Friday, May 31, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 19

The Coin Collector

When as a child Rayyan lived with my family, he would often find coins laying everywhere in the house. Good for us that he never had the habit of putting anything in his mouth, or else there would be a new choking incident taking place every other day. Even as a two year old, Rayyan would walk up to his Naani (grandma) with a coin saying, “Here, take it. I found some more money”.
One day I decided to buy him a piggy bank so that all the coins he found would go into the bank and he could use it to buy toys. The first one was shaped like a mail box in red color. Rayyan had just completed his second birthday then. On the first day, Rayyan hunted every possible place to find coins and found nearly 17 rupees. I am not sure whether those coins were placed there by my mom/ dad or not. Slowly, the piggy bank began to get heavier so much so that Rayyan couldn’t even lift it.
My mom was never good at managing money. Her well planned budget would last only till 22nd of the month and last week was always penniless days for us. No matter how much she had, this was the way it would end. At times there were great crisis like she needed a certain amount for something very critical and she would come up with strategies to resolve it. On a day of one such crisis Rayyan offered to help. The box could not be opened but had to be cut. It was almost full. As we cut open the piggy bank and counted the coins, to my surprise it added up to 2,300 and a bit more rupees. I do not remember the exact amount. He had been collecting those coins for nearly two years. That was more than enough to resolve the issue at hand. I bought him another piggy bank and he started collecting the coins again. My mom swore to add 100 rupees more and give him back the money.

 The next time his piggy bank was full, it had 1,300 and some extra money in it. When asked what Rayyan wanted to buy with his money, he asked for a cycle. So, I added some extra cash and bought him a BSA SLR cycle with his money. Rayyan was very happy that collecting coins could be such a great thing.

He has had various types of piggy banks in form of birds, homes, coin eating shoe etc. Apart from the cycle he bought for himself, I have never seen him buy anything from his collection of coins though it was always meant for it. There would always be a financial crisis and Rayyan would gladly help with his piggy bank collection. When we shifted to Byndoor, Rayyan had another piggy bank as well, but the coins to be found were very rare. I wouldn’t let the coins to lay around everywhere. I saw that Rayyan had also lost his enthusiasm in collecting them but he did anyway.
When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, she shifted to Byndoor. Rayyan was again interested in collecting coins. I saw that his enthusiasm was somehow connected to his grandmother. Naturally, there was again a crisis for money with Naani, and Rayyan happily broke open his piggy bank to help her out. Unfortunately, my mom passed away the next year and the piggy bank era was over. I have never seen Rayyan show any interest in collecting coins after my mother was gone. He may not have said it out openly, but I know somewhere in his heart, he connected it to her needs and felt very proud to be of help. I am not sure that he is even aware of this or not. As he would hand over the money to her, she would heap tons of blessings on him and it was so funny to watch.

My mom had asked me to do few things for her in case she lost her battle to cancer and one of them was to repay Rayyan all the money she had borrowed from him. In fact she had kept an account and it totalled to 7936 rupees according to her.
After my mom passed away, I brought this up with Rayyan who was 15 year old and told him that I would repay my mom’s loan as soon as possible and he replied, “Maa, I never lent or gave any money to your mom. I gave to it ‘My Naani’ and you cannot and shouldn’t repay it”. I never thought this would be emotional, but I do have tears in my eyes as I write this. He had a beautiful and very lovely relationship with his naani who loved him in a way I never thought was possible. It was completely blind, unconditional, unlimited, unfair and uncontrollable love that my mom had for this particular person and Rayyan is lucky to have experienced it.

When I clicked the pictures for fun when he broke open the piggy bank, I never realized that it would be the last time he would break open it. The coins are not, but the memories are a treasure. 

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