Sunday, 6 February 2011

"Money Doesn't Grow On Trees...Except In India"

In a bizarre turn of events I find myself hearkening unto my eldest child Egg (age: 6 1/2) as regards recent naughty behaviour.

I am SO used to moaning about Dumpie's latest exploits that Egg rarely gets a look in - except for me to go on about how obedient and sweet-natured he is.

However, the other morning I awoke with quite a fright to find Egg holding aloft a lit candle, proudly proffering it to me in bed.

"Look Mama...look what I did!"

The husband was away on his bike trip and hence I had no one to share my early morning panic and horror with.

"Egg!  Put that out right now!" I shouted, startled.

(Of course any normal, non-sleep-deprived parent would have sat up in bed, grabbed said LIT candle and extinguished it - as well as perhaps even administering a little tap on the naughty child's bottom - the better to instill the fear of God and all that...)

However it was still dark out, I was disoriented, and what felt like minutes later (but was probably moments) groggily queried, "Egg...did you put that candle out?"

I registered a large sigh then heard him blow it out, and satisfied, fell immediately back asleep.

Big mistake.

(Note to self:  confiscation of dangerous lighting implements can often be a successful deterent for future pyromaniac tendencies in young children)

I awoke some time later to find two things:

1.  our front door was open and Egg was nowhere to be seen
2.  our home smelled faintly of something burning

Normally the missing child thing would have taken precedence over a burning smell, but this being India (and with faulty electrics the norm) I panicked and moving round our kitchen area like a crazed sniffer dog, tried frantically to locate the source of the worrying stench.

I didn't have to look too long before I spotted the culprit:  a still smouldering ten rupee note lying in a green plastic garbage bag.

Several screams of "Egg!  Eggie!  You get back here right this second or you will be in such big trouble you'll not have ice-cream for a whole month!" were rather effective in coaxing Egg out of our landlady's house where he'd been (wait for it) burning matches with her.  

He came shooting across the yard toward me, clad only in jammie bottoms and clutching Bacon.

"Egg what on earth??!!!  Why did you burn money?!  Where have you been?!  What are you doing?!  Mama is VERY angry with you!"

Not able to prioritise which of his wailing mother's queries to address first, he simply stared up at me as I herded him inside, all the while muttering like a crazy old lady (something to the effect of "We could have all burned in our sleep...") and stared calmly at the still warm rupee note which I shoved madly in his face.

"Why?!  Just tell me why?!"

Looking up at me with those big eyes of his, appearing bewildered by the severity of my reaction, and shrugging his shoulders he said, "Because I didn't need it."

(You wot?!)

I guess the boy really does believe that money grows on trees - at least here in India anyway.

Either that or the twelve preceding months having witnessed his parents living out their desert island fantasies, (pre-retirement), have convinced our six year old that his Beach Bum Bohemian Parents have such an inexhaustible supply of rupee notes shooting their way through the ATM slot each week, that the mere burning of a note here or there ain't going to make too much of a dent in the family finances.

Time to get a job?...

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