The economic climate has been bad. Inflation is up and things are not looking good on the sensex fronts. When such trends play out for longer intervals in time, everybody feels the pressure.
Droning on about Economic ratios and sensex points means nothing to drive the point home. We (my sister and I) have explained the economic upheaval using the effects it has had on the life of my 12 year old nephew living in Dubai. Granted, he is not one of the impoverished, malnourished lads – but he has problems too.
Case 1 :Canteen money for breakfast
Once in a while, when he is a good boy and the moon rises in the morning, he gets ‘canteen money’. This means he gets Dhs 5 to buy his breakfast from his school canteen instead of home food. He is usually very excited on these days. Till last year, he said, this would give him
2 mini pizzas – Dhs 2 @ 1 each
1 cutlet – Dhs 1
I juice- Dhs 1
Savings – Dhs 1
Then the juice became Dhs 1.50 , the cutlet became Dhs 1.50 and the savings were gone. He was upset but he could live with that. Recently, when he got the fiver, he started to wail .”Oh please increase my allowance. I can’t eat with Dhs 5. The mini pizzas are Dhs 1.50 each and the school has reduced the cheese on it.” Apparently, he has to either let go of the juice or the cutlet! He had Physical Education in the morning-so he would be “hungry and thirsty”!
Such opportunities present themselves merely to satisfy the sermonic yearnings every parent harbours. The parent can talk on about their pasts, and how handling money is a privilege that one must thank the Almighty for. Reminiscing is also allowed – one could talk about the number of “Priya” sweets a 10 paise fetched earlier, and talk fondly of the coin, now missing from circulation.
Once the preaching/pretending-to-listen ceremony was wrapped up with, a decision was reached to increase his canteen money to a princely sum of Dhs 7.
Case 2 : Birthday presents
Said nephew wanted to buy his best friend a birthday present – a Parker Pen. He window shopped, shortlisted the pen , noted the price- Dhs 20. That is 2 months worth of pocket money. So he saved up for 2 months , put his Dhs 20 in the wallet and asked to be escorted to the shop. And voila, the pen was now Dhs 24!! The poor guy was flabbergasted and said ‘Amma – I can’t buy the pen. The price went up and his birthday is next week. What to do? “.
Which God grants two admirable opportunities in a week to a parent?! The sermon was modified, delivered and wrapped up with the ceremonial extraction of promises for ongoing good behaviour.
He was given Dhs 4 for the pen.