that is a superb goal. We need neighborhood grandfathers to bring back the human connection which we seem to be losing fast in our digital age. Grow up to be a neighborhood grandfather, child. Bring people closer. Bring them out to the porch again. Re establish the connection.

Dada


I still remember the excitement of standing at the bus stop to get on a public bus to go to school by myself. I was in grade 9. After coaxing and cajoling for almost a year, some of us got the permission to use public transport to go to school. We had finally grown up enough to leave the school bus behind. I distinctly remember the beating heart and the clammy hands, clutching the fare. My first step into the world of grown ups, as a semi grown up! I later found out that my dad had followed me the entire way to school, in the same crowded bus on that first day to make sure I did not get lost. You can imagine my indignance at that! He tells the story to my children with much laughter as the children laugh with him.

Anyway, the point of the story is, as far as I can remember I have called the young, lanky bus drivers, auto drivers, taxi drivers as ‘dada’ (big brother). That was the norm. I asked them if they would take me:

‘Dada, jaaben?’ (Big brother, will you go?)

I haggled with them over price and fare.

‘Ki bolchen dada? Dosh taka r ek poishao beshi debo na!’ (What are you saying? Won’t give you a cent more than 10 rupees)

But lately, I realized they look at me strangely when I call them big brother. They see the crow’s feet near my eyes and the silver in my hair and wonder, ‘How old does she think she is, calling us dada?’

When I go back now, I catch myself and use the appropriate endearment ‘bhai’ (little brother) instead of the one I am used to ‘dada’.

How would they know that when I go back, I slip back into that young girl, the fresh faced young woman who felt she owned the streets once upon a time? How would they know that when I go back, I shed the identities that I have accumulated since I left the city – that of a mother, a wife, a lover. I am back to being me again – daughter of India. The daughter who boldly came home in the middle of the night from work without any worries of rape and assault. Perhaps I was lucky, but there was less fear among us. There were the neighborhood boys, dadas, who held vigil even that late at night.

Kolkata does that me. It reduces me to myself. It reduces me to the girl I was before I spread my wings and flew away. And I love being that ‘me’ for a while, luxuriating in the feeling of being just a loved daughter, niece, big sister but alas, granddaughter no more. I walk the much walked paths to bus stops, stores, phone booths, xerox shops which I walked numerous times as a little girl, a young student with a big pack pack, a college kid and then a woman in love. New stores have taken the place of some old ones yet the roads remain the same. Some of the dadas I used to know still keep vigil in the neighborhood. They have whites in their receding hair line, wrinkles in their faces but they are there. The sight reassures me. They keep my childhood intact. My memories remain safe. And as I hail a taxi these days, I remind myself to say:

‘Jaben bhai?’

Jack the Ripper and Ryanism.


Ryan chatters about a lot of things. Constantly. I try my best to listen to most of them, and engage in educational discourses about them. Although sometimes I just say ‘uh huh’ ‘uh huh’ not really hearing a word. I hope  there are at least some other  mammas out there who won’t raise their eyebrows at that 🙂 !

It was Ku Klux Klan for a while. He finished reading They Called Themselves KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti and then a fiction by Sharon Draper – Stella by Starlight, a historical fiction about KKK. We had animated discussions about hate, segregation, human courage, standing up for human right. I loved every discussion. The latest obsession, however, is proving to be a bit dicey – Jack the Ripper. He started talking animatedly about this mysterious killer who killed only women and whose identity, till date, is a mystery. What else can ignite a child’s imagination than unsolved mystery, murder, gore? I have half heartedly answered questions and did not offer up Google like I usually do so he can conduct further research. I felt I needed to filter the research on this particular interest.

Tonight at dinner, while stabbing half heartedly at his spinach salad, Ryan told the family that he has discovered more information on Jack the Ripper.

Gulp. I waited. Sahana waited. Sean looked at us with questioning eyes – what is happening?

‘I found out that Jack the Ripper only killed roaming women in London. So for example, if  you or Sahana decided to take a pleasant walk at night, you would get killed by Jack the Ripper. I think it was very wrong of a Jack the Ripper to kill but more so, kill women who just wanted to take a walk at night? That is very bad. And I am sorry to say, the ladies of London at that time were not very smart. If they knew there was a killer killing women if they walked at night why would they go out for walks after dinner anyway? Shouldn’t they have just stayed at home? At least they would have been alive!!’

I asked if I could write a blog on the information he gave the family about this nasty killer. He agreed I should. This concerns women’s rights. I guffawed, got up from my chair, went around and gave his rosy cheeks a big smooch. Sahana called out from the kitchen, ‘Give him a kiss from me too, Mom. Your son is adorable. You are adorable, Ryno!’ Sean ruffled his hair as he passed by him, chuckling.

After the day’s chore was done, as I was sitting down to write the blog, Sahana came to me excitedly, ‘I know why he said Jack the Ripper killed roaming women. He asked me who did the Jack the Ripper kill and I said ladies of the night. He, of course, asked me who they were. I got nervous because he did not know anything about prostitution so I said ladies who roamed the streets of London at night!’

