It had been over three years now, yet Catherine couldn’t come to terms with her divorce from Peter. When they were married, both of them looked after their daughter, Rhea’s, every need. However, after their separation, it is on her to look after Rhea as a father, as well as, a mother. Thankfully, she had a secured job in a pharmaceutical company, which paid enough for the mother and daughter to live a decent life. But there was never any surplus. Catherine and Rhea followed a strict budget and tried their best to stay within their means.
Catherine knew Peter’s repeated failures in his business ventures, part of which was the cause of their divorce, and hence didn’t burden him by asking child support. They had separated cordially and Rhea met her father at least once in a month.
Life for Catherine had not been entirely hostile, even though she could not enjoy matrimony for long, her relationship with people around her were pleasant. The only thing that worried Catherine was arranging funds for Rhea’s higher education.
Rhea, who was 15 years old, was in senior school. A bright student with a dynamic personality, she had the intellectual promise to make a stellar career in any field she would choose.
‘What if she doesn’t get to fulfil her dreams and get the education she deserves only because I couldn’t afford her expensive education!’ Catherine would shudder at the thought.
But she didn’t know that her beautiful and intelligent daughter would soon redeem her of this problem.
One day after office, Catherine and Rhea sat in the balcony of their tiny apartment overlooking the coconut grove.
‘Mom, you seem to be preoccupied and constantly worried, is everything alright at work?’ Rhea asked with concern.
Touched by her daughter’s concern for her, Catherine smiled and kissed her daughter.
‘Well, there is one thing that has been troubling me,’ she began, ‘but I don’t know whether to burden you with it or not.’
After a brief pause, she added, ‘I guess I must tell you, after all, it is the only two of us; who else would I share my thoughts with?’
‘Tell me, Mom, I am big enough to understand your problems and give advice, too!’ Rhea said with innocent pride.
‘Oh, my daughter is old enough to give me advice,’ giggled Catherine.
‘Come on, Mom. Try me,’ Rhea said irritably.
Catherine now grew serious, and drawing a deep breath, she said, ‘I have got no money to fund your higher education. And though I try very hard, I don’t think I would be able to save enough in the next few years.’ As soon as the words left her lips, Catherine felt very embarrassed and sad.
‘That’s it? This little problem was troubling you so much?’ exclaimed Rhea.
Catherine was bewildered, ‘It is not a matter of joke, Rhea. You are a brilliant student, and it would be a shame if you don’t get a decent education, which will certainly help you get a high-paying job.’
Rhea cupped her mother’s agitated face in her palms and assured her that she understands how important good education is.
‘Mom, I have the same dream. I, too, wish to build a successful career and make a lot of money so that both of us could live much more comfortably,’ she said, adding, ‘but I have planned a different route to achieve my goals.’
Rhea explained to her mother that she had been keenly observing the world around her and is aware of the growing shortage of quality food produce all around the world. She wanted to be an agropreneur by launching an organic farming and hydroponics business.
‘There is a great demand for these products. And I have a rough business plan, too!’ said Rhea proudly, as Catherine looked at her in awe. ‘My little daughter has grown so smart and mature!’she mused.
‘Also,’ Rhea continued, ‘to fund my dream project, I will start preparing from now on.’
She told her mother that a few days ago, a financial expert had come to her school to teach financial literacy and he had shown her the way to build substantial funds by investing very little sums of money on a regular basis, for a long period of time.
‘Mom, I just need a raise of Rs 500 in my pocket money to start investing in mutual funds through SIPs.’
Catherine was confused. ‘How can you invest just Rs 500 a month and expect to build a corpus of lakhs of rupees?’ she asked incredulously.
Rhea explained to her that mutual funds are a way through which investors could invest in the strong Indian stock market, only with more diversified risk. The Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) allow mutual fund investments of as low as INR 500 per month.
‘Mom, I also plan to save from my pocket money and increase the SIP amount to Rs 1,000. In the next few years, I will have a good portfolio to borrow for my business. I will repay myself by increasing the SIP amount significantly when my business starts making profits.’
Catherine was spellbound. She couldn’t have thought of a better way to shape her daughter’s career.
‘I am so proud of you, Rhea!’ exclaimed Catherine before she hugged her daughter in a warm embrace.
‘Mom, you do so much for me, and even when Dad doesn’t live with us, you don’t make me miss anything from my life,’ Rhea said earnestly.
Catherine sat there, looking in her daughter’s eyes and feeling truly blessed.
It was Rhea who broke the silence, ‘Mom! You will be my business partner, and we will do roaring business, mark my words.’
‘Sure, we will,’ Catherine was elated. For the first time in years, she felt free from the stress of responsibilities and the fear of the future as she danced joyously with her daughter, losing herself completely to the moment.