“Amma, I don’t need an afterschool care snack today”, said my five year old boy.
Concerned, I ask “Why, won’t you be hungry”.
“Yeah Amma, can I get something from the candy machine?” came the candid reply. His face pleading to me.
“Tomorrow, is your Christmas party, I will get you something from the candy machine, when I come tomorrow”.
“Ok, Amma. I want the green packet of Skittles, which has the sprinkles on it”. was his instant reply.
My son, goes to after school care in his school premises, after 3.10pm, when his school is dismissed. I should thank him with all my heart, for being so understanding and willing to stay in school for another three hours, while I attend to conference calls and emails. Anyways, all the kids who make this sacrifice for their parents, are assembled in a huge room called the Colonial Room, under the supervision of a teacher. This room has cupboards for games, benches for the kids to sit and the famous “Candy Machine”.
From the eyes of my five year old, its a machine, where you put money and press some numbers and the candy is out, ready to be picked up and savored. Yes, a vending machine with chocolates. The first time I saw a vending machine was when I arrived in the US of A, six years ago.
Each day these kids, [I am guessing here], go to the candy machine and point out to their favourite and because they are still learning to read, probably guess the name of the candy and imaginatively savor the taste.
One day, one of my son’s friends [a girl] brought some bills from home, and left no stone unturned in showing off her tryst with the candy machine. The boys stood around her and were awed by her slick expertise in handling the seven feet machine. She opened her bag of candy and distributed gladly, to the girls only. Thus started a revolt by the boys against her. She was banned!
That evening I heard repeatedly “Amma, we don’t like her, she is so mean, she didn’t give us candy, she is so rude, we boys don’t like the girls….” and so on.
He also said, “Amma, my friend Wilson was so sad, that he didn’t get a candy. Can you give me some money so that I can buy candy and give it to him?” I was touched by his thoughtfulness.
He narrated the same story to my husband. My husband asked him “If I give you money, and you buy the candy, would you share with the girl?”. “No!!” came the instant reply. “She did not share it with the boys, so I will not share with the girls.” Fair enough. My husband told him, “Do you think if you share the candy with her, the next time she will share with you?” My son, thought for a while and said “I think you are right Appa”.
The next day, when I went to pick up my son in the evening, we slipped a dollar bill into the magic machine. It went in, we pushed a couple of numbers and out came the candy packet. My son opened it and shared it with everyone, boys and girls and the she-did-not-share girl. Wilson got a huge share. The did-not-share-girl got the point, my son looked at me and winked.