Paid In Full
Paid In Full
12-year-old Aman put another coin in his piggy bank. “Okay, so now I have 860 rupees. Just forty more and I can finally buy the remote-controlled car.” Aman had been saving for over a year to buy the remote-controlled car, costing nine hundred rupees, that his parents had refused to pay for. “If you want it, you must earn it.”, his father had said. Since then, doing the laundry, cleaning their car, and taking his neighbours’ dogs for walks had become a major part of Aman’s life.
Next week, when Aman finally had nine hundred in his piggy bank, he decided to go to the toy shop and purchase the much-wanted remote controlled car. On his way there, he saw a boy of his age in tattered clothes looking longingly at the food stall nearby. He had probably not eaten since a day or two. Aman looked at the piggy bank in his hand, and then at the hungry look in the boy’s eyes. He made up his mind and approached the boy. “Hello”, said Aman, “what is your name?” The boy replied “Lalit”. Aman said, “Lalit, I want you to have this”, and handed him his piggy bank. “Is there money inside this?”, asked Lalit. “Yes, this is called a piggy bank, and right now there are nine hundred rupees inside.”, explained Aman. Lalit’s eyes lit up. Aman waited for his reaction. He was expecting Lalit to break open the piggy bank and have a meal to his heart’s content. When nothing like this happened, Aman asked, “So? Aren’t you going to eat something?” “My stomach has seen worse days. No, I am going to save this money. I will go to school and study. I want to become a doctor when I grow up, you know.”, said Lalit determinedly.
As Aman walked home, he could not help feeling sorry for Lalit. “He has such big dreams. It is a shame they will never be fulfilled. He will spend all the money very soon and be left with nothing.”
10 years later
Aman was frustrated. Life had thrown so many challenges at him, that he could take no more. He lost his job and became tangled in the vicious cycle of debt. He took to drinking and smoking.
On the top of all this, he had an accident one day. A speeding two-wheeler hit him as he was walking on the road. Fortunately, some passers-by rushed him to the hospital, and due to the efficiency of the doctors, his life was out of danger.
But Aman would have rather died. The entire time he lay in the hospital bed wondering how he will ever be able to afford the bill, which would probably cost him lakhs.
Finally the day came when he was to be discharged. The bill was brought to him. Dreading what he would see, Aman was pleasantly surprised. Below the bill, it was written – Paid in full by Dr. Lalit.
When he saw the face of the doctor who had brought him the bill, he was happy to see that the eyes were no longer hungry and longing as they once had been, instead they shone with the happiness of being able to help others. As they embraced warmly, Lalit whispered in Aman’s ear, “Thank you. I am what I am because of the piggy bank you gave me..” At that moment, Aman felt he could pay a hundred bills.