By Ali Tarab Rizvi (LTSL)
“The maid won’t be coming for the next 2 days.” wife said to husband. “Why?” the husband asked. “She’s going to visit her daughter’s home, to meet her niece.” wife said. “Alright.” said husband in a submissive manner.
“I was thinking to give her Rs. 500 for her trip. What say?” wife suggested. “Is it really necessary? I mean Eid is nearby. You can give her then.” husband argued. “She is visiting her daughter. I felt it would be good if she has some amount of money with her. Moreover, she earns a meagre income. She will also feel good.” wife replied. “Someone’s getting sentimental.” husband’s response had a pinch of sarcasm. “It’s not so. You don’t worry. I’m cancelling today’s pizza feast. No point spending money on it. I’ll give that money to maid.” wife said in a stern manner.
Husband was aghast, “This is great. Rob us of the pizza and put it in the maid’s plate. Do whatever you wish to.”
Few days later….
The maid was mopping the floor when she was asked about her holidays. “It was great!” she exclaimed. “Madam gave me Rs 500 for which I bought a dress for my niece worth Rs.150, a doll for her worth Rs.50, a box of sweets for my daughter’s family which cost Rs. 50, another box for her neighbours worth the same cost, bought some glass bangles worth Rs 25 for my daughter, a belt worth Rs 50 for my son-in-law, my travelling expenses was around Rs 60 and the remaining money, I gave it to my niece, so that she can buy books and stationary for herself.”
Both the husband and wife were amazed. The maid had the complete estimate memorised. She actually bought so many things in just Rs 500.
They compared these expenses with the pizza on which they were going to spend this money.
The 1st slice of pizza = A dress for the niece.
The 2nd slice of pizza = A box of sweets for the daughter.
The 3rd slice of pizza = A box of sweets for neighbours.
The 4th slice of pizza = Glass bangles for the daughter.
The 5th slice of pizza = A belt for the son-in-law.
The 6th slice of pizza = A doll for the niece.
The 7th slice of pizza = Travelling expenses
The last slice of pizza = Books and stationary for the niece.
These 8 slices of pizza taught them an important lesson of their life.
The difference between “Living to spend” and “Spending for a livelihood” was something which they learnt that day.
(Adapted from a short Urdu story)