Our First Earnings

Oishi got a summer job as math tutor in a tutoring center – her dream job. After a month, when she got her first paycheck, she opened a bank account and was awarded a debit card with a Visa sign. This made her other dream come true – she will now be able to buy surprise gifts for me from Amazon for Mother’s Day.

Sure enough, a few days later a small package was left on my kitchen counter – a very pretty necklace. “Mama, I knew you wanted to buy a 16″ gold necklace for sometime now. I cannot afford gold, so I got gold color and the length is adjustable to 16″. Also, look, the stones are known as CZ. I did a lot of research on them. They look like diamonds, don’t they?” Then she emailed me a link on Cubic Zirconia. With blurry eyes, I wore the necklace. Seizing that perfect moment, she asked, “Can I please take you out to dinner? Nothing fancy. Just dhosa.” All my lectures on how she should save money seemed to have little effect then. So we went, and Oishi proudly gave her debit card and signed her first receipt at a restaurant.

Many, many years ago, my first earnings came in the form of scholarship money after I started my engineering program. Before going home for my first summer vacation, I decided to spend the money on Ma and Baba. However, the thought of giving jewelry to Ma never crossed my mind. There were so many things Ma needed to improve the quality of her life and jewelry was certainly not one of them. So I settled for a tortilla maker; it was not an electric one because those were not available then, but rather a cast iron one, which I carried home from Kolkata. “Ma, won’t this make your life a little easier? Now you can make the roti and poori much faster and won’t have to spend so much time in the hot and sultry kitchen.” Ma’s eyes beamed. “Yes, it definitely would,” Ma replied proudly.

I bought a utilitarian gift for Ma while Oishi bought a fancy gift for me. Surprisingly, both were extremely fitting with our mothers’ needs. We adjusted the form of our gifts as time and space changed. But we remained true to our primal desire of making the people we love happy.

Necklace from first paycheck
Necklace from first paycheck

Sharmistha’s Book

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My first 5K run

I am not a dog person. Actually, I am not much of a pet person. I adore them for a distance but I am considerably afraid when they come close and this is true for the most well-behaved and playful pets. To my utter embarrassment, I have screamed and ran in fear in the past when they came near me.

Couple of weeks ago, Kendra, a friend of mine, asked me whether I would be interested in a 5K / 3 mile run on May 19th for a charity. I registered, thinking, “Why not?”

When I reached the 6th Annual Hair of the Dog 5K! event location today morning around 9 am, I was stunned to see the number of dogs running for the event. I knew it was a charity for dogs in animal shelter but never imagined that dogs will be part of the running event.

In a few minutes, I found myself surrounded by dogs of all kinds – from the big, majestic Husky to the adorable, cute Pomeranian. Being well-aware of my dog fear, Kendra started to educate me with species names to allay some of my fears.

I looked at her sadly and remarked “I could have picked a different charity where the pets are not going to run with me.” It was drizzling and the weather was cold. So I thought “Do I finish what I came here for today or return home?” In the end, I decided to stay and finish what I started.

Kendra and I walked and ran alternately amid hundreds of dogs along our sides on a narrow road and finished the race in 49 minutes. I was exhausted but proud of myself. This, however, does not mean that my fear has left me for good but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

Sharmistha’s Book

Before the 5K race
Before the 5K race