I was never a toy playing person, like I never had a dole. Maybe because we were a lot of kids and there wasn’t enough money to buy toys for all of us. However I distinctly remember something that happened to me. I was four or five years old when I spotted a tea set made from porcelain, with flowers around the cups, the saucers and the pot. I can visualize it even now after 62 years. Later on in life I realized that it was a miniature of Royal Albert set (one of the best sets in the world, even now). The problem was it was sold for four dinars.
The shop was not far from my house in Manama, it was one of those shops that has everything like toys, chocolates and ice creams. In England they call them corner shops, which I loved when I lived there.
In those days my daily income was nothing.
I used to walk with my dad to visit my aunts and we passed by the shop. I showed him the set and told him that I want it. He took me out of the shop and then said you have to earn it. I was wondering what he meant. Then he said I will give you 25 fils a day and you can save and buy it. I was a child and I wasn’t a mathematician, I felt that I was flying from happiness. Everyday after school I would go to the shop just to check that the set is still there and this was my daily habit.
I started to save my money in a makeshift piggy bank (a box made from wood with a hole in the middle, which was hand made by my aunt’s husband ) and keeping a mental note of my savings. I couldn’t be distracted and was shaking the box on a daily basis thinking maybe miraculously it will be full and my tea set will be in my hands.
My savings continued as well as my trips to the shop!!
Eventually when I was in fifth grade I finally saved the four dinars and bought my tea set. In year six two cups and three saucers were stolen. I knew who it was but couldn’t expose it, but I had lost a friend for life.
I am now adamant that no child of mine will have to wait for something that he or she wants. I do believe that children must learn to save, nevertheless a passion needs to be fed.
That set of mine was used for tea parties with my little brothers and sisters and many of its pieces were damaged.
One day I was just window shopping and spotted that same tea set. Guess what!! I bought it for my granddaughter. She wasn’t as happy as I was at her age. No sparkle in her eyes, just a mere astonishment on why would I get her a tea set!
coming back to today, i can see how that memory had affected me, i keep on buying tea and coffee sets (for grownups though) and keep admiring them.