Divya finally finished with her fun tag and brought up something very interesting. Something that was so casual that I didn't think it was necessary to lock in my memory...at least concsiously.
In the fun tag, there was a question "WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF ME". Divya gave a very unexpected answer. She thought I may be upset or something looking at the answer, but I started laughing instead. Her answer to that question was, "A girl with Zabardast Pocket Money". I met her at Harvard Public School (Now Howard instead of Harvard), in 1995 when I joined after finishing my primary education under the montessori system. If you aren't aware, a montessori school is usually until class 4 only. AND WE NEVER HAD UNIFORMS UNTIL THEN!!!
It was a new thing for me. A new school, the pressure of making new friends, wearing a uniform for the first time in my life, and having to put a plait/braid for the first time....worst of all, applying oil to the hair. :( It was just toooooo much for a little girl to take. Life seemed so rosy before it all happened.
People didn't talk to me much then. Just casual talk. I wasn't talking much either. So where does the whole pocket money thing come in?? When I told mom on the first day that there was a small canteen in school, she gave me Rs.20 the next day to buy whatever I wanted in the break time. I usually was a loner at the breaks. Just hung around the canteen till the bell rang.
Mom never asked me what I did with the money. She just kept giving me Rs 20 everyday. That may not seem a lot now but in 1995, I did not know the value of Rs.20. For me it was just a few bucks that my mom gave me everyday (partly coz I came home whining everyday saying, "I hate this school"). She wanted to keep me happy, she thought that was the way. Soon it was known around my class that I had 20 bucks a day.
I don't remember how, but all of a sudden a few girls started befriending me (I am not in touch with any of them but I would still not like to give out names here...though I remember very well). They accompanied during lunch breaks to the canteen, made me buy stuff for them. I was naive back then. I just thought at that time, that I've suddenly become popular. But I was never so stupid to not realise the main cause of this popularity. I knew I had the bucks. I found out that at such an age, kids don't get that kind of pocket money. I learnt a new lesson...though it took me a little time to learn it.
That was one of the first times that I realised that money is a powerful thing in this world. Fortunately, I found friends who saw beyond my pocket money (Divya being one among them). I found friends who appreciated me for me and not for the perks I got along with me. I learnt that there are things more important in life than money. The most important lesson--Money will only buy you temporary happiness. I saw that temporary happiness. Then I found the more lasting one.
Today me and Divya were cracking up each other on the phone, talking about our school life and the times we had fun. It was a good chat, as usual. Looking back, I think I needed that pocket money phase very badly. Coz that made me realise some very important facts of life. I continued to get pocket money for a very long time. But by then, I was a wiser person. I would know by then that my worth is not measurable in terms of money!!!