Train of tales Children

Ch-ching!

Illustration: Sonal Goyal

Illustration: Sonal Goyal   | Photo Credit: Illustration: Sonal Goyal

The story so far: Rayu gets into trouble with Mr. Shetty for trying to take more money than what was promised to him.

I could only think of Mr. Shetty this morning. “I think I am sick,” I announced, after brushing my teeth. Pa touched my forehead. “You are doing fine. Get out of the house. I am not going to let you hatch eggs at home.”

This is what happens when your parents are doctors and own a clinic. They get rattled by the lack of doctors, lab instruments, medicines and electricity; not by the threats of their pre-teens. Rani and I have attended school every day since it was opened.

It was difficult to skip school. If we missed school even for a single day, my classmates were sure to visit me in the recess. I took my own time to get ready. Rani was angry. It was 11.00 by the time we reached Happy Home. I looked for Mr. Shetty in the corridor. He wasn’t there. But Mr. Kamal was leading a man into one of the rooms on the first floor.

Anotherreading session

“I have been waiting for you,” said Mr. Kamal.

“Why?” I asked.

“I heard you read out the newspaper to Mr. Shetty yesterday.” I squirmed and looked at my shoes.

“Mr. Purshottam will be with us for a month. He has undergone an eye operation. Will you read the newspaper to him?”

Rani grinned and made her way to meet Mrs. Charumathi.

Mr. Kamal handed over the newspaper to me and scooted, leaving me stranded with Mr. Purshottam. We walked to the empty dining hall and I read out the paper just like Mr. Shetty had taught me the other day — all the headlines in the ascending order. At the end, Mr. Purshottam gave me a hundred rupee note. I gave it back to him. “It’s a hundred rupee note.”

“Oh, keep it. It’s a reward for your honesty,” he said.

My eyes popped. What a change of luck. I didn’t want to appear greedy. “I can’t take the money.”

“I don’t have change!” he said. “Keep the money with you. Consider it as an advance payment. Come tomorrow and read the paper for me. It will be a while before I start reading again.” Thanking him, I went looking for Rani to share the good news.

Lesson learnt: Honesty pays.

(To be continued)

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2020 8:11:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/ch-ching/article32054475.ece

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