Grownups know best.. (A short story)

“Rani Where is my wallet?” Raghu yelled to his wife in the kitchen. “Oh wait! I just found it.”
He checked inside “Did you take some money from it?” Rani comes out into the hall and shakes her head.” No, I haven’t been near your wallet at all. Raghu was surprised. He distinctly remembered putting a 100 rupee in it the previous day and now it was gone. It wasn’t about the money. 100 rupees was quite a bit, but not a lot. It was the matter of who took it. Or did he lose it? Raghu hated losing anything. That’s why he always got so mad at his 8 year old daughter Tina, every time she lost one of her toys, shoes, books, anything. She always seemed to be losing stuff. He blamed it on her mom’s genes. “She’s just like you” he would say to his wife every time his daughter came reporting a new loss. Just then Tina came inside, a bright smile on her face which turned to a sort of guilty one as soon as she saw her father. She tried to slip into her room quietly. Raghu noticed this and followed her into her tiny bedroom. He saw her dumping a handful of chocolates on her bed. “Tina” he began, the child looked at him with wide eyes ‘Yes, papa’
“Who gave you the chocolates?”
“Mani aunty from the 3rd floor gave them to me Papa.”
“Tina, beta, please, don’t lie. Mani aunty does not eat chocolates; she is old and has diabetes why would she have chocolates with her. Now tell me the truth. You bought the chocolates by taking the money from my wallet. Didn’t you?”
Tina shook her head.
“Beta, please tell me the truth.’
Tina again shook her head. “I didn’t take money from your wallet papa”
Raghu sighed, and sat on her bed and took Tina into his lap.
“Look, Tina, I know mummy and I are a little bit strict about you eating chocolates. But we do it for your own good. You aren’t supposed to be eating chocolates doctor Sharma told you that remember?”
“But Aashi says it’s okay to eat chocolates!” Tina burst out.
Raghu shook his head. “No Tina. Grownups know best. Chocolates are bad. And about taking money from my wallet, I won’t scold you this time. But it’s a very bad habit beta. You should never touch other’s things without permission. Daddy has important things in his wallet. If you ask I will always give you money. Understand?”
Tina, whose head was bent, nodded to the floor.
“The important thing is that you tell the truth. Lying is a very bad thing beta. It doesn’t seem like much. But it is, very, very, bad. So next time, don’t do this okay?”
Tina was crying a little “but papa I didn’t...”she started to say when raghu hugged her “It’s okay, you can eat the chocolates for today. We’ll make sure you brush your teeth extra hard.” He said, and went out of the room.
The next day, when raghu was watching television, a knock was heard. “Tina” he called his daughter who was also at home that day “tell whoever it is that papa is not home. Go, go fast”
Tina opened the door and came back to raghu who meanwhile was waiting in the next room “daddy” she began, but raghu cut her off “no Tina, whoever it is tell them no one is at home”
Tina obeyed and raghu went back to watching TV.
After a while Rani who went to the neighbours came back. “Raghu! Where are you? Why didn’t you answer the door a while ago?”
“The door? Why should I answer it? I thought it was some pesky salesman who wouldn’t take no for an answer or old Shantaram from the 5th floor. You know how he always likes to drop and sit ‘casually’ for hours”
“Argh” Rani fumed “It wasn’t a salesman or Shantaram; it was a person from the country club. Remember the entire apartment people went on a picnic? It seems one of us has won a free stay there, but they didn’t know which one. So they decided to randomly select a flat and give it to them. Ours was the first flat they chose and since no grownup was there, or so they were told, they came to old Mrs. Mani’s and gave her the free stay.”
Raghu was stumped.
“Oh” was all he could manage. “And what about the chocolates?” he asked pointing to the chocolates Rani was catching
“Oh these? Mrs. Mani had a nephew visit her yesterday, it seems he didn’t know that she had diabetes and got her all these chocolates. She didn’t what do with those so she gave a few to everyone. That’s not the point. You should have answered the door Raghu. It was a foolish waste not answering it just because you thought it Shantaram. The poor fellow doesn’t mean any harm”
“Oh” was again all Raghu could mange.
“Whatever. We’re better off not going to snotty country clubs, anyway. Leave me in peace and don’t nag me now” Raghu said and slumped down grumpily on the couch.
Grownups Know best after all.

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