She shed light on this particular Ryanism and we both giggled out of Ryan’s earshot. Oh Innocence, you are precious and so short-lived!

I collect these Ryanisms to share with friends and family. I collect them also for me, so  when he is a man of the world, I will remember his innocence and childhood and perhaps share stories when we are all gathered,

‘Do you know when you were just a little boy, you said…?’

By the way, I think Jack the Ripper is almost on his way out, I feel him fading away. He is being usurped by…….none other than…….Hannibal Lecter!! Oh Joy!!

Hold on to dreams..


The change is very gradual, almost imperceptible, yet I notice it lately. The silent burst of the colorful bubble of dreams in the young mind of my son. The brush with reality is painful and the realization harsh. Even a year ago, being an Olympic swimmer was a possibility, beating Phelp’s record was not simply a pipe dream but an achievable aspiration. Playing pro baseball was not wishful thinking but a natural progression of life. What else would he do other than play professional baseball? Or win gold medals in Olympics? He has his mind set to two schools when he grows up – Harvard and MIT. But now questions and doubts are casting shadows on those innocent dreams. I am not good enough! Am I good enough?

Those dreams, at the age of nine, at the beginning of fourth grade, are slowly starting to look unrealistic. Although I know this is simply a part of growing up, yet it devastates me to think that he will not casually say anymore ‘I will win one more medal than Phelps in Olympics’ or, ‘Mom, when both Ravens and Orioles want to draft me, what should I do?’ I just want him to dream on – for as long as he can. And who knows, his dreams may well be his reality one day? He is a little bundle of endless possibilities like every other child.

Last night while brushing teeth before bed time he said to me:

‘Mom, the child born by mixing you and dad, (interesting choice of words) that is me, should be super athletic and very smart, right? Dad is super athletic and you are very smart?’

‘Well, you ARE super athletic and you ARE very smart!’ I said. Please note how I avoided answering the ‘you are very smart?’ question! 🙂

He thought about it quietly for a few minutes.

‘Being good at sports is not going to get me anywhere, is it?’ He then asked.

‘Being good at sports is an ability not everybody has. It is a gift. Accept at it as one. And you love playing, so play. We can see where it takes you later. But you want to be well-rounded. You want to do well in school and learn all that you can learn as well!’

‘I am finding fourth grade very challenging. This is the most challenging year of all I think. Can you help me?’ (He just started fourth grade)

The cry for help was so plaintive, so innocent and genuine that I stopped what I was doing and took him in my arms.

We had a talk and planned a plan till he felt confident that we are all in it together, mom, dad, sister too. We are team Ryan and we will help him learn, no matter what. It indeed is a big transition from previous years to fourth grade and his steps are faltering. But he knew enough to ask for help. I am grateful. We have a plan. Bring it on, fourth grade. We got this! 🙂 And we high-fived!

We will make sure those dreams return! We need those bright, colorful bubbles floating around childhood. My mommy heart wants to save all of them, none can burst! So there! 🙂

For the love of….money!


Those of you who follow my blog will know that Ryan is a believer. He is a true believer of God and a devoted worshipper of….money. He, since a tender age of 2 or 3, has been strangely attracted to money in any form – paper bills, coins, currency of any country. The word ‘money’ has always brought on that expression of awe and reverence. He is very religious too, no, not the ascetic kind. He is very mindful of the quality of his life on earth and he worries about his existence after he passes on from this material world. He has learnt to merge his two loves – love of God and love of money by sharing his wealth and helping the impoverished.

In a recent discussion with his uncle, he expounded his theory of this happy merge of his two passions.

‘When I become a trillionaire, I will choose someone who does not have any money and make that person a billionaire. However, I will take away his money if he takes drugs or alcohol. He can not do that!’

He does not want money to serve vices. Good thought, I thought and we had a laugh over it.

He has different schemes always for earning. In India, he earned money first by carrying his grandfather’s grocery bags. He refused a rickshaw and politely asked if he could have the rickshaw fare instead if he carried the bags of vegetables and bloody fish. His grandfather agreed. Then he charged his indulgent grandfather for his companionship if there were no bags to be carried. Lastly he charged his innumerable aunties and grandmothers for hugs and kisses. He made a sweet sum at the end of his stay. He gave all of it away to his grandmother before leaving India.

In summer he weeded my flower bed for 5 dollars and opened a lemonade stand. Since he does not mess around when it comes to money, he wrote out a contract engaging Sahana as his junior partner and employee with a 75-25 % contract. And he calculated the exact amount that he owed her, and paid up.

Recently he has cooked up another scheme with friends. They are making book marks and selling them. I came home from work and was told triumphantly:

‘Mom!! Sahana bought 6 bucks worth of book marks!!’

I turned to my daughter, who is currently flushed with baby sitting money and also the money she gets from mowing our lawn, and exclaimed quietly at her generosity.

‘Why did you buy so many bookmarks? 6 bucks? That is a lot of bookmarks!’

‘It’s all good mom! This is all part of my plan. When we grow up and I am a poor struggling writer and he is a successful business man, I will remind him of this day and how I contributed to his start up business. The guy is a softie, he will help me out with my finances. I have got it all worked out!’

Well, then….:)